Update: Rarest Modern UK Coin

A few weeks ago I posted on what I believed was the rarest coin to be issued by the Royal Mint in modern times.

This was based upon the fact that the Mint’s own mintage tables on its website stated that only 65,000 copies of the 2012 Olympic London to Rio Handover coin had been minted, far less even than the celebrated Kew Gardens 50p (the same table states that 210,000 were minted).

A recent surge in interest in the Kew coin sent prices soaring above £100 (based on a misleading press release from the Mint as it sought publicity for its Great British Coin Hunt collector packs) so I was curious at claims that the Kew coin was the rarest in circulation.

Therefore I contacted the Mint to query the claim and quoted its own figures as evidence.

The correspondence copied below highlights two inaccuracies in the Mint’s published mintage figures!

Me: Hello, I was intrigued to read your press release about Kew Garden 50p coins being “the rarest commemorative UK coin design to be released into circulation”. I was puzzled by this claim as your mintage tables state that 210,000 of these were minted (although the 2009 Baby Gift Set owned by my four year old son states there were 300,000), yet the same mintage tables record that just 65,000 examples of the 2012 Rio Olympic handover coin were released into general circulation. Perhaps the reason for this seeming discrepancy is that this £2 issue is not “commemorative” or that many more of these were minted but not released into circulation. Either way, I would be delighted if this could be clarified. Many Thanks in advance.

Mint: Thank you for your email. I can confirm that the 210,000 Kew Gardens 50ps is the number of coins placed into general circulation. The baby gift sets are Commemorative coins so not included in this figure. The Handover to Rio £2 coin that shows 65,000 is unfortunately an incorrect figure provided by our website. The details on this coin have not been updated as 850,000 were released into circulation in 2013. I have informed our web department who will update the information as soon as possible. Kind Regards

So it seems that my nosy query about mintage numbers has resulted in improved accuracy at the Mint.