About Beatrix Potter

If you grew up hearing stories about the adventures of Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, or Tom Kitten, you’ve been in the world of Beatrix Potter, British author, illustrator, scientist, and conservationist. Probably best known for her children’s story, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Helen Beatrix Potter grew up enchanted by the natural world around her. Encouraged by her parents, Beatrix and her younger brother Walter Bertram were always drawing and painting the animals and plants they had at their summer holidays in Scotland. Two of these animal models were her pet rabbits, Benjamin Bouncer and Peter Piper. Her father, an artist himself, sent a teenage Beatrix to museums and art galleries around London to improve her craft. And even though Beatrix never formally had schooling, she was educated by her governesses, proving to be an intelligence and adept student.

Sepia photo of Beatrix Potter with Kew her dog

Beatrix Potter with her dog, Kep. 

Beatrix directed her intelligence and artistic talents into her passion for mycology, the study of fungi. Her love for the field grew even further after meeting Charles McIntosh, the naturalist who helped her hone her skills and taught her more about their taxonomy. From there she started working with the botanists at Kew Gardens, sharing her theory of fungi reproduction and eventually working on a scientific paper based on it called ‘On the Germination of the Spores of Agaricineae.’ Her scientific illustrations of fungi are still being used today by mycologists

In 1905 she bought Hill Top Farm in the English Lake District. Beatrix moved there to learn about fell farming and raising livestock, falling in love with the land. On the suggestion of her soon-to-be husband, solicitor William Heelis, she ended up buying the contiguous 20 acres around the farm. As she settled into country life, she amassed more land in the Lake District, meant for farming, preservation of the local Herdwick sheep, and conservation of the farms in the area. When Beatrix died of pneumonia and heart disease in 1943, she gifted almost all her property to the National Trust, which included over 4,000 acres of land in the Lake District, the largest donation ever made at that time. It is now a part of Lake District National Park.

Beatrix’s children’s stories were formed from the suggestion of one her governesses, Annie Moore. For years Beatrix would send Annie’s children letters that had the stories of Peter Rabbit and others, each message illustrated with little sketches of her characters. In 1900 Beatrix tried to sell her story about four little rabbits, but no one was interested so she published it herself at her own expense. Frederick Warne & Co, a London publishing house that previously turned down the “bunny book”, saw it was becoming popular and reconsidered their stance, offering to publish it. In 1902 on 2 October, The Tale of Peter Rabbit was published and from there new stories were released for a total of 23 books. Now, over two million Beatrix Potter books have been sold worldwide.

About the Beatrix Potter Coins

In 2016, the Royal Mint released the first collection of Beatrix Potter 50p coins to celebrate what would have been Beatrix’s 150th birthday. The first coin to be released in the series was in commemoration of the author and illustrator herself. The following four coins were the first in British currency to present her beloved characters including Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, and Squirrel Nutkin.

“I have tried to make sure that Beatrix’s characters are instantly recognisable on the coins”
Emma Noble, designer of the Beatrix Potter coins

Because of the popularity of the 2016 series, the Royal Mint released two more collections in 2017 and 2018. The 2017 series had four coins, three of which honoured more of Beatrix’s characters, Mr Jeremy Fisher, Tom Kitten, and Benjamin Bunny. The fourth coin was a new Peter Rabbit design. For 2018’s four coin series, the Royal Mint celebrated Peter again in a new design, Flopsy Bunny, Mrs Tittlemouse, and one mouse from ‘The Tailor of Gloucester.’ For 2019, the Royal Mint released only one Beatrix Potter related coin, a new design featuring Peter Rabbit.

All fourteen coins were designed and engraved by Royal Mint designer Emma Noble. Here, she goes into detail about her process, “I have tried to make sure that Beatrix’s characters are instantly recognisable on the coins, with every whisker, spine or feather captured in fine detail. I have also tried to achieve a delicate balance between each character and the inscription; the famous names clear for all to see.”

Image of both sides of the 2019 Peter Rabbit 50p coin

Thomas Merrington, Penguin Ventures (part of Penguin Random House UK) Creative Director also helped work on the design of the 2019 Peter Rabbit coin. He said this about their popularity, “We have been overwhelmed by the popularity of the Beatrix Potter coins since our initial collaboration with The Royal Mint in 2016, which marked the first time that a character from children’s literature appeared on UK tender. The appeal of these coins is staggering and a testament to how beloved Beatrix Potter’s characters remain today. We’re delighted that a fourth Peter Rabbit coin will join the collection.”

If you’re curious if there will be more Beatrix Potter 50p coins, we’re in suspense as much as you. The Royal Mint’s website states, “Unfortunately, we cannot comment on any future product releases.” The best you can do is to register your interest with the Royal Mint or keep checking Chancery Collection for the latest releases. They’re typically announced around the first few months of the year with the coins gradually going into circulation during the rest of the year.

