It was voted as Britain’s greatest sporting moment of all time.
Seven years ago, British trio Jessica Ennis-Hill, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah all struck gold within 44 minutes of each other, our best ever athletics session at an Olympic event.
Team GB’s women’s track cyclists, female double sculls and men’s rowing four also combined to deliver the London 2012 host nation an unprecedented six gold medals on what became known as ‘Super Saturday’.
The day will live long in the memory as a landmark day for British sport – but did you know you could strike gold yourself without any sporting pedigree?
Sir Mo Farah, who was one of 12 British athletes to win gold on Saturday 5 August 2012 when he came in first in the men’s 10,000m
In the run up to the 2012 Olympics, the Royal Mint released 29 different 50p coins, each of which commemorated a different event.
While the 29 coins didn’t cover every event that took place at the Olympics, water polo, for example, was left out, the list is fairly comprehensive and even includes some lesser-known sports like boccia, handball and wheelchair rugby.
However, to make matters slightly confusing, or perhaps more interesting for prospective collectors, the Mint did not release an equal number of each design.
For example, more than twice the number of 50p coins denoting archery were minted as those displaying triathlon.
This is slightly ironic given how the Brownlee brothers Alistair and Jonny ended up taking home gold and bronze respectively in the men’s triathlon, seven years ago this week.
As part of the countdown to London hosting the 2012 Olympics, the Royal Mint released 29 50p coins, each of which displayed a different Olympic event
Regardless of how many of each of the 29 designs were released, it’s going to be tricky for you to stumble across one today unless you get lucky.
According to Change Checker, an estimated three quarters of all the coins minted have been removed from circulation, such has been the desire of collectors to snap them up.
Those who did manage to get their hands on any of the coins before they were snaffled might be interested to know if they are sitting on a potential gold mine or not, or whether they might have to settle for bronze.
One of the best ways to start is to look at the mintage. While this isn’t always the case, generally the scarcer a circulated coin is the more it will sell for.
This is why the Kew Gardens 50p is widely considered the most valuable of the 50p coins out there, because only 210,000 were minted. They regularly sell for up to £100 a pop.
While none of the Olympic coins are anywhere close to that level of rarity, some do have mintage numbers in the low one millions, which is still fairly scarce.
Scarcity: Change Checker has recently revealed the rarest 50p coins
Change Checker this week published the latest version of its scarcity index, which ranks special 50p coins from the rarest, the Kew Gardens 50p, to the most common.
As you can see, a number of the 2012 coins feature in the top half of that index.
Looking at the index, it’s unsurprising then that a triathlon 50p, which features three silhouettes running, cycling and swimming, is estimated by Coin News magazine’s ‘Spend It? Save It?’ to be worth £10, compared to the £2 estimated value of an archery 50p.
The triathlon 50p was one of the rarest coins out of the 29, being minted 1.16million times, while the archery 50p was minted 3.345million times.
You can see the number of coins released into circulation and their estimated value, all in the table below:
|Source: ‘Spend It? Save It?’|
The scarcest of all the 29 designs, and the scarcest 50p coin in circulation after the Kew Gardens 50p, is the football 50p.
Its design features an explanation of the offside rule.
While as we’ve said rarity doesn’t always correspond to value, this is the coin that has sold for the most money on eBay out of all 29.
The 2012 Olympics 50p shows explains the offside rule, and is the rarest of all the 29 Olympic coins
On five occasions, collectors paid almost £22 for the coin, 44 times its face value of 50p.
While that isn’t the hundreds of pounds some people might hope to get for a relatively rare coin, that still represents a monumental return.
We have also seen the coin sold for £17.25, which would be nearly 35 times its face value.
While selling for a little less, a number of designs released in similarly limited numbers also fetch sums on eBay of upwards of £10.
One of these is the 50p showing judo. Similarly to the triathlon 50p, the Mint made one of the rarest coins feature a sport that Team GB ended up winning a medal in, releasing just 1.161million copies of the design.
The judo 50p was minted just 1.61million times, and sells for
Gemma Gibbons won silver, losing to the American Kayla Harrison in the title fight.
