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The UK coin market is about to reshuffle its prosperity where it was again, considering a higher inflation of 5.5% at the moment and precious metals uptrend. The first time, it happened in 2016, where the first coloured 50p silver proof coin Blue Peter made by the Royal Mint, when the Pobjoy Mint was quarrelling the coinage contract with the Isle of Man government. At this point, the Royal Mint finally finds a way through their difficulty of gaining profits. The second time, it happens in 2022 during the Queen Platinum Jubilee year, evidence of the trial piece auctions held in 09/2021 and one more to come in 03/2022. This time, it gives the Royal Mint more confidence to play around the UK market, because of the monopoly situation domestic.
If we are going to talk about currency and commemorative coins, the best way is to comparing the coins made by the Pobjoy Mint and the Royal Mint. If you have to add the Tower Mint up, they are nothing. Some outsourcing mints are not worth a word. Do not take these words as an offence. At some point, the Pobjoy Mint is the underdog, in terms of ownership, the Royal Mint — the UK government owned mint, and the Pobjoy Mint — a family run private business.
A decimal system was established in 1971 to present where had many changes over the period, like redesign, resize and etc. The first cut-off time of a internal competition for the both mints are as follow:
*1972 to 1975, the Pobjoy Mint
The Pobjoy Mint master started to submit a workable proposal to the Isle of Man government, in order to gain a coinage contract. Finally, they did it and minted coins from 1975 onwards.
*2009, the Royal Mint
The Royal Mint was set up in a way of a private limited company in England from Project Alpha in 2009. It is very interesting to see this, the project was not existing too long, and then a government owned mint was open the door. However, the Royal Mint limited is just like a front-end company by providing services or/and goods, but they still have a back-end company, so-called Royal Mint Services Limited which provides goods or/and technique stuff. All available info you are able to search on Companies House website.
**2004, the Pobjoy Mint
A 50p coin of the T.T. Trophy was issued in 2004 alongside Miller’s Tower 50p coin on the island. This is a bit strange, if you look at 2007 ones of the T.T. Trophy 50p coin. They have a sample in 1994, very similar pattern, but it is no way to bring you towards sunshine if you add up the latter information. Here, it proves that the currency and commemorative coin has slip into a commercialisation period. Evidence 2003 Snowman 50p coin reducing mintage from 30k to 10k.
**2016, the Royal Mint
When the fight was still going on between the Pobjoy Mint and the IOM government, the Royal Mint issued their very first 50p silver colour-printed coin in 2016. It was a success. Plus, they have got a new CEO with a posh idea luxury gifting goods in place. Coin made in 2017 onwards like £2 20p (ex.2018) were NOT put into circulation. Here, it says that coins are goods purely and only made for profits.
Not too long after the celebration day of decimal day in 2019, you clearly see that this coin business has gone far far off-track in terms of a currency coin and a commemorative coin. The Royal Mint has made another story of 2019 Kew 50p coin which it has gone over the roof in price again. Yes, commemorative coins survived and currency coins dead. It echoes the Royal Mint long term strategy gifting, mintage and cashless.
To modern young collectors, modern coins wont hold your hobby too long, and the money you throw in it will shortly be a lot of scrap metals at the end. We have to ask ourselves hard, what is a coin? Once the cashless society is in place, where a coin stands?
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The Christmas theme on 50p coin only the Gibraltar government keeps doing, but not minted by Pobjoy Mint Ltd after 2019. From recent news about 2021 Gibraltar Xmas 50p coin and £2 coin, you probably notice that they are proud of this great project. In contrast to the Isle of Man, they totally dump the idea behind and lift the Christmas theme on £2 coin, called “Merry Christmas”. To the Mint itself, they still carry on minting Father Christmas 50p coin for the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) and their own virenium Christmas medallion.
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Here it comes Part II where a new part introduces how did the Pobjoy Mint make a start of the IOM Xmas 50p at the beginning of the year 1980, and a 2nd time improvement happened in 1994. We have talked many things in Part I (if you have missed is, please click here).
- 1980 Christmas 50p coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#1>
The 1980 UNC<#1>, BB, is the most strange one you have ever come across at the beginning of 1980, not only the BB diemark associated with but also the lowest standard in grade in a row. This one breaks the rule of prefix B equivalent to prooflike. However, it is only the one in the series.
- 1980 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#2>
The 1980 UNC<#2>, BB, in contrast to the 1980 UNC<#1>, is much better in terms of finish standard. A light frosting effect and the likely mirror-liked field can be seen.
- 1980 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#3>
The 1980 UNC<#3>, BC, in contrast to the 1980 UNC<#2>, is better, and great than the 1980 UNC<#1>. Also, this type of coins is named Diamond Finish (DF) officially. First impression you have is a bit more whity and easily toned in nature condition. The mirror-liked field it is getting to see clearly.
- 1980 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#4>
The 1980 UNC<#4>, BD, single digit D was used for striking silver metal coin.
- 1980 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#5>
The 1980 UNC<#5>, BE, single digit E was used for striking silver metal coin as well.
Things are getting more complicated beyond this point. First, mule coins exist. Second, reverse has many versions even many variants in a single version. Last, no any record for the Xmas 50p coin it has in place.
- 1980 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#6>
The 1980 UNC<#6>, BF, has squared-rim especially on the obverse side.
- 1980 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#6.1>
The 1980 UNC<#6.1>, BF, has the frosting effect very clear.
- 1980 UNC<#6>'s reverse vs. 1980 UNC<#6.1>'s reverse
- 1980 Christmas 50p Mule Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#6.2>
- 1980 Christmas 50p Mule Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#6.3>
At this point, you have seen many different variants including Mule coins from 1980. It concludes that nobody knew what would be the best finish for the IOM Xmas series in line with no proof coins in base metal at the beginning of the Xmas venture. One thing is clear that the young Pobjoy Mint ltd was keen to make and/or invent something new in numismatic world at age of 15 years really. Another the owner of the Mint shared the things happened behind the closed door externally with collectors as well.
Next, the turning point it shows in 1994, and was last for a consecutive 3 years period. The pattern was like AA-ND and the first introduction of No Diemark (ND) coin in the Xmas 50p series.