The coins also come in many versions beyond the ones in circulation. All the Beatrix Potter 50p coins have a Brilliant Uncirculated version and all the character coins have a Silver Proof colour-printed version. Only the Peter Rabbit coins and the 2016 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter coin have Gold Proof versions.

If you’re new to the world of collectible coins, here’s a quick summary of what you’ll get in each version. The Royal Mint’s Brillant Uncirculated (BU) coins are minted in a cupro-nickel (copper-nickel) alloy, but since they are not meant for circulation, the coins keep their mint luster (a fancy phrase for the shininess that happens after the minting process is completed.)

“The appeal of these coins is… a testament to how beloved Beatrix Potter’s characters remain today.” 

Thomas Merrington, co-designer of 2019 Peter Rabbit 50p

Proof coins are the highest quality coins you can get. They’re struck six times at a slow speed to ensure a smooth finish and that fine details are preserved. The Silver Proof versions are minted in 925 sterling silver, which means 92.5% of the coins is made of pure silver while the rest is a mixture of other metals like copper, zinc, or nickel. The Silver Piedfort versions are coins that are stuck on thicker 92.5% silver than standard Silver Proof coins, making them heavier. (Piedfort comes from the French pied-fort, which means heavyweight.) The Gold Proof versions are created in 22 carat Gold and usually have a very low mintage amount. These Proof coins are the epitome of craftsmanship and expertise, perfect for any serious coin collector or true Beatrix Potter fan.

Beatrix Potter 50p coins are considered legal tender, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you can use them in cash transactions. Jenny Manders of the Royal Mint explains in BT.com, “As set out by law, all UK coins made by The Royal Mint are classed as legal tender, whether commemorative or circulating. Legal tender allows UK coins to be accepted for payment of debts in court, but only circulating legal tender coins are designed to be spent and traded at businesses and banks.” If you have a BU or Silver Proof coin, there’s more value in selling them to a collector instead of trying to buy groceries with it.

Try and collect them all!

Money by Dun.can is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Regarding investments through collectible coins, it’s tricky to predict how much value a modern commemorative coin will fetch in the future. You won’t know for sure for decades, not years. The best way to go about it is to see it more as a fun hobby than a serious investment. However, if you want to make a “safe” investment with a Beatrix Potter coin, get a Silver Proof or Gold Proof coin. That way, at the very least, you’ll still have the value of the metal itself, otherwise known as its bullion value.

As of the end of March 2019, the most expensive coin sold publicly was the 2016 Peter Rabbit 50p which was sold for an amazing £5,100.00. It was a circulated coin too. Other coins that have fetched thousands of pounds on eBay have included the 2017 Peter Rabbit 50p and the complete 2016 series in the Silver Proof standard. You may think that because of that eBay price, the 2016 Peter Rabbit coin is the rarest of the Beatrix Potter coins. This isn’t actually the case. The rarest circulation coin is the 2016 Jemima Puddle-Duck and we’ll tell you why that is in the next section.

How to Find and Sell Beatrix Potter 50p Coins

So how do you get your own Beatrix Potter coins? The easiest way (if you’re living in the UK) is to keep a close eye on your change. It’s hard to say what coins are still in circulation and how many, but you can get an idea of how easy or hard it will be to find according to its mintage amount. Here’s the list of the nine Beatrix Potter coins and their released base metal mintages in order from lowest to highest. (The 2018 and 2019 coin mintages have not yet been released.)

If you’re not in the UK, or if you’re interested in the non-circulated versions of the coins, the easiest way to buy or sell them is online, typically through the Royal Mint website and yes, eBay. However, there are other reputable coin dealers like Chard and, of course, Chancery Collection. Chard takes only gold and silver coins. Chancery Collection does not yet sell on behalf of owners but this service will be coming in the future. You can also find a coin dealer or coin collector communities online and in person to buy or trade your Beatrix Potter 50p coins as well.

As you search for your Beatrix Potter coins, keep a close eye on the description and pictures. Private collectors have been known to try to sell personally coloured coins, hoping that the buyer isn’t well-versed enough to know that it isn’t an official Royal Mint product. (For Beatrix Potter coins, only the Silver Proof coins are colour-printed.) Doing a reverse-image search will let you know if the seller is using a stock photo or possibly copied someone else’s image for their own listing. If you find a duplicated photo, be wary, the seller may not be selling what’s in the picture.

If you’re unsure if the 50p you have is real or counterfeit the Royal Mint is able to confirm it and usually will give you a letter for documentation.

