FINANCE

What are the most valuable coins and notes in the UK?

ByEquilibrium Asset Management

On 18th July 2017, on the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, the Bank of England unveiled the newly designed polymer £10 note, featuring the famous British author and a range of innovative new features.

If the hysteria surrounding the launch of the polymer £5 note last year is anything to go by, we can expect the earliest issues of the £10 note to attract a significant amount of attention and their value to skyrocket. Certain £5 notes, which began with the prefix ‘AA01’, are already said to be worth as much as £200.

With the £10 note on its way and a new polymer £20 note scheduled for release in 2020, the team at Equilibrium Asset Management wanted to take a look at the most valuable currency in the UK

The most valuable coins and notes in the UK 

There is a range of pre-decimal and decimal coins that have seen a many-thousand percentage increase in value due to their rareness. Here are some examples, with associated estimated values from coin and bullion expert Chard and GoCompare. 

1933 George V penny 

1933 George V penny

1933 George V penny

This is considered arguably the most valuable coin in the UK, with an estimated value of £72,000. Although this was originally created as a pattern coin – one that is never released for circulation – it is believed seven were issued, making them extraordinarily rare. 

1937 Edward VIII brass threepence

1937 Edward VIII brass threepence

1937 Edward VIII brass threepence

Another pattern coin, this three penny piece has historical significance because Edward VIII, who appears on the coin, abdicated less than 12 months into his reign, making the coins redundant.

Only 10 were minted, and today they would be worth approximately £45,000 each. 

1917 George V sovereign London mint

1917 George V sovereign London mint

1917 George V sovereign London mint

The sovereign was a gold coin, with a nominal value of one pound sterling, in circulation in the UK prior to 1932 as part of Britain’s Gold Standard currency.

Valued today at an estimated £15,000 – an increase in value of 191,716% since its launch – this gold sovereign was issued during World War I with a low mintage. 

1971 £5 note 

1971 £5 note

1971 £5 note

An ultra-rare 1971 £5 note was sold at an auction in May 2017 for £16,800.

There are two main features that make a banknote valuable:

  • Serial numbers – notes are printed in sheets, with a serial number assigned to each note. This serial number is made up of a two-letter prefix, starting with AA, as well as a batch number, starting with 01. According to auction house Warwick & Warwick, any note from the AA01 batch has the potential to be extremely valuable, particularly because number 000001 is always presented to the Queen and 000002 is always presented to Prince Philip. The note that sold for £16,800 had the serial number A01 000004.
  • Chief Cashier signatures – each note includes a signature by the Chief Cashier at the Bank of England, and notes signed by certain Chief Cashiers – especially those from a first or last print batch – are particularly sought after by collectors. 

1905 Edward VII half crown 

This silver half crown is particularly rare because only 166,008 were minted in 1905 – just five years before the end of Edward VII’s reign. On the obverse is a portrait of the monarch by George William de Saulles, while on the reverse is a crowned shield in garter, designed by the same medallist.

This coin today is worth £10,500 – a 79,445% increase from its original nominal value. 

1996 football European Championships gold proof two pound 

1996 football European Championships gold proof two pound 

1996 football European Championships gold proof two pound 

Just fewer than 2,100 of these coins were minted, which feature a football, the date and 16 small circles to signify the countries taking part in the European Championships football tournament in 1996.

There is an unknown number of these coins with a flat surface and an incorrect die, making them yet more rare and contributing to a value of around £1,700. 

1983 Elizabeth II ‘new pence’ two pence 

1983 Elizabeth II ‘new pence’ two pence 

1983 Elizabeth II ‘new pence’ two pence

This coin is valuable because of a mistake made when creating the die for this two pence coin. Instead of the reverse reading ‘Two Pence’, it reads ‘New Pence’. The number of coins released is unknown, but one could fetch up to £1,350 today. 

2012 Olympics swimming fifty pence 

2012 Olympics swimming fifty pence 

2012 Olympics swimming fifty pence

The most recent of the five featured coins in this article, this coin was supposed to depict the face of a swimmer underwater, alongside the logo of the 2012 London Olympics.

However, an unknown number of coins were put into circulation where the swimmer’s face was actually obscured by water. These rare coins are now worth approximately £750.

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