- 1994 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#1>
- 1994 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC<#3>
Note: UNC<#1> indicates uncirculated coin that has struck once only, and associated with AA normally. UNC<#3> is a circulating commemorative coin that is done by twice striking with polished dies and specially prepared blanks, and it has ND eventually. UNC<#2> is something between UNC<#1> and UNC<#3> and sometimes with and/or without BB diemark. UNC<#4> and beyond is more like experiments. The pattern is like AA-BB-ND in general. Once you have had an understanding of the IOM diemarks, perhaps you are going to see and enjoy how wonderful the IOM xmas series is before 2010. A third grading company like NGC or PCGS gives a mark PL+ on coin made up to 1998 and MS+ DPL/PL for 1999 and onwards. This info shows how coin quality switched off after 1999.
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Here, it is a very very interesting topic to present in a way either valuation or numismatic value. This topic also is important to collectors who are keen to Christmas 50p base metal coin in modern British Isles coinage history (other than GB coin). Because the more layers we tear off, the more value you can add on the IOM Xmas series. Frankly, it is only here you are able to find out more information on what actually so-called Diamond Finish is. In the early days (say, pre-1997), a Diamond Finish standard (hereafter DF) is a combination of advanced dies (ie., polished) and advanced planchets (ie., buffed), for instance, 1980 IOM Xmas 50p coin associated with BBs-BC-BD-BE-BFs-BFs(Mule). However, the Isle of Man Christmas 50p coin made after 1999, it let you feel that collectors pay a higher price for low quality item made from normal/advanced Dies and normal blanks.
So, let we introduce a UNC coin without mentioning dies and planchets in detail first, as follows:
- 1999 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC <#1>
From the above <#1> pictures, it is hard to tell you what is what, but a base-line point is well established. It is a normal 50p coin which you are able to find it in your pocket money. However, if you look for further detail on the coin, a AA die mark could be spotted at 8 o’clock position. Alongside of that, You are going to see NO squared-rim easily.
Still, another UNC coin, as follows:
- 1999 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC <#2>
From the above <#2> pictures, you are going to see more details on the coin compared to UNC <#1>, but this time, a BB die mark noted on at 8 o’clock position and the mirrored-like field. A variant of UNC <#2> named <#2.1> shows a bit low quality in contrast to UNC <#2>, which is associated with no die mark (hereafter ND).
- 1999 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC <#2.1>
let we have a close look at obverse each,
- BB’s obverse (UNC <#2>) vs. ND’s obverse (UNC <#2.1>)
At this point, two different coins in grade are established. A UNC <#1> coin is a circulating coin, or Mint Statue (hereafter MS) grade from a 3rd grading company. A UNC either <#2> or <#2.1> coin is a circulating commemorative coin or MS Prooflike.
The last grade in a row, it goes to UNC <#3>.
- 1999 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC <#3>
UNC <#3> is also a circulating commemorative coin but a MS Deep PL standard from a 3rd grading company.
Having said that without mentioning dies and planchets, it concludes that most importantly there were no any BUNC 50p coins made in the IOM Xmas series. UNC <#1> was under strike one time and two times for <#2> and <#2.1>, however, three times for UNC <#3>. What is more, the AA and BB die marks were an indication to tell the significant difference between circulating and circulating commemorative coins in principle. However, die marks (with or without) had less information on grades but were able to give you direct information about a xmas coin wether circulating coin or circulating commemorative coin. Obviously, it was hard to follow when the sudden appearance of the existence of ND type of coins. Therefore, UNC (or MS), DF (or MS PL) and DF with Deep prooflike (or MS DPL) were well established and defined here.
A complicated case is list below from the IOM xmas series. UNC and DF coins share the BB die mark at the same time.
- 2000 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC <#1>
Yes, a BB die mark is easily spotted, but does not necessarily say it is a UNC <#2> or <#3> coin. The above coin is actually a UNC <#1> coin.
Now, it presents a UNC <#2> and <#2.1> coin as below,
- 2000 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC <#2>
- 2000 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC <#2.1>
Having said the 1999 IOM Xmas 50p coin mainly, a balanced picture needs to keep in mind. A more complicated case compared cross panel is going to be presented here in relation to same year 50p coin in the IOM Xmas series. we now have to cover the 1999 Xmas 50p coin from Gibraltar (ie., the Mint works on a same topic for two different people, ironically, the Mint has lost the right to mint Gibraltar coinage since 2004). This time, it is your turn to tell us what is it.
- 1999 Christmas 50p Coin from Gibraltar — UNC <#2>? or <#3>?
Do not get me wrong here, the BB die mark does not say or indicate UNC <#2> in grade equally and definitely. What I have talked here is that how to identify a DF standard with and without the die marks.
We are moving to the period of 1999 to 2016 that reveals how the quality of coins drops in years.
First of all, it will be the year 2004 and then 2016 in the second place. There is a pattern of AA-BA-ND in both years when the BA die mark has been used. Meanwhile, the AA die mark is simultaneously existed in relation to the BA die mark as well. Most significantly, the Manx cat in the first place has a farewell appearance in 2004 and drops completely from the IOM Xmas series in 2005. What is more, the p has no place after the 50 denomination in 2016. This echoes back to the very beginning of the IOM Xmas series in 1980. These information are a way to express the internal side of the story.
- 2004 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC <#1>
- 2016 Christmas 50p Coin from the Isle of Man — UNC <#1>
The frosting effect can be seen clearly in both. However, in contrast to ND and BA 50p coins made in same years, the above coins are no better in terms of grade and even worse than UNC <#1> from 1999. A assumption is set up here that the two AA die mark coins are very specially made in the first place but reason(s) unknown.
Last, I want to mention a point here that not all AA diemarks stand for UNC or struck on base metal but there is an exception see below.
- 1994 Christmas 50p Silver Proof Coin from Gibraltar — PF <#4>
Credit: NGC database/online
The mystery of the IOM and GIB Xmas 50p coin is not bad and pulling out from the water, but exploring is still on.
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Actually, I do not want to talk about the Laxey water wheel itself, but just generally specify the fact of the Laxey water wheel being on IOM coinage over time.