The medal was a career high point for Gibbons, who won silver in Glasgow in the Commonwealth Games two years later but would be dropped for Natalie Powell for the Rio games in 2016.
Powell had beaten Gibbons in Glasgow, but failed to claim a medal in Brazil.
Just 2,000 more judo coins were minted compared to the triathlon 50p, which means that the two sell on eBay for fairly similar amounts.
We have seen a number of judo 50p coins sell for anything between £10 and £15, but the vast majority have sold for around £10.50.
Triathlon 50p coins, meanwhile, tend to sell for slightly more, around £12.50, though some have sold for as much as £14, 28 times their face value.
Despite being the second rarest coin after the football 50p explaining the offside rule, the wrestling 50p sells for less online than some more common cousins
We mentioned above that a coin’s worth, or how much it sells for online, doesn’t always correlate with its rarity.
Such is the case with the wrestling 50p, which actually has the second lowest mintage after the football 50p explaining the offside rule.
But despite just 1.129million copies lying around, it sells for less online than either the triathlon or judo 50p coins.
It still goes for a respectable sum, usually around £9.50, but is less worth your while than some of the other ones mentioned above.
Another one that has really failed to draw online attention is the tennis 50p. It’s not the most eye-catching design in fairness, showing a fuzzy ball sneaking over the top of a tennis net, but even so it’s still relatively rare; being minted fewer than 1.5million times.
Despite this it often sells for just £4.50 online, half of its estimated value.
A special 50p displaying the high jump was designed by nine-year-old Florence Jackson as part of a Blue Peter competition – just 19,751 versions were struck in 2009
The special 50p rarer than Kew Gardens
While still technically a 2012 Olympics 50p, as well as the 29 designs named above a special commemorative coin was released in 2009, closer to Beijing 2008 than London 2012.
The coin, which displays someone just clearing a high jump bar, was designed by nine-year-old Florence Jackson as part of a competition run by Blue Peter.
It was released in 2009, two years before the other 29 designs, and is very rare.
While it could be snapped up for £1.99 via the Royal Mint website, only 19,751 copies of the coin were struck in 2009.
One poster on the forum predecimal.com said: ‘This coin received a perfect storm to make it a collector’s item.
‘Zero publicity from the press, little interest from the public and the TV programme that was the reason for its birth taking a massive dive in popularity.’
They go on to add that in June, the coin was selling for £20.
Then in July for £30, August £35 and now it is going for £45 as collectors look to add it to their collection.
The coin may have gone unnoticed as it was actually re-minted in 2011 and 2012, along with the other 29 Olympic coins, which many Britons have collected. In this mintage, 2.2million were produced.
It means there are 19,751 of these coins – illustrating a high jumper – with a 2009 date, compared to 2.2million with a 2011 date.
‘Spend It? Save It?’ estimates the value of the 2009 coin to be £100, but a number of coins featuring the same design go for only around £2 on eBay.
As the shots only show the front of the coin, it can be hard to work out which version of the 50p it is, but for that price you would assume it is the far more abundant 2011 or 2012 versions.
An unknown number of alternatively designed swimming 50p coins, featuring the swimmer’s head underwater (left), exist and do sell for big money
The swimming coin worth £750
Some of you who have got to this point may be feeling a little short-changed, thinking, ‘sure, £20 is great but I was hoping to make some real money’.
Maybe you’ve seen stories on other websites about coins potentially being worth hundreds of pounds.
However, there is one very rare instance when this might be the case. While the aquatics 50p, featuring someone in a swimming cap, was minted nearly 2.18million times, an unknown number of alternative designs exist, and they could be worth big money.
These coins, which are not minting errors but rather an alternative design that was scrapped before the 29 coins were minted en masse, appear to feature the swimmer underwater, with the water lines over their face.
The real design features the swimmer’s head clear of the water lines.
If you get your hands on one of these ‘Spend It? Save It?’ estimates its value at more than £750, while one sold for £590 this week after a 10 day auction which featured 47 bids.
While you might need to keep your eyes open, as it’s likely they could be snaffled and stuck on eBay faster than Adam Peaty’s 50m breast stroke time, if you do get your hands on one of these particular coins, you well and truly have struck gold.