I’m a coin expert – how to spot rare and valuable ones worth up to £1,000 this Christmas


CHECK your change this winter and you might be in luck – here’s all you need to know about finding rare and valuable coins.

Certain rare coins can be worth thousands of times their face value.

Rebecca Morgan shares what you need to look out for when checking your change

We’ve seen the rarest 50p coin sell for £1,000 on eBay

If a coin has a low mintage figure (the number of coins produced), it typically means it’s rare.

This is also usually the gold standard for indicating whether or not your change is worth more than face value.

But the design of the coin, its condition and whether or not the coin is in circulation also affects how much it could be worth.

We spoke to Rebecca Morgan, director of collector services at Royal Mint to find out how you can check your coins this wintertime.

Ms Morgan said: “A coin is ultimately worth what the collector is willing to pay for it, but the condition of the coin, its design and the mintage figure is all key.

Here are Ms Morgan’s tips on how to spot if your change is worth more than it buys.

Check if the coin is in circulation

Uncirculated decorative coins aren’t classed as legal tender, which means shops don’t have to accept them. 

And while uncirculated coins can be worth a note or two you’d still have to buy them in the first place.

The beauty of circulated coins is that the rarest and most valuable coins are moving around the country in our spare change.

But it’s important to be aware of your coin’s circulation status so you don’t overestimate its value.

Ms Morgan said: “First of all, it’s important to establish what type of coin it is.

“The coins in your pocket are called circulating coins and are released from The Royal Mint to banks and Post Offices each year.”

Check the coin’s mintage values

Mintage figures establish the rarity of a coin – the lower the value, the rarer the coin.

A coin’s mintage figure explains exactly how many coins are made per year.

Ms Morgan said: “If people are looking to sell a coin on the secondary market, and the coin has an unusually low mintage, then it might sell for higher than its face value.

“For example, the lowest mintage for a circulating coin over recent years was for the 2009 50p featuring Kew Gardens at 210,000 pieces, however, most circulating coins have a mintage of several million.”

In fact, we’ve seen sellers scoop up to £1,000 when selling their sought-after Kew Gardens 50p coins.

The coin features the Chinese Pagoda at the famous London landmark of the same name.

We’ve listed the rarest and most valuable 50p coins in circulation.

But if you don’t have any 50p coins lying around you could get up to £64 when selling certain 10p and £2 coins – we’ve listed the designs to look out for in our guide.

Check the coin’s design

The mintage value isn’t the only determining factor in influencing the value of a coin.

The design of certain coins is also important.

Ms Morgan said: “The design on the coin can influence how much people are willing to pay for it.

“For example, a series of special 50p pieces were made to mark the 2012 Olympics, and in 2022 there may have been a resurgence in popularity as people look back on the event a decade later.”

We’ve seen a small number of the Olympic aquatic 50p coins sell for £1,500 on eBay in recent months.

And others have made £75 by selling their football-themed Olympic coin.

We’ve listed the rarest and most valuable Olympic 50p coins.

How do I go about selling rare coins?

There are many different factors to consider when trying to value a coin, including its condition and mintage, so it’s important to do your homework first.

If you’ve got a coin that you would like to sell at auction, you can contact The Royal Mint’s Collectors Service.

It has a team of experts who can help you authenticate and value your coin.

You’ll need to enquire via email, and a member of the valuation team will contact get back to you.

Take a picture of your coin and attach this to the email – you can find the details on The Royal Mint’s website.

Be aware that you will be charged for this service though – the cost will vary depending on the size of your collection.

How do I go about buying rare coins?

Most people turn to online marketplaces in the hope that the coin they buy could gain value.

But if you are looking to buy a coin online through a marketplace such as eBay it’s important to know exactly what you are purchasing.

This is because anyone can list a coin on eBay and charge whatever amount they wish.

You should also be wary of fakes online – and keep in mind that on eBay a buyer could pull out, which means the coin won’t have sold for the price it says it has.

Did you miss our previous article…