According to wikipedia, the Laxey Water Wheel is the largest working wheel in the world. This landscape you are able to see is not only on IOM coins but also on its banknotes. Here, we talk about the Laxey water wheel on decimal coins mainly. In terms of the Laxey water wheel, we are not going through its history instead of discovering the Laxey water wheel the object on 2004 IOM coins. Hereafter, you are going to see interesting things behind on coins.
- 1976 — 1979, the Laxey Water Wheel on nominal 5p coin (i.e., 5×10^0);
- 2004, the Laxey Water Wheel the 150 Anniversary on nominal Xmas 50p coin (i.e., 5×10^1);
- 2004 — 2016, the Laxey Water Wheel was upgraded to nominal £5 virenium coin (i.e., 5×10^2);
- 2004, the Isle of Man government issue a Tourist Trophy 50p coin 2004-verison.
Based on the facts above, you probably notice two things already. One thing is that the first appearance of the Laxey water wheel lasts 9 years by the way of (1 + 8) years, and the second appearance is 24 years later since 1979, 3 times of the length of 1st appearance (excluded 1 year). In the same time, the third appearance straightly jumps to £5 coin with no any breaks in 2004. Totally, the Laxey Water Wheel covers 40 years on IOM coins made by the Pobjoy Mint. Within 40 year, you can feel and see the logic and consistency. Also, here it is the answer to the IOM Xmas series the Laxey water wheel appeared in 2004.
Another thing is that it is (up to) three 50p coins in a row in 2004, meaning, 1x circulating coin (i.e., 1x Milner’s Tower currency coin) and 2x commemorative circulating coins (i.e., 1x Xmas series 50p coin & 1x T.T. series 50p coin). Similar thing happened in 1994, PC 50p coin, Xmas 50p coin and Legislative building 50p coin. Normally they do one circulating 50p coin and one commemorative circulating 50p coin same time. However, it is massive production in contrast to recent IOM 50p coin issues, like 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup 50p coin (x5), 2018 Sapphire Coronation 50p coin (x5)). Note 2012 4x 50p coins it is a special case and 2 Xmas 50p coins in a row in 2008 and it failed to do so.
IOM decimal coin Collection set normally it has two versions, with £5 (9-coin) and without £5 (8-coins) on the secondary market in 2004 onwards. Originally, it started a 6-coin decimal set in 1971 by the Royal Mint. Due to unknown reason(s), a decimal coin 8-coin set is less seeing than a 9-coin set. However, a 2011 decimal coin collection set (9-coin) is very different in terms of £2 and 50p coin. The two coins are both commemorative. It is hard to see this in a year mint set from 2004 onwards.
- 2011 Isle of Man Decimal Collection Coin set (9-coin)
- 2011 IOM £2 UNC coin Tosha Cat
- 2011 IOM 50p UNC coin Yamaha at TT 50 years
To sum up, we talked the Laxey water wheel on 2004 IOM coins especially 50p coins and 2011 £2 coin Tosha cat as well. The year 2004, it was a turning point either to the Tynwald Court or to the then Minter.
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The 50p Xmas coin market in the UK is still young and takes time to become a good and reasonable market. However, Christmas 50p coin from Gibraltar is getting a mess and slowly moving on to their £2 coin like the Isle of Man. The sooner or later collectors will go back for obtaining original ones definitely. This is the destiny of Xmas-theme related coin — failure vs. commercialisation. Firstly, the concept of a Xmas coin is no longer a potential financial instrument as it was. Because the issuer has the absolute right in control of a mintage number. What is more, collectors are being treated like milk cows. Furthermore, people can re-sell goods in hands at a higher price on a secondary market after the IPO (i.e., initial public offering) for the purpose of quick bucks where is only the stimulus driven people to do so. If you take some time to wait a bit further, all will slow down and even be collapsed in price. Collectors have not learnt from this market and events held in the past, history will repeat itself many times, website crash down after website crash down, again and again. Last, it is inconsistency in the entire GIB Xmas series. From Day 1 to date, the Gibraltar government have employed two mints, as follows:
1988 to 2003, the Pobjoy mint;
2004 to 2016, the Tower mint;
2017 to 2019, back to the Pobjoy mint;
2020 to day, back to the Tower mint again.
The above changes lead designs of coinage and striking quality are poor over time.
However, in contrast to Christmas 50p coin from the Isle of Man, the government of the Isle of Man is doing much better. One thing you obviously see through from the IOM Xmas series is consistency, of course, 2015 not counted. At some degree, the entire IOM Xmas series is a good investment portfolio in the long run term. Sadly, the full stop has been made in 2017 by the Tynwald Court. The IOM Xmas 50p series went commercial once in 2003, they felt good, and went twice in 2008, still good, and sadly burst in 2014.
Here, you are only able to see Gibraltar Xmas 50p coin from 1988 to 2003 ONLY, due to the main constraint of data made available by the Pobjoy Mint. Let we start with 1988 first as follows:
- 1988 Gibraltar Xmas 50p UNC coin
- 1988 Gibraltar £1 Virenium Proof Coin
We have to talk about a 1988 Gibraltar £1 Virenium Proof coin when we come across the very first Gibraltar Xmas 50p coin. In theory, a die mark can be easily spotted on Xmas 50p coins made by the Pobjoy Mint. However, it has no such sign. Secondly, the very first Gibraltar Xmas 50p coin is made really poor in terms of coin quality. These coins are not classified as a Diamond Finish standard coin. Bear in mind that this is not what I am defining it, and all evidence will be merged in 1989 onwards to 2003.
After this point, you are able to see so-called Diamond Finish (DF) 50p coin from Gibraltar. Note all samples you are going to see were acquired from coin in card.
- 1989 Gibraltar Xmas 50p Diamond Finish (DF) coin
- 1990 Gibraltar Xmas 50p DF coin
- 1991 Gibraltar Xmas 50p DF coin
- 1992 Gibraltar Xmas 50p DF coin
- 1993 Gibraltar Xmas 50p DF coin
- 1994 Gibraltar Xmas 50p DF coin
- 1995 Gibraltar Xmas 50p DF coin
- 1996 Gibraltar Xmas 50p DF coin
- 1997 Gibraltar Xmas 50p DF coin
- 1998 Gibraltar Xmas 50p DF coin
- 1999 Gibraltar Xmas 50p DF coin
After this point, you are going to see designs are NOT nested in a wreath which means a full design on reverse.
