Quirky Facts About Coins

[image my Mik}
[image by Mik]
  Just as a lot of folk don’t realise that the Queen’s head is actually the front of a coin, there is far more currency-related trivia to discover.  Test your numismatic knowledge by reading through this article and seeing just how many of these fun and funky facts you are aware of….
Battle of Britain
  This is the only commemorative design to have been issued in four different formats.  We have – a fourth portrait uncirculated issue (sets only), a precious metal proof issue, a 2015 fifth portrait circulated issue and now a 2019 fifth portrait uncirculated issue.  Is also worth mentioning that the first two on this list have no denomination….  A very strange business all in all.
Aquatics Olympic
  This is the only coin ever to have been released, withdrawn and then re-released with an amended design.  On the original Aquatics, The Royal Mint decided that the swimmers face was too unclear with the water going across it.  Enter – panic stations and a quick coin withdrawal!  Unfortunately before you could say ‘belly-flop’ an undisclosed number of these had already made it out into the country’s monetary ocean (there are rumours it was around four hundred).  Consequently these first issue coins now change hands for truly eye-watering amounts of cash.  And, inevitably, there are also a lot of fake ones out there….
Isaac Newton
  Just like Battle of Britain, Kew Gardens and several others (which have now recently appeared in sets), Isaac Newton is another coin to have had two different dates.  Newton is unique though inasmuch as it came out two years running and…… it was the first coin to be made available as a ‘Strike Your Own’.  And that, good people, is the only way you were able to acquire a 2018 version - unless you paid through the nose and bought from someone who had visited The Royal Mint Experience.
  Our National Health Service has now been featured on two entirely different coins.  To begin with it appeared on a fifty pence back in 1998.  It then put in a second appearance when it was chosen to represent the letter N in the Royal Mint’s A-Z 10p collection in 2018.  And if you wanted to be really finicky, you could say it had achieved a hat-trick because the same Alphabet design ten pences were re-released in 2019….
  This is the only commemorative large style fifty pence to have been reissued in our smaller present-day coinage.  The ships and planes design by John Mills is arguably one of the finest pictures we have had thus far on a British coin.  Personally I think it looked miles more impressive on the larger version but I guess this just comes down to taste.
Peter Rabbit
  On The Great British Coin Hunt blog page how could this go without a mention?  Yes, guys and gals, thanks to Ian Lambert and friends, 2019 Peter Rabbit is the first fifty pence to go into circulation when it was never meant to in the first place!  Previously only available in a brilliant uncirculated format, we now have four hundred of these long-eared rapscallions kicking around in the country’s loose change and undergrowth.  So keep those peelers peeled ;)
© Article and images (except where stated) copyright Mik Smith 2019



  • Warren, that is such a valid point. I actually knew about it the first 375 but hadn’t thought about it in that way.

    Mik Smith
  • Isaac Newton, when the coin was first released in 2017 only 375 of them were originally released. This was due to it being to celebrate 375th Anniversary of Isaac Newton. Later this was increased to 1.8 million, still a low number. What a shame there is no way to know if you have one of the original 375.

    warren light
  • Talking of quality, it seems the A2Z bunch only came out Circ and so not to be out-done Good Ole C/C [without his pipe and his bowl] invented the elastic-band term Early Strike. I wonder how many workmen forfeited their breakfasts???

    Roger Charlesworth
  • Thanks Mik for documenting all this. I think the only bit I did not know was that the large D-day had only been a Commemorative coin. In which case was it Brilliant or Circulation quality? I wonder how many of the re-issued stuff this year are Brill too and not just bog-standard Circ.?

    Roger Charlesworth

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