Rare Royal Mint 50p Olympic Swimming Coin Of London 2012 Already Worth Upwards Of £750

The Olympic coins worth 50p at face value but much more as collectors items down the years - the water flow over the swimmer's face and then removed making one coin particularly valuable - Photo Courtesy: The Royal Mint (logos, London 2012 and Tokyo 2020 organisers)

There’s a rare Olympic swimming coin out there with a face value of 50p but already worth £750 or more after just eight years in circulation

Olympic year arrives with a commemorative mint far and wide. Britain has a long history of such things and 2020 will continue that tradition with a new series of Tokyo 2020 pieces from The Royal Mint.

Several new coin designs will appear throughout 2020, the most notable one commemorating Team GB. Collectors will need £55 for a set of five uncirculated coins.

The sets will be available in brilliant uncirculated, silver and gold proof versions, with prices for the higher-worth collections yet to be disclosed.

Now’s the time to check your pockets, pots of coins, drawers and secret places to see if a valuable in-circulation coin from a previous Olympics found its way to you.

An unknown number (not many) of special swimming 50p coins from London 2012 (regeneration, legacy and the price) are out there somewhere.

The aquatics 50p from London 2012 featured a swimmer in cap and goggles. It was minted some 2.18 million times and on the whole, as one of the most common Olympic coins, is not particularly rare nor valuable.

However, the coin’s original design featured the same image but with a flow of water lines running across the swimmer’s face and head. It was not a minting error: a decision was taken to remove the water around the submerged face and head to make those features clearer before the collection of 29 coins across all sports at London 2012 was minted en-masse. Most coins in circulation feature that second swimming design.

If you get your hands on one of the early rare versions, you have a coin with an estimated value of more than £750. One such coin sold for £590 last year after a 10-day auction with 47 bids, according to This is Money.

The numbers and nuances collectors watch for

Collectors and fortune hunters watch for the numbers and nuances in such collections.

Back in 2012 for the London Games, The Royal Mint did not create the same number of coins for each design.

Change Checker has reported that an estimated three quarters of all the minted coins of London 2012 have been removed from circulation due to their popularity.


Cap, goggles and a love affair with water … Federica Pellegrini – Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

For those who kept one, here’s a general chart of number of coins minted per sport design in the collection and its estimated value now, courtesy of ‘Spend It? Save It?’

  • Aquatics 2,179,000 £4
  • Archery 3,345,000 £2
  • Athletics 2,224,000 £2
  • Badminton 2,133,000 £2
  • Basketball 1,748,000 £2
  • Boccia 2,166,000 £2
  • Boxing 2,148,000 £2
  • Canoeing 2,166,000 £2
  • Cycling 2,090,000 £2
  • Equestrian 2,142,000 £2
  • Fencing 2,115,000 £2
  • Football 1,125,000 £10
  • Goalball 1,615,000 £8
  • Gymnastics 1,720,000 £2
  • Handball 1,676,000 £8
  • Hockey 1,773,000 £2
  • Judo 1,161,000 £10
  • Modern Pentathlon 1,689,000 £2
  • Rowing 1,717,000 £2
  • Sailing 1,749,000 £2
  • Shooting 1,656,000 £2
  • Table Tennis 1,737,000 £2
  • Taekwondo 1,664,000 £2
  • Tennis 1,454,000 £8
  • Triathlon 1,163,000 £10
  • Volleyball 2,133,000 £2
  • Weightlifting 1,879,000 £2
  • Wheelchair Rugby 1,765,000 £2
  • Wrestling 1,129,000 £10

The rarest of all the 29 designs, and the second scarcest 50p coin in circulation after the Kew Gardens 50p – minted just 210,000 times – is the football 50p. Its design features an explanation of the offside rule. Collectors on five occasions paid almost £22 for the coin, 44 times its face value of 50p.

The most valuable of all the coins, however, is the one not listed above: the London 2012 Swimming coin with water flowing over face, cap and goggles.

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