Coining it in! How the rare Kew Gardens 50p keeps growing in value and is worth 2,733% more than a decade ago
- The Kew Gardens 50p was released in 2009 with only 210,000 minted
- Its rarity was unknown for five years until it was revealed by the Royal Mint
- Since then it has become the most in-demand coin around among collectors
- Experts estimate its worth has boomed from £3 to £85 over the last 10 years – and some have sold for far more than that on eBay
Numismatists who snaffled the Kew Gardens 50p when it was released into circulation in 2009 and still hold onto it now could have seen the value of that ‘investment’ skyrocket over the last decade.
The coin became catnip for collectors ever since the Royal Mint revealed in 2014 that it was the rarest 50p coin around, a title it still holds to this day.
But while just 210,000 were struck, when it was first released to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens in south west London, it was worth just £3-£4 to collectors, according to Coin News magazine, which works with the Royal Mint.
The Kew Gardens 50p only became very sought after once its rarity became known. The Royal Mint revealed just 210,000 were struck in 2014. Since then collectors have been willing to pay a hefty price to get hold of them
This price held for half a decade, despite the coin’s rarity. While the worth of coins is incredibly subjective and depends on a variety of factors, the fact that its scarcity was unknown in its early years is the reason why there was little demand for it.
‘In late 2014 it became known that there was a limited mintage, the Royal Mint put said they were the scarcest of all British coins and the price jumped to £30’, Philip Mussell of Coin News magazine told This is Money.
And since then, thanks to stories about the coin about how rare it is and people ought to look out for it in their change, the price has boomed even more.
Philip estimates the coin was worth £80 in 2018, and £85 now.
The estimates, based on a decade’s worth of Coin News price guides, suggest the coin is now worth a staggering 2,733 per cent more than it was when it was first released.
Since January 2009 over roughly the same period, the FTSE 100 index has increased 46 per cent.
And that coin in your pocket has also far outperformed the coins in your bank account.
The coin became heavily in demand after the Royal Mint revealed in 2014 just 210,000 coins were struck
The coin displaying the Kew Gardens Great Pagoda was struck in 2009 to commemorate the gardens’ 250th anniversary
Such has been its popularity it was re-released in 2019 as part of a celebratory set to commemorate 50 years of the 50p
In January 2009 the best easy-access savings account was paying 6 per cent, according to Moneyfacts, it has now fallen to just 1.13 per cent.
But while selling that coin for £85 would already be a whopping 170 times its face value, there are indications some have been selling it for even more.
Change Checker – a website about coins – has consistently ranked Kew Gardens as the scarcest 50p around with 915,000 fewer coins in circulation than the second-placed 2012 Olympics football coin and tracks the price of some of the most desirable coins sold on eBay.
It has long been the most in-demand 50p around and the scarcest, according to the website Change Checker. The next scarcest coin was minted 915,000 more times
Its latest eBay tracker from this January found that the median coin, based on the last nine eBay sales tracked sold for an enormous £120, or 240 times face value.
This is £18 higher than the sale price in June 2019 and £23 higher than the previous January.
Coins usually have to be in great condition and well looked after to sell for this much, however.
And while eBay is not always the best way of gauging an item’s worth, there is evidence that collectors are still happy to pay big sums to get their hands on the coin featuring the Kew Gardens pagoda.
One sold for £120 on 11 March, as far back as eBay’s records for Kew Gardens 50p sales will currently go, after six bids on an auction beginning at £75.
And one auction which ended only on Monday sold for £134 after 21 bids, having started the auction at just 1p on 29 May, a fiftieth of its face value.
Change Checker say its median price on eBay was £120 in January, up 23% on the year before, more recent sales have found it selling for as much as 290 times its asking price
One 50p which sold for £134 started its auction at just 1p, but was subject to 21 bids
And another auction ending in the early hours of Tuesday morning saw the 50p sell for £145 after 11 bids, or 290 times its face value.
Although the starting price tags may likely give you the indication as to whether the coins are genuinely 50p pieces snaffled out of circulation, it is important to check they are, as uncirculated ones are worth a lot less and can simply be bought online from the Mint.
Multiple circulated Kew Gardens 50p coins have sold on eBay for staggering amounts recently
But it is important to keep an eye out for fake coins to avoid being short changed, while it is also key to note that many coins will be uncirculated versions – and thus worth less
It is also important to check both that the coins aren’t fake, nor ones part of the 2019 collection re-released by the Mint to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the 50p.
A brilliant uncirculated version can be bought for £45 from the Mint along with four other seven-sided coins.
But while some may read this thinking that all 210,000 coins are now either safely in the hands of collectors or up for sale online with large price tags, that is not necessarily the case.
‘Oh there are definitely some still around’, Philip said, ‘every now and then we hear about someone getting one in their change.’