With every year that passes the Coin Hunt continues to evolve, as new commemorative coin designs are released. In 2015 alone there were £2 coins to mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta and the Navy’s role in the First World War, a new Royal Arms design featured on the £1 coin and the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain was marked on a 50p.
The release of four new commemorative coin designs in a single year isn’t necessarily extraordinary in itself, but 2015 was a unique year for UK coinage. It proved to be a mini Coin Hunt in itself! It saw several changes that are definitely beyond our usual expectations. Britannia made her return to our circulating coins, replacing the Technology £2 as the definitive £2 coin, and the ‘heads’ side of UK coins also changed, with the introduction of the fifth and final portrait of Her Majesty The Queen. This all meant that there were 19 variants of 2015 coin designs that entered circulation!
If you are a regular reader of The Royal Mint blog or follow The Royal Mint on Facebook or Twitter, this is not new news. In fact we’ve been talking about it for quite some time and it has raised many questions, such as; “Did all of the 2015 coins enter circulation?”, “Which effigy featured on the commemorative designs?” and, perhaps most significantly for Coin Hunt collectors, “With four £2 coin designs entering circulation, will 2015 produce a rare £2 coin?“.
Currently the ‘rarest’ £2 coin in circulation is the 2002 Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games £2, with just 485,500 entering circulation – the average mintage, for example, sees around five million of each commemorative £2 coin struck for circulation. In 2015, there were four £2 coin designs to enter circulation; the Technology £2, the Britannia £2, the Magna Carta £2 and the First World War Navy £2. So, have any of these £2 coins made their way onto the list of the ‘rarest’ £2 coins? Well, the 2015 UK coin mintage figures make for interesting reading and the answer is sure to excite Coin Hunters everywhere…
Just 1,495,000 Magna Carta £2 coins were struck for circulation, which sees it creep into the UK’s top 20 rarest circulating coins in 19th place. However it is only the 10th rarest £2 coin, with the top 20 rarest coins in circulation being dominated by £2 coins such as the four 2002 Commonwealth Games £2 coins and the two London Underground £2 coins.
There were only 650,000 FWW Navy £2 coins struck for circulation and the 2015 Britannia £2 coin also had a mintage of just 650,000. That means both £2 coins share joint fourth position in the list of the UK’s rarest circulating coins and joint third position in the list of the rarest £2 coins.
Outside of the £2 coins, there were 5,900,000 Battle of Britain 50p pieces struck for circulation, along with some 92 million 2015 £1 coins – 29,580,000 featuring the Shield of the Royal Arms and the fourth portrait of The Queen and 62,475,640 featuring the 2015 Royal Arms design and the fifth portrait of The Queen. The lower denominations, 20p and below, are generally struck in significantly larger quantities – but, with two portraits of Her Majesty The Queen entering circulation, will any of these coins prove to be ‘rare’? You can see all the mintage figures from 2015 at royalmint.com, here.