Old coins can often be worth more than their face value but sometimes coins that are only a few years old can be valuable, too. For example, the ten pence coins in the UK alphabet series were only minted in 2018 and 2019 but are sought after by collectors. So if you have one of these alphabet coins, what could it be worth?
In this article, you will find a list of the alphabet coins and details of the most valuable specimens in the series. You will also find historical and design information on the British 10p coin so continue reading to find out what the small change in your pocket could be worth.
The ten pence coin was introduced in 1968 as part of the change to a decimal system. It replaced the florin, which was worth two shillings. The original ten pence coins were slightly larger than the current coins, with the design having been changed for a smaller one in 1992.
Like all coins and notes in Great Britain, the ten pence coins also feature a portrait of the reigning monarch on the obverse. There have only been two monarchs featured on the 10p coins so far: Queen Elizabeth II and after her death, King Charles III. During Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, four different portraits of her were used on the coins.
The first portrait of the Queen was by Arnold Machin. It was replaced in 1985 by a portrait by Raphael Maklouf, which was in use until 1997. Between 1998 and 2015, the obverse portrait was by Ian Rank-Broadley, and from 2015 until the Queen’s death, by Jody Clark. The portrait of King Charles III is by Martin Jennings.
The metal composition of the ten pence coins when they were first introduced in 1968 was cupro-nickel but the composition changed in 2012. Since January 2013, the Royal Mint has been using nickel-plated steel for minting ten pence coins.
Since 1992, the 10p coin has weighed 6.5 grams, has a diameter of 24.5 mm, and is 2.05 mm thick. The 10p coins minted between 1968 and 1991 weigh 11.31 g, have a diameter of 28.5 mm, and are 1.85 mm thick.
Unlike the obverse, which always features the reigning king or queen, there have been several designs used on the obverse. The original design was used until 2008 and featured a crowned lion designed by Christopher Ironside.
In 2008, the design was changed to feature a part of the Royal Shield. It was designed by Matthew Dent who won a competition by the Royal Mint to redesign the reverse on all coins except the £2 coin. Dent’s idea was to have a section of the shield on each denomination up to £1 so that together they form a whole shield.
In 2018 and 2019, the Royal Mint produced ten pence coins with 26 different designs, one for each letter of the alphabet. They featured images of things that are quintessentially British. In 2018, 220,000 coins were minted in each design. The themes of the coins with the minting volumes for 2019 are below.
- A – Angel of the North (84,000)
- B – Bond… James Bond (84,000)
- C – Cricket (84,000)
- D – Double-Decker Bus (84,000)
- E – English Breakfast (84,000)
- F – Fish and Chips (84,000)
- G – Greenwich Mean Time (84,000)
- H – Houses of Parliament (84,000)
- I – Ice Cream Cone (84,000)
- J – Jubilee (84,000)
- K – King Arthur (84,000)
- L – Loch Ness Monster (84,000)
- M – Mackintosh (84,000)
- N – National Health Service (84,000)
- O – Oak Tree (84,000)
- P – Postbox (84,000)
- Q – Queuing (83,000)
- R – Robin (64,000)
- S – Stonehenge (84,000)
- T – Tea (84,000)
- U – Union Flag (84,000)
- V – Villages (84,000)
- W – World Wide Web (63,000)
- X – X Marks The Spot (84,000)
- Y – Yeoman Warder (63,000)
- Z – Zebra Crossing (63,000)
The alphabet collection is popular with collectors and many of them want to own the whole set, which has increased the price of some of these coins.
Not all the alphabet coins are worth the same. How much collectors are willing to pay for a coin depends on several factors, including its condition and rarity. It also depends on how much a collector wants it. For example, if it were the only coin a collector was missing from their alphabet collection, they may be prepared to pay more.
Below are the most valuable alphabet coins at the time of writing. Because coin values can change based on availability and demand, you should always do your research before buying or selling. Websites such as the Coin Value Checker can provide useful information on prices and coin grading.
The Jubilee 10p coin features an image of a Royal carriage with the letter J underneath it. You can find these coins for sale at around $5.30 for uncirculated coins. The auction records are $22 for the 2018 and $57.57 for the 2019 Jubilee 10p coin.
These 10p coins in the alphabet collection feature a red robin inside the letter R, with snowflakes in the background. Mint state Robin 10p coins start from around $6.30. The 2018 Robin has an auction record of $26.01. The record for 2019 Robin is lower at $19.38.
One thing people associated with the Brits is tea so it is natural that the letter T stands for tea, the favorite drink of the nation. The design features a steaming teapot next to a large letter T. Mint state coins start from about $5.30 and the auction record for a 2018 Tea 10p coin is $13.58. There are no auction records for the 2019 coin.
The World Wide Web was invented by the Brit Tim Berners-Lee. The W 10p coin features a spiderweb design on the reverse with a large W in the middle of the web. Prices for uncirculated coins range from around $4 to the auction record of $34.
The Yeoman Warders are certainly quintessentially British. They are ceremonial guardians who protect the British Crown Jewels at the Tower of London. Coins meant for circulation in mint condition start at around $4.70. The auction record for a 2018 Yeoman Warder coin is $30.98 and for a 2019 coin, the record is $129.39.
The last coin in the set celebrates the black and white pedestrian crossing first introduced in 1949. You can buy these coins for just over $1 in extra fine, circulated condition. Mint condition coins are worth more and the auction record is $133.88.
Coins are valued on a scale that runs from one to seventy. It also uses letters together with the numeric grade. For example, coins that have been in circulation and show so much wear and tear that they are barely identifiable are graded as PO1 for poor condition. Grade G4 is for good, and VF20 is for very fine condition coins.
The last grade for circulated coins is AU58 for about uncirculated. These coins show only full details and only slight wear and tear, meaning they are almost in as good condition as uncirculated coins.
MS60 is the first grade of mint state, uncirculated coins. These are coins that were meant for circulation but for some reason were not circulated. For example, if they were kept by a collector. The highest grade, MS70, is only given for coins that are perfectly struck and in perfect condition.
Proof coins are graded differently from circulated coins since they were struck for collectors and not for circulation. They also use a numeric scale and you can identify proof coins from the letters PR in front of the number.
You can find 10p coins from the alphabet series for sale online, for example, on eBay. Before you buy or sell, check what price similar coins have sold for recently to ensure you receive or pay the right price.
Having a coin graded professionally can be expensive. Considering the record auction prices achieved by ten pence coins from the alphabet series, you are likely to lose money if you use a professional grader. Instead, do your research by checking the latest prices for your type of coin.
The 10p coins released in 2018 and 2019, featuring the letters of the alphabet are highly popular among collectors. Their value depends on their condition and scarcity and how much the collectors want them to complete their alphabet collection.
It is also worth remembering that while they may not be highly valuable now, their value could increase in the future. So it may be worth hanging on to a mint state 10p alphabet coin if you come across one.