LONDON - Examples of a rare 50p coin are being listed at £495 on online marketplace eBay, and several uncirculated or ‘mint’ pieces have been sold for £180 - 360 times the coin’s face value.
The commemorative coin was produced just five years ago with a limited run of 210,000 to mark the 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Royal Mint says around one in 300 people are likely to have the coin, and recent coverage of its growing worth sent hopeful coin-sellers scrabbling through their spare change. EBay gives 400 search results for ‘Kew 50p coin’ - with asking prices falling off quite steeply from the speculative £495. About fifty of the entries are listed at more than £100, the rest below. London Coin Company has three left in stock priced at £299.95, having sold four examples at £150-180. A number of sellers have a high volume of bidders who are looking to snap up the coin starting at a far lower cost. Other commemorative 50p coins have had a far higher mintage. For example, the Royal Shield of Arms issued in 2008 has 22.7million while a WWF celebration 50p coin had 3.4million. This makes the Kew Gardens coin rare in comparison. You can check out the mintage figures on the Royal Mint website. A spokeswoman at the Royal Mint said that while the face value of the coin is 50 pence, ‘what it is worth to collectors is another matter’. On the Royal Mint website, it describes the coin as showing the pagoda encircled by a vine and accompanied by the dates ‘1759 and ‘2009’, with the word ‘Kew’ at the base of the pagoda and was designed by Christopher Le Brun. Shane Bissett, director of commemorative coin at the Royal Mint, said: ‘Whilst we’re urging everyone to check their change to see whether they could have one of these exceptional coins in their pockets, we also want to encourage the nation to look more closely at all of the coins we use every day. ‘They really are miniature works of art worth looking out for, admiring and collecting - and keeping hold of them is a great way for us to build our own private art galleries.