The History of the Rare Olympic Swimming 50p Coin

Have you ever heard of the rare Olympic Swimming 50p Coin?

Follow us as we explain its history and why it is such a coveted collectible UK coin today.

Rare Olympic Swimming 50p Coin

Rare Olympic Swimming 50p Coin

The Olympic 50p Coins

The 50p coin is a denomination of British currency. The Royal Mint produced limited edition 50p coins to commemorate certain events or anniversaries, such as the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The 2012 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXX Olympiad and commonly known as London 2012, was a major international multi-sport event celebrated in the tradition of the Olympic Games. It is due to this reason the coin was minted to commemorate the event.

The Royal Mint released a set of 29 coins, one for each of the sports that were contested at the 2012 Olympics, including swimming. Each coin featured an image or symbol representing the sport, along with the Olympic logo and the inscription “London 2012.” The swimming 50p coin features a swimmer breaking the water surface. The coin was issued in a circulated form, and was withdrawn from circulation after the end of the games, making them scarce and hard to find in the circulation.

The circulated Olympic 50p coin can be relatively hard to find in circulation due to the fact they were minted in relatively low numbers and were only in circulation for a limited period of time. They have become highly desirable to coin collectors and Olympic memorabilia enthusiasts, and their value has increased as a result.

What is the rare version of this coin?

It is known that the first release of the swimming 50p coin, minted by Royal Mint, had a design issue with lines appearing on the swimmer’s face on the coin.

The coins were withdrawn from circulation and later re-released with an updated design, where the lines were removed. The first release of the coin with lines on the face of the swimmer is considered to be a rare and sought-after coin by collectors. Due to the low mintage of only 600 coins and the fact they were quickly withdrawn from circulation, they are considered more valuable than later releases.

It is important to note that, coin collecting is a hobby of interest and appreciation, the actual value of any coin depends on the coin, its rarity, age and condition. Coins with the design change are considered unique and could be of high value to collector, but it’s hard to give you a specific price without evaluating the coin. There are many fakes in circulation so take your time to check it over if you are offered one.

What’s it worth in 2023?

The Olympic Swimming coin (Aquatics 50p) has no recorded sales yet this year however there is one for sale on eBay for an eye-watering £4,000 value.

Is this value realistic? this is such a rare coin that its value is what-ever a UK coin collector is willing to pay for it on the rare occasions that one comes up for sale.

The second edition of the coin is worth face value if circulated, a little more in it’s carded coin pack.


Olympic Swimming 50p

Olympic Swimming 50p

View on eBay

In 2022, an Aquatics 50p eBay listing on 26th January 2022 shows 4 bids from 3 bidders with a current bid price of over £28,000. It’s impossible to know if this is a real coin and real sale.

Aquatics 50p lines across face

Aquatics 50p lines across the face

In 2021, the rare version of the Aquatics 50p was selling for around £1,000, however, one appears to have been sold for £2,108.50 on in September 2021. 20 bids is a good sign that his was a real sale.

Aquatics 50p value

The second design of the coin is not rare and can be seen at auction with starting bids from £1 for a circulated coin.

Make sure you understand the difference in these coins before considering coins in sales listings as “rare”. There are also many fakes being offered for sale online so buyer beware!

What is the 2011 Aquatics 50p coin with lines across the face?

The Aquatics 50p coin was first released for the London 2012 Olympics with an image of an Olympic swimmer with water covering the face.


Aquatics 50p with lines across the face

Is the Olympic swimming Aquatics 50p rare?

The Aquatics 50p has a low mintage with 2,179,000 coins released to circulation.

It is estimated that only 600 coin packs with the withdrawn first edition of the swimmer coin were released to circulation making this a very rare coin that is highly sought-after by UK coin collectors.

Is this a misprinted 50p?

No, this is not an error in the minting process. It is a late modification to the design where the lines across the face were removed so that the face of the swimmer is visible.

Only 600 of these Olympic 50p swimmer coins were issued with the other 28 Olympic Coins and sold across the UK in shops in their coin packs.

This makes this coin the rarest 50 pence to be released. check our 50p Coin Values for pricing.

Is the Aquatics 50p an error coin?

This is not an error coin, it’s a late change in the design.

withdrawn aquatics 50p

withdrawn aquatics 50p

Aquatics 50p rare coin

Aquatics 50p rare coin

Aquatics 50p rare coin

It is commonly referred to as an error coin however in our opinion it’s not a minting error as the design was withdrawn and changed to a new design. You could say they made an error in releasing it and then changing their minds over the final coin design so late in the process.

The Royal Mint decided to change the design so you could see the swimmer’s face. We suspect that most of the first design coins were withdrawn and destroyed from the shops.

How to spot the rare Olympic swimming coin?

Swimming 50p coins

Swimming 50p coins

A reminder of the rare swimmer coin vs the common one, left is the rare one where the swimmers face is covered in flowing water

Right is the common one where the swimmer’s face is visible.

See our 50p coin values page for a list of all 50p coins (with images), their mintage, and approximate value. See other rare coins.

Aquatics 50p coin image

This is the second edition design, without the lines across the face.

Aquatics 50p

Aquatics 50p

Beware Of Fake Coins!

Beware! due to the high value of this coin, we have seen many fake coins listed for sale.

Check the listing details for the word “COPY” or “IRB COPY”.