- 2000 Gibraltar Xmas 50p DF coin
- 2001 Gibraltar Xmas 50p DF coin
- 2002 Gibraltar Xmas 50p DF coin
- 2003 Gibraltar Xmas 50p DF coin
Each year, 30,000 Gibraltar Xmas 50p coins are commissioned based on COA. The number of 30,000 is a maximum no. that the Mint is allowed to mint coins. Note the Mint itself has is a unique position in this case, because the Mint is a private limited company not any government-owned minter. From the perspective of the Pobjoy Mint, the level of a certain number of coins made is fundamentally important.
I am aware that it is only a short part of Gibraltar Xmas series from 1988 to 2020 (so far, 1993 and 2002 missing as well). The above coins illustrated are minted by the Pobjoy Mint. This is the reason that this short part exists. Xmas series either from the Isle of Man or Gibraltar are really good numismatic products in terms of design and technique. In modern time, it is hard to find such good arts designed by heart and made by modern people with no commercial intension first.
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How to store your coin collection? It is not easy to get around this topic. First, put all your coins into coin capsules, nice and neat, most importantly, a cost efficient way. However, if you are keen to give your coins extra value added on, a third grading company is the best choice in the first place. This will make a far away long debate, whether you need to do it or not, but it is your coin and your call if costs are not counted.
Today, we are going to illustrate a coin where is chosen from NGC database. Also this coin is a bit controversial. Let we have a look this coin first.
- 2009 Kew Gardens 50p BUNC coin, NGC slabbed MS69 DPL
Credit: NGC database/online
One more, same kind but graded not as good as like the first one where you have seen above, as follows,
- 2009 Kew Gardens 50p BUNC Coin, NGC slabbed MS66 DPL
Credit: NGC database/online
If you want to have a HD picture, no worries, just simply take id no. down on a piece of paper next to you and type them in NGC website. Bingo! Cost effect — upside.
The two coins shown are both graded as Mint State with Deep Prooflike (ie., strike type) by NGC. This is also the interesting point we are going to say here.
As of an announcement made in 2014 by the Royal Mint, only 210,000 Kew Gardens 50p coins were issued in circulation. All Kew Gardens 50p coin-related increased a lot in value and in any way like the two coins above. However, people understood the news a bit wrong. Because circulation Kew Gardens 50p coin and non-circulating Kew Gardens 50p coin are not a same thing in this case. It clearly shows the results from the grading company–DPL. Right now, it is really hard to obtain a MS60+ this kind coin if graded by NGC. All MS60+ w/ DPL come from decimal year mint set and/or PNC cover and/or single pack etc. Highly possibly, a MS60+ grade (ie., MS65 and above) could only come from a sealed bag of 20 coins where a few people collect sealed bag coins.
At this point, if you donot follow what are we talking about here. I am going to give your a different coin from the same grader in terms of MS60+.
Please have a look at the coin as follows:
- 2009 Blue Peter 50p UNC coin, NGC slabbed MS68
Credit: NGC database/online
A Blue Peter 50p UNC coin, in any way, it is a very rare coin technically and holds a value very much high as time flies by. Only a few was issued for circulation, but in this case, for retail sales purpose ONLY. And this one is far better than 1992/93 EEC 50p coin in terms of mintage. Why the Royal Mint are not saying anything about Blue Peter 2009? The rest of story, you and me all know it. A Blue Peter 50p (2009) coin in folder was sold for £311 online platform based on data in Jan of 2021. A MS69 coin slabbed by NGC is nice and popular and hot, but hard to get a MS70 from NGC or another. A Blue Peter 50p UNC coin in original folder, cut or keep, this question comes back to you again — YOUR CALL! However, according to NGC database, a MS+PL coin is also graded within this kind. It can be understood that the Royal Mint striking quality is world-class even one strike. To sum up, NGC has results graded like MS+ & MS+PL among Blue Peter and MS+DPL among Kew Gardens on 50p coins in 2009. If you have a big sample size, say 10x Blue Peter or more, you could do it if costs are not counted, and Good Luck!
I dont own any coins illustrated here, and public information was used to create this post. And I donot get any advantage by publishing a slabbed coin by a third grading company.
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On the day 15/02/2021, it will be 50 years by the existence of decimalisation in British coinage since 1971. Also, this day is so-called D-day (interesting, first thought it is D-day landing, but actually stands for decimal day). In the decimalisation system, on the basis of a decimal coin set of 6 coins (from 1/2p to 50p) was initially issued in 1971, and to date a 8-coin set from 1p to £2 is in use (excluding commemorative coins).
From the moment right now backwards to D-day, probably it has been a long story over 50 years, like a 50p coin with dual-date on rev. (1992/93), a 50p silver proof coin of the 25th anniversary of decimal day (D-day) in 1996, 50p coin resized from 30mm to 27.3mm in diameter and weight from 13g to 8g as well (1997), most popular a 50p Kew Gardens coin (2009, 210,000 coins in circulation), the composer’s name Benjamin Britten on rev. with Queen same time (2013) and extra.
Things, will be covered in this article, are like a 50p silver proof coin from the 25th Anniversary of D-day, a 50p BUNC coin from the 50th Anniversary of D-day. This article aims to give you a unique view on the development of decimalisation over time. However, it is hard to see really. One technique, micro inscription is used on £1 bi-12-sided coin on 28 of March, 2017 for the security purpose.
1996 50p silver proof coin. A Seated-Britannia 50p silver proof coin comes only from 1996 silver proof coin set. This set is a 7-coin silver set that commemorates the 25th Anniversary of decimalisation. All 7 coins are minted in sterling silver (0.9250) with denominations from 1p to £1 at cost of £95. According to its COA, 15,000 sets are permitted to sell. Smaller denominations like 1p 2p are first time to see in silver from the start of D-day to 1996. The 50p silver proof coin is the key bonus of the set. From the perspective of collectors, the 50p coin is the first 50p coin in silver to keep in your collection cabinet, and the first circulating 50p coin in silver as well. Furthermore, the silver coin set has greater intrinsic value undiscovered. Because it is the first British proof coin set in sterling silver since 1911 (note 1935 1937 issues only with 50% silver).
