Olympic 50p coins spark eBay gold rush

Updated: August 13, 2012

CANNY Brits have sparked their own Olympic gold rush – selling London 2012 50p coins on eBay for up to FOUR TIMES their face value.

Nearly 30 million of the commemorative coins have been in general circulation in the UK since being issued by the Royal Mint in 2010.

There are 29 different designs, one for every Olympic and Paralympic sport, with a combined face value of nearly £15million – but they could be worth up to £60million after values rocketed following the success of the Games.

The coins were selling fast yesterday on eBay over the weekend, where a 50p coin bearing the London 2012 boxing design was sold for £2, plus 70p postage, by a seller in the West Country.

Hundreds of other coins were up for sale, with a Midlands-based seller inviting bids starting at £1.59 each plus 75p postage. Another seller in the Midlands was offering collectors sets of 30 coins for £74.99, plus £4.99 postage.

Millions of the coins are STILL in general circulation in shops and banks up up and down the country.

One potential bidder quipped yesterday: “Sellers were struggling to make a profit from the coins a few weeks ago. Now they’re going nearly as fast as Usian Bolt!”

As recently as last month, most of the coins were only fetching a fraction above face value on eBay, but all that has changed now following Britain’s huge medal haul.

The designs on the coins were selected from 30,000 entries from the public after the Royal Mint launched a competition to find the best.

A spokesperson for the Royal Mint said: “The Royal Mint expects and plans for 2 to 3% of new 50p coins released into circulation to be removed by collectors or simply be lost. But a recent audit suggests that of the 29,363,613 Sports 50ps issued into circulation to date, more than 70%  – or £10,277,264  – will be hoarded by people keen to collect a free souvenir of London 2012  – 67% above the usual level of removal.”

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