[Where are all of those alphabet 10p's????? - image by Mik]
In 2018, The Royal Mint knocked us all sideways by announcing that twenty-six different alphabet ten pences were to be released. Pretty designs had previously been reserved for the likes of fifty pence pieces, two pound coins and round pounds (before they became extinct) so this was pretty exciting stuff.
Unfortunately, because the mintage of these coins was so low (2.6 million), people were soon complaining that they simply couldn’t find any in their change. Even a second wave (another 2.6 million) being put into circulation later in 2018 appeared to make little difference and some folk became convinced that either the announced mintages were incorrect or these coins were still sitting on the shelf of a cash centre. Yup, even here in the world of coins we still have our conspiracy theorists :)
However, the truth is that these really are very low mintage coins and the 2019 versions (2.1 million) which followed are even lower. So the chance of finding any alphabet ten pence is slim and the chance of finding all twenty-six different designs is far slimmer. No conspiracies, no ghosts, no extra-terrestrial intervention; just plain and simple fact.
In total, we currently have 7.3 million Alphabet Ten Pences floating around in general circulation. This certainly doesn’t sound like they will be difficult to find…. until you look at bog standard mintage figures for 10p’s over the last few years –
2017 – 33,300,000
2016 – 135,380,000
2015 – 91,900,000
Having these numerical facts on board makes it far easier to understand why these A-Z tens are so very hard to come by. So powerful is this knowledge it dissolves any myth, urban legend or rumour on contact. There really is no great mystery as to why we are all struggling to find these lovely ten pences. And the more we look into it all, the clearer it becomes.
At the moment it is unclear exactly how many of each letter were actually minted. If there are equal amounts of them all, it would mean there are only 280,000 of each design. And that is low. If you then go on to remind yourself that the Kew Gardens fifty pence had a mintage of 210,000 it kind of puts things into perspective. It also makes you wonder just how much value these coins will have over the years to come. They are already changing hands for thirty or even eighty times their face value.
Of course, if these Alphabet letters weren’t minted in equal amounts then we could have a situation on our hands which is very similar to that of the 2011 Olympic fifty pences…. And as we know, with those twenty-nine coins, some are far rarer than others. Which means it is quite possible for one or more of these ten pence designs to become comparable to the likes of Offside or Triathlon. As for which it will be, well that is anyone’s guess.
'I’ll have a ‘P’ please, Bob.'
© Article and images (except where stated) copyright Mik Smith 2019