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Rare 50p coins can fetch £500: do you have any in your piggy bank?

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 05/07/2017 By Sophie Christie
© Provided by The Telegraph

There are 54 types of 50p coin in circulation, and while most aren't worth any more than their face value, others can fetch significant sums at auction.

In general, the rarer the coin the more valuable it is, and experts at Changechecker.org have created a "scarcity index" that tracks which 50p coins are the most scarce and collectable.

Below we reveal which coins are rarest and what they could be worth, so it's worth digging around the back of your sofa or in your piggy bank to see if you could be the owner of a valuable 50p piece.

1. The Kew Gardens 50p

The Kew Gardens 50p© ROYAL MINT The Kew Gardens 50p

The Kew Gardens 50p is the rarest, with a mintage of just 210,000, and is the most in demand. Not only is the Kew Gardens coin the rarest 50p, it is also the rarest British coin in general circulation.

A quick look on eBay shows that examples of the coin have recently sold for as much as £510.

2. 2012 Olympics Football 50p

The  2012 Olympics Football 50p is worth up to around £20 on eBay© ROYAL MINT The 2012 Olympics Football 50p is worth up to around £20 on eBay

The next four scarcest coins all feature sports from the 2012 Olympics – football, triathlon, judo and wrestling. Although they are some of the rarest 50p coins, they are far less valuable than the Kew Gardens piece.

The Football 50p has a scarcity index score of 78, which is calculated according to three pieces of information.

Generally, collectors look at a coin's mintage figures to assess its value, but rather than just basing a coin’s value on this, Changechecker has looked at two other pieces of information.

One was how many of each coin were listed as “collected” by members of the website, which indicates the relative ease of finding a particular coin. The experts also looked at the number of times a design had been requested as a swap over the previous three months, showing the current level of collector demand.

While the index doesn’t necessarily correspond to value, it is a useful indicator. On eBay, versions of the Football 50p coin have fetched up to £20.

3. 2012 Olympics Triathlon 50p

The 2012 Olympics Triathlon 50p is worth around £16© ROYAL MINT The 2012 Olympics Triathlon 50p is worth around £16

The commemorative 2012 Olympics Triathlon 50p has a scarcity score of 76, suggesting that it is the third most valuable 50p coin in circulation. It's worth around £16 on eBay.

4. 2012 Olympics Judo 50p

The 2012 Olympics Judo 50p, worth about £20© ROYAL MINT The 2012 Olympics Judo 50p, worth about £20

Next on the scarcity index is the 2012 Olympics Judo 50 coin, which has a scarcity score of 74.

Much like the other three rare coins in the sports collection (which includes 29 types of 50p coin in total), it's unlikely to fetch more than £20 on eBay.

While eBay is not the only way to sell your coin, it's an effective tool to get an indication of how much your 50p could be worth. 

You can check how much a particular coin is selling for on eBay by searching the full name of the coin, then clicking on the “sold” listing box on the left hand side, then searching for the “highest value”.

If you do want to sell, alternatives to eBay include coin specialists such as Changechecker.org.

5. 2012 Olympics Wrestling 50p

The 2012 Olympics Wrestling 50p is the least valuable of the 2012 sports collection© ROYAL MINT The 2012 Olympics Wrestling 50p is the least valuable of the 2012 sports collection

The fourth most valuable coin in the 2012 Olympics collection is the Wrestling 50p, which has a scarcity figure of 73. On eBay, Wrestling 50p coins have sold for around £8.

6. Jemima Puddle-Duck 50p

The Jemima Puddle-Duck 50p sells for up to £8 on eBay© ROYAL MINT The Jemima Puddle-Duck 50p sells for up to £8 on eBay

The recent Beatrix Potter 50p coins also rank highly in the list, with Jemima Puddle-Duck and Squirrel Nutkin coming in at numbers six and seven – based largely on the fact that not many people own them and they are in high demand.

This coins typically sell for between £5 and £8.

7. Squirrel Nutkin 50p

The Squirrel Nutkin 50p is part of a Beatrix Potter coin collection© ROYAL MINT The Squirrel Nutkin 50p is part of a Beatrix Potter coin collection

The Squirrel Nutkin 50p has a scarcity index figure of 56, and owners of the coin are unlikely to get more than £5 for it.

The coin is part of the Beatrix Potter series, which includes Beatrix Potter herself, Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.

8. 2012 Olympics Tennis 50p

The 2012 Olympics Tennis 50p© ROYAL MINT The 2012 Olympics Tennis 50p

Another 2012 Olympic commemorative coin, the Tennis 50p is the eighth scarcest 50p coin in circulation.

An individual coin could be worth up to £5 online - 10 times its face value.

9. 2012 Olympics Goalball 50p

The 2012 Olympics Goalball 50p© ROYAL MINT The 2012 Olympics Goalball 50p

With a scarcity index figure of 54, this 2012 Olympics Goalball 50p coin is worth around £4-£5. If sold as part of a 2012 Olympics collection, it could be worth up to £20.

10. 2012 Olympics Handball 50p

The  2012 Olympics Handball 50p is worth around £3-4 online© ROYAL MINT The 2012 Olympics Handball 50p is worth around £3-4 online

Completing the list is the 2012 Olympics Handball 50p piece, which will fetch around £4 online.

Other 50p coins produced to commemorate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games featured cycling, boxing and athletics.

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