- Seated-Britannia 50p silver proof coin for the 25th Anniversary of D-day in 1996
2021 50p BUNC coin. It is very interesting to see on obv. two different portraits used on 50p coin namely 2nd and 5th and on rev. a nostalgic design. The two portraits used are only on base metal.
- Nostalgic 50p BUNC coin for the 50th Anniversary of D-day in 2021
Credit: Royal Mint/Online
Top row from pictures shown above, a 50p BUNC coin with 2nd portrait is ONLY available from annual set containing 13-coin at cost of £55. It is the very smart marketing strategy on the 50th Anniversary of D-day. Bottom row shows a 50p BUNC coin with 5th portrait coming from individual pack at cost of £10. Also, this type of coin is available in silver and gold as well. Eventually, it will cost you in total of £65 (exl. delivery cost) for the two different portraits.
The 25h anniversary, the 50th anniversary, they represent special occasions in our daily life. To the Mint, it is good time to make great money, and to collectors, you have to buy them from the Mint, because you never know who is going to be next Kew and not available in our change. With the development of technology, more different techniques should be exercised on coins to represent our daily life and society situation, and more circulating commemorative coins should be released to the market.
It is a bit ironic that people donot like decimal coins 50 years ago. On the mark of 50 years today, people are keen to collect them. The decimal coins have not been changed much, but people changed a lot.
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1 Brief Introduction
Before we kick off today’s topic, let us talk something first, a modern Mule coin.
1.1 What is a Mule coin?
Here it is a quote from Coinworld’s website, (or You can click here for more details.):
A mule coin is a coin struck with dies that were not intended to be paired.
“A numismatic mule is a fascinating creature, a hybrid of two designs never meant to appear together,” Coin World senior news editor William T. Gibbs wrote in 1992. “Some are accidental in nature, true errors that any collector would welcome in his or her collection. Other mules were deliberately produced, either accidentally, out of necessity to meet coinage demands, or from a desire to produce something special (even if fraudulent) for collectors.”
1.2 What is a modern Mule coin?
Having said a mule coin above, a modern mule coin is made in 1971 and onwards in British coinage in terms of modern. Therefore, it brings out our topic — a modern mule coin.
2 A Two New Pence Mule Coin in 1983
2.1 What is it?
A 2 (Two) New Pence Mule coin is an ordinary 2 pence (2p) coin with wording of “NEW” on reverse made in 1983. In essence, it is a 2p coin from our daily use. However, this kind of 2 new pence coin can not be found from our pocket. You only discover it from Year Mint Coin Collection Martini Set. The particular reason behind this kind of 2p Mule coin and further information, you can click on here in 2.2 below.
- 1983 2p Mule coin in Martini Set
2.2 A real and official one in 1983
Loads loads of rare coins flood into the market, due to lack of proper knowledge and information. People can claim their own coin RARE in any way. Once a rare coin named, a price of the rare coin will soar.
The 2p mule coin official announcement please click here for more information.
Information of 2p Mule coin confirmed officially, and demands of the coin on the market existed, people just want to know how much it is worth and then cash in it? It is obvious a drawback of modern coins (i.e., quick money). However, people (i.e., investors) are destroying the turnover rate fundamentally.
3 Valuation on mule coins
A 2p mule coin, it is extremely hard to find on the market in terms of rarity. Also the mule coin is escaped under stricter inspections from a government-owned Mint, a rare event it is. At this point, you can see that a 2p Mule coin has a greater value if you have it in hands. Furthermore, the more people know and recognise, the higher price you are going to sell for. However, the mule coin slowly gets seen more commonly and loses its own value contained when the Mint downgrade their quality control process and get their hands on this commercial bug.
4 Mule coins since 1971 to 2020
Mule coins we walk through here are circulating type coins in terms of legal tender, and coins struck on wrong planchet not included.
→ 1983 2 new pence coin (correct version: 1983 2p)
We have talked this coin in detail above, please see above.
→ 1994 £2 Bank of England gold coin (correct version: with denomination Two Pounds)
A relevant event: trail coins were in production lines for the 1997 changeover event (i.e., 50p £2).
→ Undated 20p coin (correct version: 2008 20p)
A relevant event: from Tudor rose to shied on reverse
→ 2012 50p swimming coin Olympic Games (correct version: no lines over a swimmer face)
A relevant event: none, but commemorating the Olympic Games 2012 London.
→ 2015 50p Battle of Britain coin (correct version: with denomination 50 Pence)
A relevant event: Effigy of Q E II upgrade from 4th to 5th. The Mint said they intend to issue a special one. In the end of the day, you will see how a big lie it is!
5 Others: A new trend
Keep a 2p mule coin in its original pack, or leave the coin naked, or get the coin slabbed by a third grading company (i.e., NGC, PCGS). What are you going to do? It is very personal and subjective matter to say. It is too young modern coins in terms of time.
A 2p mule coin is worth more than its face value obviously. It is necessary to put it into a proper box, and easy to present people either physically or virtually. By considering these two points, put it in a box from a third grading company is the best way to store the coin, but costs and grades are key to think about before and after. Also, modern mule coins are too young to be slabbed. If you are going to establish your portfolio, it is the best to let your valuable mule coins slabbed.
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Before we get into this topic, I would like to give you a short introduction on a 50p coin made in 1992/93. Two aspects it will be covered, a). history and b). 50p coin re-size in 1997, as follows:
a). The UK in 1973 joined European Economic Community (EEC) as members under the Treaty of Rome (1957-1992). In 1973, the Royal Mint had issued Hand-in-Hand (representing a circle) on 50p coins to commemorate this event. Th 1973 50p coin makes the very first commemorative 50p coin in the UK. Upon the Treaty of Maastricht (1992-2007) European Union (EU) was formed for establishing the Single Market, and the UK was the presidency of the council of ministers during 2nd half of 1992. Therefore, in 1992/93, the Royal Mint had issued 12 stars around a table to commemorate the Single Market in Europe with dual dated 50p coins. The 1992/93 coin is the first dual-dated 50p coin even the very first dual-dated decimal coin.
b). In 1997, all UK 50p coins with 30.00mm in diameter and 13.00g in weight were resized to 27.30mm in diameter with a weight of 8.00g. Therefore, all large-sized 50p coins were legally out of circulation. (Note, the point b). mentioned here, it is the only reason to see Kew Gardens 50p coins from 2009 were a bubble created by hyper and the Mint itself. However, the EEC small-sized 50p coin reappeared to the market in 2009, due to the 40th anniversary of 50p decimalisation set.) Meanwhile, have you noted that why all happened in 2009, and it is true that things are that coincident?
