The Sherlock Holmes 50p

For those of you in a hurry, you can check out our coin profile for the Sherlock Holmes 50p coin here.

As one of the most iconic literary characters in British history, it’s only fair that Sherlock Holmes is commemorated in a suitably British way. 2019 not only marked 160 years since the birth of author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle but also saw the character given pride of place on a 50p coin. Avid coin collectors have already taken the majority of them out of circulation, but if you’re lucky enough to find one just how much is it worth? Keep reading for everything you need to know about the Sherlock Holmes 50p coin.

Why was the Sherlock Holmes 50p coin made?

It is undeniable that Sherlock Holmes is amongst the most famous detectives to have ever been created. First written by esteemed author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1892, Holmes has gone on be represented by some of Hollywood’s biggest names in TV and film adaptations. Over 100 years of solving mysteries has made the beloved detective a household name not only in the UK, but in many countries around the world.

When it came to commemorating the 160th birthday of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, nothing could have been more fitting than to make his iconic character a part of British coin history. Conan Doyle’s legacy paved the way for crime fiction as we know it and has continued to inspire countless authors to this day. As a man not only dedicated to writing but also medicine, this coin is a celebration of one of the most influential British authors in history.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes.

What is the design?

The reverse design of the Sherlock Holmes 50p coin features a silhouette of Holmes wearing his infamous deerstalker at the centre. The silhouette can also be seen with a pipe in his mouth – one of Holmes’ many quirks that were frequently mentioned within Conan Doyle’s novels. Surrounding the silhouette are some of Conan Doyle’s most famous titles featuring Sherlock Holmes. From ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ to ‘A Study in Scarlet’, Sherlock enthusiasts are bound to recognise their favourite stories.

Sherlock Holmes 50p Coin
The Sherlock Holmes 50p coin.

The design was created by artist Stephen Raw who also designed the 2018 Armistice UK £2 coin. The obverse features the fifth portrait of Her Majesty the Queen as designed by Jody Clark.

What is the mintage of the Sherlock Holmes 50p coin?

Part of what determines the rarity of a new coin is the mintage figure, aka the number of coins created to go into circulation. The lower the mintage, the rarer the coin and the more expensive the resell value. The mintage figure is usually published by the Royal Mint but no official number has been released for the Sherlock Holmes 50p coin as of July 2020.

Different sources estimate the mintage to be around 2,000,000 but unfortunately, the true figure may remain a mystery for some time. Ironically, this is very fitting for a Sherlock Holmes coin.

It is worth keeping an eye out for the release of the official mintage figures for this coin as if the number is lower than expected there could be a large spike in price. A similar situation happened with the infamous Kew Gardens 50p coin which was officially minted in 2009. The coin was relatively overlooked until its mintage figures were released it 2014 and collectors realised just how scarce it was. The coin is now known as ‘the most expensive 50p’ and can fetch up to £160 on eBay.

You can read more about the Kew Gardens 50p coin here.

How much is the Sherlock Holmes 50p coin worth?

The unknown mintage of the Sherlock Holmes 50p has resulted in fluctuating prices since its release. A circulated version of the coin in very good condition (minimal scratches and surface defects) currently fetches up to £3 on eBay. There are some recent listings of the coin fetching as much as £5 so it’s worth keeping your eye on the market if you’re planning to sell. These coins sell regularly, and the demand is out there. If you’re lucky enough to find one in your change you could be able to strike a good deal!

Brilliant uncirculated versions of the coin are still available for purchase directly from the Royal Mint for £10 as of July 2020. They usually fetch up to £9 when sold on eBay due to still being available to buy direct. Despite this, they make excellent gifts for both coin collectors and lovers of Sherlock Holmes. It is unknown how long they will be available for.

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Interested in buying a coin? Browse the Royal Mint's inventory today.

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If you got your hands on one of the limited-edition silver or gold proof versions of the coin, you might be able to make a profit. These coins are no longer available to buy directly from the Royal Mint and recent listings on eBay show the demand is increasing. The Silver Proof Sherlock Holmes 50p sells for £50-70 and the Gold Proof version has listings of up to £1000.

If you’re looking to buy, new listings come up regularly for all versions of the Sherlock Holmes 50p on eBay and other coin reselling sites.

Final Thoughts

The Sherlock Holmes 50p coin commemorates both an icon in British literature and one of the most beloved detectives in history. If you’re lucky enough to find one in circulation, it’s worth holding on to for when the official mintage figures are released.

If you have any questions about the Sherlock Holmes 50p coin, don’t hesitate to contact us here.