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£2 coin scarcity index

A £2 coin scarcity index is a rough guide that compares the relative availability of coins. It is not easy to index the rarity of one £2 coin compared to another; calculations of scarcity must consider subjective and indefinite factors.

Finding accurate information regarding the availability of coins can be difficult. Mintage figures are often released years after minting has finished. The scarcity index for £2 coins is further complicated by the range of these coins – besides common currency £2 coins in circulation there are also bullion and numismatic coins. These include Double Sovereigns and the silver Britannia coins, which are also denominated at £2.

The gold version of the 2012 Olympic Handover £2 coin, one of the highest coins on the scarcity index.

A 2012 Olympic Handover £2 Proof Gold Coin – one of the highest ranked coins on the £2 scarcity index.

Some scarce circulating £2 coins can be worth far more than £2, and a bullion £2 coin will always be worth far more. Their precious metal content alone makes them attractive to investors as a safe haven asset in a diverse portfolio.

Mintage figures

The original mintage figure for £2 coins - once released - is one hard fact that can be relied upon. However, as noted above, it may take some time for the Royal Mint to confirm these numbers.

Ahead of the mintage figures, the Mint may publish 'issue limits'. This is the expected maximum mintage, and may help to calculate a scarcity index until the final mintage is confirmed.

The 2002 Commonwealth Games £2 coin had four variations for the four countries of Great Britain. The coin struck specifically for Northern Ireland is the scarcest £2 on the index, simply because of its very low mintage of 485,500 coins. The other Commonwealth Games coins are not so scarce, but are higher on the index than other £2 coins that had much higher mintage numbers.

Coin wastage

Wastage occurs over time to all coins as they are lost and/or destroyed. Central banks withdraw and melt coins down, as happened during the United Kingdom’s switch to decimal currency. Although technically illegal, coins are sometimes melted down for their metal content - especially when they are made of precious metals. Many coins are simply lost, however.

The older the coin (and particularly the longer the time in circulation), the greater this wastage will be, thus reducing the number of available coins. Even if two coins had the exact same mintage numbers, if one was struck in 2016 and one struck in 2006, the latter would be scarcer today.

Collectability effects scarcity, as collectors often hoard desirable specimens. This can be because a coin is very attractive, or that it has some special historic and numismatic significance. Certain anniversaries, such as royal weddings for example, attract a much higher demand amongst collectors. Collectibility is self-perpetuating; as more and more collectors search for the same coin, it becomes scarcer as a result.

£2 scarcity index

Comparing coins using a scarcity index system should give a good indication of how easy it is to buy different coins. Price will almost always be linked to scarcity, but a coin’s eventual worth will also depend upon its condition, not the ease of finding. Perfect, mint condition, and proof coins will always command much higher prices, whatever their scarcity.

Making the calculation
To get a rough scarcity index of how coins compare, subtract your estimate of the wastage and collectability from the mintage or mint limit. With current circulation coins this is more straightforward than for bullion and numismatic collectible coins. The lower the number is, the scarcer and potentially valuable it could be.

Scarcity index calculation diagram.

An approximate scarcity index can be arrived at by subtracting an estimated wastage and collectability factor from the number of coins minted.

At BullionByPost our website contains information that can help you index a coin's scarcity. We have details about numismatic and bullion coins, past and present, plus our bullion index has information to further help investors and coin collectors. For collectors of sovereigns, including the £2 double sovereign; our sovereign mintages page has a full list of how many of each years sovereigns were struck, helping you calculate if it is a scarce example.

Realistically, a scarcity index can only ever be a guide based on estimations. No one can be sure how many examples of a coin have survived, and value can be derived from personal opinion as much as genuine scarcity.