The Single Market / EEC 50p coins were made in between 1992 and 1993 (i.e., dual-dated), and only had 109,000 mintage (by official number). If collectors want to find one on the market, it would be hard because of point b). said above. People argue that we have money and not THAT hard. Wrong, wrong, wrong, absolutely! Most the Single Market / EEC 50p coins come from decimal year set (i.e., BUNC). You would never know how many 1992 mint sets were made originally. All dual-dated 50p BUNC coins create more room on the demand of looking for a 1992/93 50p coin, and all BUNC coins are making troubles even a 3rd party grading company.
- The Single Market/EEC dual-dated 50p UNC coin from 1992 FDC
In contrast to a dual-dated 50p BUNC coin from 1992,
- The Single Market/EEC dual-dated 50p BUNC coin 1992 from decimal year set.
The differences between the two coins shown above are as follows:
a). Edge. FDC’s edge looks more rougher than BUNC’s edge, and nicks noted on FDC’s edge. This is due to circulating coins that are only struck ONCE and any scratches and imperfections are NOT removed and remain part of the unique appearance of the coin;
b). Mirrored field. The mirrored field of BUNC coin has a smooth surface rather than FDC’s, meaning a commemorative BUNC coin is struck TWICE.
c). Most significantly, it is scratches on a UNC coin and legend on obverse is not lightly frosted. Based on this point, how could you expect a grade like MS 68/69 on a UNC coin.
At present, the way you find a circulating commemorative EEC 50p coin uncirculated is ONLY from First Day Cover (i.e., FDC) generally. Alternatively, it comes from a sealed bag of 20 coins if you are extremely lucky. If you send your EEC 50p coin(s) either BUNC or UNC to a 3rd grading party, you only have MS status back which is a shame. Because this does not represent a true value of a EEC 50p UNC coin.
After a look between UNC and BUNC, you will make your own decision on how much you are going to pay and which one you are going to pay for.
However, this type of BUNC has changed a lot in 2000 and onwards. The mirror field has been improved a lot, equivalent to a prooflike standard. The portrait on the obverse contains a lot of details.
- Seated Britannia 50p PL coin (2000)
- Library 50p PL coin (2000)
It concludes that the Royal mint 50p coin sold in annual set is with a Prooflike (PL) finish standard after 2000. Most importantly, a BUNC coin and a UNC coin are totally different numismatic product.
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Two 50p coins we are going to cover here, are a 2009 50p Blue Peter coin and a 2018 50p Newton coin. We set up our benchmark by using the 2009 50p Kew Gardens coin in order to see what is the rare coin within a 50p coin group from 1971 to present. For presenting a best picture of the rarest UK 50p coin in circulation, we must firstly define two base lines of term of rarity: a). mintage and b). statue of a coin: in current circulation where the coin is not out of date in decimalisation system. Therefore, we can talk more on a same topic.
Scenario I and II are used to illustrate the two base lines the above mentioned, and each scenario case followed by a supportive table.
Scenario I: Counting mintage only!
A mintage figure is important. A coin is naturally connected with its mintage. Coins are minted in place for daily use by a Mint. It is really hard to say how many coins a Mint needs to get prepared in advance, because demand is really hard to predict, due to many factors involved and cashless is getting more clear in our daily life in post-pandemic period.
In this part, we are going to list the rarest 50p coin in terms of official mintage as below:
|the Single Market EEC||1992/93||109,000||30.00mm & 16.00g, UNC|
|Kew Gardens||2009||210,000||27.30mm & 8.00g, UNC|
|Blue Peter||2009||19,751||no official figure, UNC in blister|
|Isaac Newton||2018||20,826||Royal Mint Experience BUNC in folder|
Table A in Scenario I shows the rarest 50p since 1971 explicitly. However, there is one condition, solid condition, that cannot be removed easily — “…, currently in circulating 50p coin [from the Royal Mint announcement]”. Also, this point will be broken down into a). a circulating 50p coin and b). a circulating commemorative 50p coin. Therefore, Scenario II is derived from here.
Scenario II: Considering mintage upon the statue of a coin.
In terms of the statue of a coin, it could be circulating or non-circulating. This is the way the Royal Mint used to trigger consumers psychologically.
|Kew Gardens||2009||210,000||27.30mm & 8.00g; circulating coin|
|Blue Peter||2009||19,751||no official figure, in folder; circulating coin|
|Isaac Newton||2018||20,826||Royal Mint Experience folder; non-circulating coin|
Table A & B are the two very interesting tables. This is because Table A is reflecting a full picture of UK 50p coin over time, and Table B however just shows partially. If there is a conflict between the logic created by time naturally and the logic man-made, which one you would follow? If the man-made logic works in any scenarios, it means everything is under control by people who set up the man-made logic, indicating MOTIVATION. At the moment, people or collectors are spending over £400 on a Kew in folder. What about a Blue Peter coin??? and a EEC coin??? This is really a good question to be asked ourself. We all are driven by the Royal Mint marketing strategy.
Let we have a look what do they look like in terms of Blue Peter and Newton SYO (2018).
- 2009* UK 50p UNC Coin Blue Peter
- [For comparison] 2011* UK 50p BUNC Coin High Jump
*Note: UNC and BUNC are totally different two grades in terms of a finish standard.
