[Humdrum but Scarce - image by Mik]
Life is full of strange things.
Two years ago we were all clamouring after the Isaac Newton fifty pence. And the year before that it was all about finding your very own Jemima Puddleduck. As things turned out, the general consensus was correct; these were both rare coins. Yet what no-one saw coming was an even rarer release. A far scarcer coin none of us took even the slightest bit of notice of. Yup, that’s right, I am talking about the 2017 Royal Shield Section fifty pence. And we’d let loads of them pass right through our hands.
Ironic. Because whilst we were all hell-bent on searching for those rare commemoratives, a definitive coin actually had a far lower mintage –
Jemima Puddleduck – 2,100,000
Isaac Newton – 1,801,500
2017 Royal Shield Section – 1,800,000
Even now, Jemima demands the most attention with far more people looking for her rather than poor old Isaac Newton…. Yet she is actually the least rare of these coins. It’s a strange old thing, the Riddle of the Duck. And when you look at the price tags on each of the three it gets a whole lot stranger still. The Puddleduck fifty pence will sell for double figures…. whilst the other two (rarer) coins will only go for around a third of the price. Uh????
The last time a definitive fifty pence became so sought was back in 2008. At that time Britannia was the standard issue and a mintage of 3,500,000 was deemed as being ‘low’. So when we had a coin issued two years ago which was almost half of this, that is pretty big news.
So now the question everyone will have is…… how much is the 2017 Shield destined to be worth? After all, this low mintage news only came to light relatively recently. Will it’s value increase over time like the Britannia 2008 coin?
I don’t have a crystal ball. However, I do have a fair bit of experience with fifty pences. Personally I would say the chances are that it will go up in value simply because of its scarcity. But by how much is another question. Britannia 2008 doesn’t sell for masses of dosh. And there is something very important to remember in all of this. Both of these coins are definitive and not every collector will bother to save them for his/her collection. In fact, most people seem to go only for commemoratives. And this will be a very large and deciding factor in how much this fifty pence will be worth in the years ahead.
The bottom line is this - if the 2017 Royal Shield Section were a one-off design like Newton or Puddleduck it would be a whole different matter altogether. Because commemoratives are the ones that attract the crowds.
Ask The Royal Mint, they’ll tell you that.
© Article and images (except where stated) copyright Mik Smith 2019