The rarest 50p coins according to the Royal Mint as Kew Gardens coin sells for £139

The Paddington Bear coin is also highly sought after (Royal Mint)
The Paddington Bear coin is also highly sought after (Royal Mint)

Could the 50 pence in your pocket be worth hundreds - or even thousands?

A 50p piece has sold for more than 250 times its face value on eBay this week.

The Kew Gardens anniversary coin, which is regarded as one of the rarest pieces produced by the Royal Mint, was first issued in 2009 and only 210,000 of its replicas were ever put into circulation.

The coin features the Chinese Pagoda at the Royal Botanic Gardens on the tails side and a portrait of the Queen.The 50p coin received 17 bids after being listed on the online auction site eBay before selling for £139.

Previously, the Paddington Bear coin from 2019, apparently originating from a Glasgow seller, was auctioned on eBay on Monday (February 13) for £1,500. The currency, which features Paddington standing outside Buckingham Palace and waving a Union Jack flag, is said to be the 14th-rarest 50p coin.

According to Change Checker’s mintage figures index, the ‘Paddington at the Station’ is the most sought-after of all the Paddington Bear coins.

A rare 50p coin has sold on eBay for £1,500 (Ebay)
A rare 50p coin has sold on eBay for £1,500 (Ebay)

In 2022, the Royal Mint revealed its top 20 rarest 50 pence coins in circulation. The famous Kew Gardens 50p coin remains the most coveted, with a mintage of 210,000.

Other rare designs include the Olympic-themed 50 pence coins that were minted in 2011.

Here, we take a look at the rarest 50p coins, as well as how much they could be worth.

Rarest 50p coins in circulation in the UK

In 2022, the Royal Mint revealed the most valuable 50p coin ahead of the golden anniversary of decimalisation in 1971.

The rarest is the Kew Garden 50p coin, which was designed to mark the 250th anniversary of the gardens in 2009. Only 210,000 coins were ever minted in this design. One seller received more than £700 for one when they sold it on eBay - but you can still buy them quite cheaply.

The other rare coins are predominantly from the 2011 Olympics, with wrestling, football, and judo coins all among the most valuable.

Flopsy Bunny as well as Peter Rabbit designs, which were produced in 2018, are also highly valuable, and 1.4 million were minted. These coins depict characters from Beatrix Potter’s novels, and they celebrate the life of the famous English writer. Each has a retail value of approximately £5.

In 2019, 500 million were produced, with only three new 50p designs, including Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Paddington Bear at St Paul’s Cathedral, and The Tower of London.

The Paddington coin is listed for £60 on the Royal Mint’s site (Royal Mint)
The Paddington coin is listed for £60 on the Royal Mint’s site (Royal Mint)

Top 10 most valuable 50p coins, according to Royal Mint

Here is a list of the top 10 most valuable coins:

  1. Kew Gardens (2009), 210,000 minted

  2. Olympic Wrestling (2011), 1,129,500

  3. Olympic Football (2011), 1,161,500

  4. Olympic Judo (2011), 1,161,500

  5. Olympic Triathlon (2011), 1,163,500

  6. Peter Rabbit (2018), 1,400,000

  7. Flopsy Bunny (2018), 1,400,000

  8. Olympic Tennis (2011), 1,454,000

  9. Olympic Goalball (2011), 1,615,500

  10. Olympic Shooting (2011), 1,656,500

The rarest 50p coin, Kew Gardens (Royal Mint)
The rarest 50p coin, Kew Gardens (Royal Mint)

What makes a coin valuable?

50p coins are the most valuable, with the collectible designs appearing on their heptagonal shape.

The coin has a 27.5 mm diameter, making it the largest of all British coins, which allows for decorative pictures.

The coin has often been used to celebrate huge events over the past 50 years of British history, and the rarest tend to be of the greatest value.

Along with the rarity of the design, other things that can increase the coin’s value include whether it has an error on its design and its overall condition.

The way in which it is sold can also determine a coin’s value, with some collectors bidding huge amounts at auction, while others vie for a more set cost, by selling via a dealer.