- 2018 Royal Mint Experience Newton 50p coin Strike Your Own (SYO)
Please, donot get confused with 2017 Newton 50p coin. The reason you are going to see a 2018 Newton 50p coin is because the Mint have to use/create a thing (/or things) to marketing the Royal Mint Experience where they spent a lot time to build. Furthermore, 50p coin was becoming a hot potato between 2016 and 2017 in the UK. Therefore, that is the reason of the birth of 2018 Newton 50p coin. Yes, donot forget that 2018 Newton 50p coin is a coin that you strike it on your own (ie., Strike Your Own = SYO) at the Royal Mint Experience. This makes 2009 50p Blue Peter coin and 2018 50p Newton SYO coin a little bit different in nature.
2009 50p Blue Peter coin and 2018 50p Newton SYO coin are both rare in terms of mintage and qualified by the term of currently circulating. So, collectors, are you going to pay price over the roof on a 2009 50p Kew Gardens coin? Answers are already in you mind after this read. Mission still carries on. However, we will not know which one will be the next rarest 50p coin. Life expects many uncertainty, keep positive.
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From a road map of EU,
a article written by the BBC is the best place to know and discovery, please have a read link, a road map of the Brexit by BBC.
From coin side,
- 1973, UK 50p coin the EEC (hand in hand)
- 1992, UK 50p coin the Single market
- 1998, UK 50p coin the 25th Anniversary of the EEC
- 2020, UK 50p coin the Brexit
As you have seen above, it is very simple and basic package sold by the Royal Mint at £10 each plus delivery fee. It is hard to see what is WORTH of £10 really? Yes, one thing you have to admit that if you have not done anything on the day (31/01/2020), it would not be a record in our modern history. From this point, you contribute your £10 into the history. In terms of coin quality, it is still a prooflike finish standard. One more thing, from the road map of coins since 1973 to 2020, is that all story about the relationship between EU and the UK are all in place and all recorded on British modern coinage. Farewell the European Union, and Good luck to the UK.
- 2020, UK 50p silver proof coin the Brexit
Note: a commemorative coin, supporting from a). a 47,000 issue limit = 47 years’ relationship with the European Union; & b). struck in precious metal like silver and gold. A label on outer packaging makes me thinking about “why” the payments were made on 31/01/2020, and then cancelled by the Royal Mint. Here you go. All coins scheduled on sale were the day, 31/01/2020, this doesnot necessarily mean that the manufacture was able to delivery goods on the day. I know the Royal Mint is endorsed by their brand & 1000 years history, and the Treasury (ie., a Treasury-owned company). But if, the Royal Mint were collapsed in a second (like Lehman Brothers in 2008), another Ponzi Scheme was on. However, who really cares?
- 2020, UK 50p coin 2-coin the Brexit
Note: a combined pack of a 1973 coin and a 2020 coin, it covers 47 years that the relationship lasts between EU and the UK, and a limit of mintage is set up at 5,000 coins, much better than silver coin of this kind.
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I have talked a little bit on the topic of die mark AC in the past, catching it up you can click on Die Marks AC under All Categories on your right panel. Today, let we talk about single die mark, and the start of all die mark variants.
It all begun on sovereigns gold coins in 1973. In the year 1973, the Pobjoy mint were commissioned to mint sovereigns from half to five sovereigns on behalf of the government of Isle of Man. Also, it was the time to see the birth of die mark (single) A/B/C/D/E from a private mint in the post-decimal era in the UK. A special die mark X was created in 1973 and die mark F in 1979. In the meantime, the letters of PM were well-established as the Pobjoy Mint’s mintmark.
According to MacKay (1978, p.51), a single letter like A/B/C/D/E was stamped on IOM sovereigns from half to Five in 1973, and each letter indicated the numbers of coins struck from each die. However, the author has not put more information about the difference among dies, or gave explanation on reasons behind using different dies. Most importantly, this book was published by the Pobjoy Mint.
In terms of a single letter,
Precious metal, (–0)*, single die mark like: A, B, C, D & E, X (only 1973 gold metal, MacKay (1978, p.52)) and F (1979 silver metal);
Man-made metal, (–1)*, 2-digit die mark like AA/AB/AC/AD and BB/BC on 1978 £1 Virenium coin;
Base metal, (–2)*, 2-digit die mark like: AA/AB/AC/AD/AE(?)/AF(?) under the Prefix A, and BB/BC/BD/BE/BF and BA (1988 50p Xmas coin) under the Prefix B** on 1979 50p CN coin.
The difference among above like 2^0(=1) and 2^1(=2, two different finish standards) and 2^2 (=4, Tynwald Hill, a 4-tiered hill). The base 2 comes from a coin having two sides.
The meaning of 2-digit die mark represents the First Day of Minting (FDM) like AA and BB in base metal, B in precious metal.
*Note: considers as position in line.
**Note: AE, AF, BE and BF were only appeared on circulating commemorative coins like IOM Xmas 50p coin, and not on circulating coins. DD was spotted on 1980 circulating coins. Also, the Prefix B indicates a (at least) prooflike or proof finish standard. This source comes from 50p coins.
Having said above, it is easy to direct how to collect IOM Xmas 50p coin and IOM T.T. 50p coin in terms of die mark. In general, coins in loose condition, die marks AA and BB both from circulating commemorative coins are the most common ones but AA with BU striking techniques and BB with Diamond Finish striking techniques. Years like 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 until 1985 it is hard to decide which direction you are going to, because there is 4 (at least) variants from the Prefix A and the Prefix B and later after post-1997, down to AA/BB (or ND).
Some special IOM/T.T. 50p ones without provenance at the moment, like:
- 1980 IOM Xmas,
- 1981 IOM Xmas XX,
- 1983 IOM T.T. AC,
- 1988 IOM Xmas BA,
- In 1994 IOM Xmas ND,
- 2005 IOM Xmas AA,
- 2011 IOM Xmas AA,
it has BB/BC/BD/BE/BF & BF mule plus two different versions under die letters BB–BB w/ mirror-liked field and BB w/o mirror-liked field, and AA/AB/AC/AD/AE(?)/AF(?). Mistakes noted! Very new product from the perspective of the Mint alongside circulating coins. Official announcement of BC as diamond finish in Krause book (KM#).
this one is possibly linked to 1973 sovereign with die mark X. It has BB and BC under the Prefix B this year. In the same year, IOM T.T. was minted. Mistake noted! New product from the perspective of the Mint alongside circulating coins.
it has AA/AB/AC/AD and BB.
this one indicates that BA coin finish standard is between AA and BB. The BB die marks indicate proof finish, and the AA die marks stand for standard finish. Somehow it echoes 1980 BB w/o mirror-liked field in terms of striking quality.
