Grab them while you can: Collectors snapping up Olympic 50p coins

With two weeks still to go until the Olympics begin; the commemorative 50p coins issued to celebrate the Games are already rarer than a British handball victory.

Revealed 21 months ago and hitting the headlines at the start of the year for trying to explain offside, it’s now almost impossible to get your hands on a commemorative Olympics 50p piece.

Figures from the Royal mint show the 29 special edition coins – each featuring a different Olympic or Paralympic event and designed by members of the public – are being snapped up at a rate faster than anything since decimalisation.

Generally, somewhere between 2% and 3% of new 50p coins go missing – either snaffled by collectors or simply lost. But in the case of the Olympic 50p pieces a staggering 70% - or close to 30 million coins – have already been removed from circulation.

The last time anything like this happened was in 2006 when almost half of the special edition Victoria Cross 50p pieces were grabbed by collectors – these coins are now selling for a few pounds each.

What a complete set of the new Olympic 50ps will be worth in a few years time is anyone’s guess.

“The more interesting the design and the smaller the number of coins issued, the higher the percentage likely to be removed from circulation,” The Royal Mint said in a statement.

But whether you’re trying to collect the full set, hoping to cash in on their rarity or simply wanting to grab a free souvenir of the Olympics, there’s still a bit of time to get your hands on the new 50ps – the last minting will enter circulation this autumn.