Why were so few 2009 Kew Garden 50ps produced?

In 2009 only 210,000 Kew Garden 50ps were minted and I’ve always wondered why so few.

This commemorative coin was created to celebrate the 250th anniversary of London’s Kew Gardens and has become one of the most sought after coins in the UK.

I have a theory or two on why so few Kew Garden 50ps were minted that I’d like to share with you.

Firstly, as background, did you know that in 2008, the year before the Kew Gardens 50p was minted, the Royal Mint accidentally produced about 250,000 undated 20p mules coins? Why is this relevant to the kew Gardens 50p I hear you ask? Let me explain why I think it is.

Rumour has it that the reason that the Royal Mint produced these undated 20p coins was that there was a process error by one of the shifts producing coins whereby they failed to check that the correct obverse and reverse dies were in place to mint the coins. This little slip meant that, at the time where the images on the 20p were being changed to the new shield type one old and one new die was used. Again I hear you ask… so what, how does that help explain why so few Kew Gardens 50p pieces? Well, the answer is that the error was spotted after one full shift and then made good and by this time 250,000 coins had been produced. So what we can tell from this is that approximately 250,000 coins are produced in one shift at the Royal Mint.

So it is not inconceivable that, if 250,000 20p pieces can be produced in one shift then 210,000 is a good guide for how many 50ps can be minted in one shift.

Consequently it is my belief that there was one, and only one, shift at the Royal Mint run to produce the Kew Gardens 50p in 2009.

The second part of the story is why was there only one shift in the whole year for this coin. For that I’ll write a second blog entry to let you know.

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