50 years of the 50p – invest it or collect it?

In 1969 the 50p coin replaced the 10 bob note, as part of the decimalisation of the UK currency.

While the design on the reverse was the very traditional symbol of Britannia, which has appeared on our coinage since 1672, the shape of the new coin was very innovative: it was the first seven-sided coin in the world.

50 years on and the coin is still going strong. It has had more than 60 different designs, with nearly half coming very recently, celebrating the London Olympics in 2012.

Collect or invest?

To mark the anniversary, the Royal Mint issued a number of limited edition commemorative collections. Some sold out in a matter of minutes, only to reappear on eBay hours later with hugely inflated price tags: a five-coin silver proof collection (with a face value of £2.50) had risen from its retail price of £225 to £895 (plus postage). Not bad for a day's work.

Whether these coins go on to hold their value is anyone's guess. So how else could you benefit from the 50p coin? Investing, of course!

While the Royal Mint itself is wholly-owned by HM Treasury, another way to invest in the fortunes of our notes and coins is via supply-chain companies.

One such example is De la Rue, which works with governments, central banks and commercial organisations around the globe in three core areas: Cash Supply Chain (producing banknotes); Citizen Identity (passports and identity management); and Product Authentication (protecting brands and fighting counterfeiting).

The top institutional shareholders, according to De La Rue's website, are Schroders, Neptune, Artemis and Royal London.

Pocket money reaps rewards

Never ones to put all the family silver into a single stock ourselves, we much prefer the tried and tested route of simple regular savings, leaving the stock selection to the experts.

And you don't have to invest a lot to reap the rewards: had you invested 50p of your pocket money each year for the past 50 years, your £25 outlay could today be worth £217.49*. This assumes 5% net growth per annum.

Using the same assumption, had you gone one further and invested 50p per month over the five decades, investing £300 in total, you could be sitting on a pot of money worth £1,334.33*.

With the average weekly pocket money for children said to be £5.75** today,  just imagine what your children or grandchildren could be accumulating in their Junior ISA...

*Source: Thisismoney.co.uk: savings calculator
**Source: onaverage.co.uk

Past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns. You may not get back the amount originally invested, and tax rules can change over time. Darius's views are his own and do not constitute financial advice. The calculations used are hypothetical and for illustration only.
Published on 22/01/2019