How much do we know about the coins in our pockets?

Everyone who works here at The Royal Mint, and all you coin fans out there, know that the coins of the United Kingdom are beautiful, intricate works of art, everlasting storytellers of the great events and figures of our history and culture.

But how wide does that knowledge go? How much do the general public really know about the coins in their pockets, the coins they use every day to buy a paper, pay for parking, or help them make decisions?

We were intrigued. So, we decided to ask.

We recently conducted a survey of some 2,000 adults in the UK, asking them questions such as how many different £2 coin designs there are in circulation, how many sides does a 50p coin have, and how many portraits of Queen Elizabeth II can currently be seen on the coins in everyday use.

The results were fascinating, and we will share some of them with you all in our blog next week. Needless to say, the results show we have some work to do in order to increase people’s knowledge of, and love for, the coins they use everyday.

To help people get to know their coins better, and to gain a greater appreciation of their beauty and diversity, we have recently launched three new collector albums, which are available now from our website

Following on from the hugely popular London 2012 50p collector albums, these new folders are the same size and format, but are designed to help people collect all the other circulating commemorative 50p, £1 and £2 coins that are out there in everyday use.

50p front

This 50p album has space for 16 50p coins, from Britannia to Benjamin Britten. One of the rarest and hardest to find is the Kew Gardens 50p coin from 2009, as only 210,000 went into circulation.

50p inside

At the other end of the scale, some 3.4 million of Matthew Dent’s WWF 50p coins have entered circulation since 2011!

The £1 coin celebrated its 30th birthday this year, and since its introduction in 1983 there have been 21 different designs that celebrate the symbols, nature and engineering achievements of the four constituent parts of the United Kingdom.

£1 front

Again, the different amounts of the coins that have gone out into public use means that some are more difficult to find than others. Nearly 100 million of 2005’s Menai Bridge design were produced….

£1 inside

…while just over 2.5 million of 2010’s ‘London’ coin made it out into the world.

Finally, the £2 album encourages people to hunt down all the different £2 designs that have been released up to and including the hugely popular 2013 London Underground coins, one of which (the logo design) was designed by the same people who created the iconic torch for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

£2 front

Each album also includes space for a special completer medallion for each collection, with more details to come on those very soon. We hope they will prove very popular, and that they might prompt a greater appreciation of and interest in the coins we use every day.

Do you have a favourite coin out there in circulation today?

We’ll share some more of the research results with you next week, but in the meantime, here are the answers to the questions we posted above.

Q. How many different £2 coin designs there are in circulation? A. 23

Q. How many sides does a 50p coin have? A. 7

Q. How many portraits of Queen Elizabeth II can currently be seen on the coins in everyday use. A. 3

Happy hunting!

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