Striking techniques are totally different.
is shiny like a glass cup.
and ND are only two grades in Xmas series. BB die marks has dropped out since 2004 onwards.
Let us talk about the AC and AD die marks once again here. It has been talking many times in the past, but here it definitively gives you the best picture you can see. Also, you can find them from Die Marks AC/ AD under Categories on your right panel. The AD die mark was established alongside with the AC die mark in 1978 for the purpose of celebrating the first £1 pound coin in British decimal coinage history. The standard finish (i.e., UNC finish) was used on £1 IOM virenium coin from sequence of A to D under the Prefix A. In the year 1979, it only had the AA/AB/AC die marks on £1 virenium coin. However, the AD die mark was spotted on 1979 IOM 50p coin. Most surprisingly, this year 50p coin finish on the AA/AB/AC/AD die marks was significant different, and each die mark had two variants (note, another 1979 AC from 1980 AC). Probably, all steps above were included in the “1972 workable proposal” submitted in 1972 by Mr. D. Pobjoy.
Have you noticed that the AD die mark was shifted from £1 down to 50p? This obviously echoes the Millennium AD event and the Royal visit event in 1979.
It was a amazing story told by the different die marks, but sadly, it had no any official record of them to trace or search. Probably, it is the best disadvantage of collecting IOM post-decimal coin.
MacKay, J.A., 1978. The Pobjoy Mint Encyclopaedia of Isle of Man Coins and Tokens. 2nd ed. Dumfries, England: The Pobjoy Mint.
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With no exception and surprise, it is time to reveal 2019 Xmas-related 50p coin in base metal. Normally it is about this time every year. This 50p coin comes from Gibraltar, designed and struck by the Pobjoy mint with theme Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs. Metal available in silver and gold (please see 2018 ones in terms of metal variety; Note silver is silver proof and silver piedfort proof version this year). Since they (the Mint) took over the contract from the Tower mint in 2017, it has been a little mess about the Gibraltar Xmas series. Generally speaking, it is highly related with stories from the Bible from 1988 to 2003, and but from 2017 to 2019 it is a story all about Father Christmas. At this point, the Royal mint are doing the exactly same thing, Snowman.
From below, you are going to see three different type coins.
1. Currency type, die mark AA
- 1.1 Version I
- 1.2 Version II
Between Version I and Version II, the prominent difference is obviously coin finish itself and mirror-field. In Version II, “frosted” Father Christmas can be seen easily. If you look further and scroll down, “frosted” AA has a less quality than “frosted” DA in terms of coin finish. It concludes that Version I coin has no any pre-polished blank used in comparison to Version II, and Version II it has also a better mirror-field than Version I in terms of reflectivity. With regard to die mark AA, it locates at the right side of the horizon and below berries & holly.
2. Diamond finish non-colour-printed in a decoration, die mark DA (instead of ND in 2018)
This DA coin, it is a sign indicating what they are still able to produce, but still a faraway from 1980s products. Also, they create a big room between DA coins and Silver Piedfort coins in terms of margins.
3. Diamond finish colour-printed in a card, die mark DA (instead of ND in 2018)
From above 2 & 3, one thing is clear, mintage for both diamond finish and diamond finish colour-printed coins has only one number, 8,500. They spend almost 40 years figured out this in order. In contrast to mintage of 2018, they agreed to increase 1,000 coins in base metal. Silver proof coin was decreased from 4,500 to 1,500 coins. However, silver proof coin has gone instead of silver proof piedfort coin. A 3rd coin since 2016 is still not able to stay away from the Father Christmas theme. From this point on, silver coins are no longer silver proof version, and are piedfort style (i.e., double silver proof), asking price £99.17 (excl. VAT). However, it is totally wrong market strategy in terms of product variety.
Below it is Table A that summarises Gibraltar Xmas 50p coin from 2017 to 2019.
|Year||Mintage (base metal)||1st order difference||Colour||Theme||Metal|
|2019||8,500||1,000||Yes||Father Christmas by R Briggs||CN, Silver/Silver Piedfort, Gold|
|2018||7,500||-2,500||Yes||Father Christmas by R Briggs||CN, Silver, Gold|
|2017||10,000||—||—||Christmas (from 1992)||CN|
A 2019 Father Christmas 50p coin w/ die mark AA and a 2019 Father Christmas 50p coin w/ die mark DA, they are two totally different coins in terms of coin quality and coin mintage. A Father Christmas 50p coin w/ DA is limited at 8,500 coins, slabbed in a decoration and a card produced by the Pobjoy mint itself. However, A Father Christmas 50p coin w/ AA is absolutely UNLIMITED, partially some in Gibraltar Stamps and Coins FDC.
This year, you probably see die mark DA first time, me as well. But, actually, the prefix D has been using in 1980 Viking 50p on IOM decimal diamond finish coin set, named die mark DD. A new pattern is formed under the prefix D in 2019 which is DD–DA–AA. The new pattern echoes a similar pattern, but from the prefix B (IOM) in between 1988 and 2004, BB–BA–AA. With seeing die mark DA, I believe that it is time to say goodby to die mark BB and the prefix B. Somehow, you can think about it like sort of strike back. At this point, you might feel the existence of die mark DA.
Let we talk back on coin itself. First look, it is better, much better since 2016. You can think this like the divorce resulted in very sad feeling and exhausted in 2017, and take a break and fell better in 2018. Finally, in 2019 it is able to do work. Also, 2019 one is the best so far. In 2019, we hope everything is back on track.
Below, it is a DF non-colour-printed coin, taking out from a decoration. First, eye-appealing is much better (since 2013 onwards). A deep “frosted” effect is there, only on a DA coin. So the coin shows more whitish in colour both two sides. Second, mirror-liked field is easy to see. Last, the portrait on the obverse is a problem. It is slightly rotated at least 1 degree.
- 2019 Gibraltar Father Christmas 50p DA coin
So far, you have seen 2019 Father Christmas 50p coin in different range of products in base metal.