A Royal treasure but will you be coining it in with new 50p?

Platinum Jubilee for Queen Elizabeth being celebrated next month with commemorative coins – but investors should treat them with caution

The Platinum Jubilee for Queen Elizabeth is being celebrated next month with commemorative coins – but investors should treat them with caution. 

On February 6, the Queen marks 70 years as monarch following the death of her father King George VI. She was officially crowned the following year on June 2. 

Already, special coins are being promoted by Royal Mint to mark the historic occasion. Next month, a new set of 50-pence pieces will be put into circulation while Royal anniversary gold sovereigns will also be released in limited numbers. 

Tribute: The new 50p will be put into circulation next month

Though it is understandable that many people will want to buy these coins as Royal memorabilia, those keen to invest in coins for a profit should be wary. 

Adam Ball, marketing manager for coin dealer Chards, says: ‘Modern collectable coins should not be purchased just to make money but because the buyer wishes to own them as a collector. 

‘There is going to be a lot of hype around the releases and although issued in limited numbers they are unlikely to be rare enough to attract major investment interest.’ 

An initial batch of Platinum Jubilee 50p ‘uncirculated’ coins was released earlier this month by Royal Mint at £7 each. Readily available, they are intrinsically worth no more than 50p so on paper you are already £6.50 out of pocket. 

Yet over time, a pristine uncirculated example will fetch more than a coin that has been collecting knocks and getting tarnished in a pocket. 

Ball says: ‘As a guide on price you can look at limited edition coins put into circulation in the past. Some examples, such as the Kew Gardens 50p, are now highly sought after and worth far more than their nominal value.’ 

The Kew Gardens coin came out in 2009 and has a picture of a pagoda on one side. Only 210,000 coins were minted to commemorate the Royal Botanic Garden’s 250th anniversary – and they now sell for up to £200. It is unlikely the Platinum Jubilee 50p pieces will rise to more than just a few pounds as 1.3million are expected to be put into circulation. 

But the design will appeal to coin collectors because for the first time a classic head profile image of the Queen is not being used. Instead, there is a regal image of her sitting on horseback. On the ‘tail’ side of the 50p coin will be the number 70, shown in bold. 

The best way for a coin to soar in value is if mistakes are made in production. For example, several 50p coins were released for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. 

The original aquatic coin erroneously had wavy lines obscuring a swimmer’s face. Only 600 were released before the mistake was noticed, but these coins now sell for up to £800. 

Unfortunately, the trading of coins that have been doctored is rife. As a result, you should only buy coins through a member of the British Numismatic Trade Association. 

Ball says: ‘Although they might not make you rich, limited edition 50p coins are a great place to start as a collector. But once you have been bitten by the bug, you may want to buy more expensive coins.’ 

Commemoration: Royal anniversary gold sovereigns will also be released

Commemoration: Royal anniversary gold sovereigns will also be released

Separate from standard coins issued for everyday use by the Royal Mint are ‘proof’ coins – newly minted pieces on polished dies. These ‘first-struck’ coins are the cleanest and sharpest quality that collectors can find. 

A run of 5,000 Royal Mint Platinum Jubilee 50p sterling silver proofs sold out immediately earlier this month even though they cost £57.50 each. They now change hands for up to £140. 

Those with even deeper pockets might consider the 22-carat solid gold sovereign to mark the Platinum Jubilee. Limited to just 1,200 coins, the 7.98-gram piece is to be released on February 6 by Royal Mint at £675. 

Adrian Ash, director of research at gold trader BullionVault, warns that in gold value terms such coins are not the best investment. 

He says: ‘It might come in fancy packaging with a certificate of authenticity, but this jubilee coin is intrinsically worth the same as any other sovereign coin.’ 

The modern gold sovereign has a face value of £1 and currently changes hands for about £340. It means you are paying almost double for a jubilee coin intrinsically worth the same. 

One of the great appeals of all gold sovereigns is that they are deemed legal tender, making them exempt from capital gains tax. As with all investment-grade gold, there is also no VAT to pay on it. 

Ash says: ‘Do not buy a gold sovereign issued for a Royal occasion unless you want a commemorative piece. 

‘The biggest value of the coin is the gold bullion within it. So if your main reason for purchasing is the precious metal, consider alternatives such as buying a gold bar.’

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