Beatrix Potter Coin Mintages

• 2016 Jemima Puddle-Duck – 2.1 million
• 2016 Squirrel Nutkin – 5 million
• 2016 150th Anniversary of Beatrix Potter (Portrait) – 6.9 million
• 2017 Tom Kitten – 9.5 million
• 2016 Mrs Tiggy-Winkle – 8.8 million
• 2016 Peter Rabbit – 9.7 million
• 2017 Jeremy Fisher – 9.9 million
• 2017 Peter Rabbit – 19.9 million
• 2017 Benjamin Bunny – 25 million

Note: The 2019 Peter Rabbit coin has been released only as a commemorative coin, meaning that you will not find this design in your change.

Timeline of Coin Releases

2016

  1. 150th Anniversary of Beatrix Potter
  2. Peter Rabbit
  3. Jemima Puddle-Duck
  4. Mrs Tiggy-Winkle
  5. Squirrel Nutkin

2017

  1. Peter Rabbit
  2. Tom Kitten
  3. Mr Jeremy Fisher
  4. Benjamin Bunny

2018

  1. Peter Rabbit
  2. Flopsy Bunny,
  3. Mrs Tittlemouse
  4. The Mouse from The Tailor of Gloucester

2019

  1. Peter Rabbit

Overview of Beatrix Potter Coins 2016 – 2019

2016 150th anniversary Beatrix Potter 50p coin

2016 150th Anniversary of Beatrix Potter 50p

Minted in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter’s birthday, this coin was the first to be released in the Royal Mint’s first ever Beatrix Potter 50p series. It features the silhouette of the author and her most famous creation, Peter Rabbit. The coin can be found in circulation as well as in Brilliant Uncirculated, Silver Proof, Silver Proof Piedfort, and Gold Proof versions. On eBay, the highest paid for any version of the coin was £801.00 for a Gold Proof coin in a wooden case and booklet.

2016 Peter Rabbit 50p

Peter Rabbit, arguably Beatrix Potter’s most well-known character, had his first 50p coin design presenting him from the waist up, wearing his little blue coat. Beyond circulation, you can find the 2016 Peter Rabbit 50p in Brilliant Uncirculated, Silver Proof, and Gold Proof versions. As mentioned earlier in the guide, the highest price sold on eBay was £5,100.00 for a circulated version.

2016 Peter Rabbit 50p coin
Image of reverse side of Jemima Puddle-Duck 2016 UK 50p coin

2016 Jemima Puddle-Duck 50p

Readers fell in love with Jemima Puddle-Duck in her story, “The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck,” as she tries to find a safe place to lay her eggs. The coin design features her signature look of poke bonnet and shawl. You’ll find her coin in circulation, Brilliant Uncirculated, and Silver Proof. The highest price on eBay for a single Jemima Puddle-Duck 50p was at £185.00 for a Silver Proof version that came in an acrylic case and presentation box.

2016 Mrs Tiggy-Winkle 50p

Mrs Tiggy-Winkle is the adorable hedgehog who does all the animals’ washing and ironing from Beatrix’s sixth book, “The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.” This design has the hedgehog in her standard washerwoman’s dress and hat. The Royal Mint released this coin into circulation and in Brilliant Uncirculated and Silver Proof versions. The greatest price the Mrs Tiggy-Winkle 50p coin has gone for on eBay was £155 for a Silver Proof coin in its original box and a Certificate of Authenticity.

Image of Mrs. Tiggy Winkle 2016 50p coin in Brilliant Uncirculated finish
Image of reverse side of Squirrel Nutkin 2016 UK 50p Silver Proof coin

2016 Squirrel Nutkin 50p

In Beatrix’s second tale, “The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin,” readers got to know Squirrel Nutkin, the mischievous red squirrel and his encounter with the resident owl. Emma Noble’s design for him is inspired by Beatrix’s illustration of him on the book’s front cover. Similar to the Mrs Tiggy-Winkle coin, this coin can be found in circulation, Brilliant Uncirculated, and in Silver Proof. For a single coin, the highest price paid on eBay has been £145.00 for a Silver Proof version in its original box and with a Certificate of Authenticity.

2017 Peter Rabbit 50p

For Peter Rabbit’s return to British currency, in the Royal Mint’s second Beatrix Potter series, Emma Noble presented his full body, wearing his jacket and showing off his fluffy tail, probably on the run from Mr McGregor’s garden. You can find this coin in circulation, Brilliant Uncirculated, Silver Proof, and Gold Proof. EBay’s highest bidder went for £1,750.00 to get a lightly worn, circulated version of this coin.

Image of Peter Rabbit 2017 UK 50p coin

2017 Tom Kitten 50p

Tom Kitten is in Beatrix’s eleventh story, ‘The Tale of Tom Kitten,’ where Tom and his siblings fail miserably at keeping their nice clothes clean for their mother’s visitors. Fans of Tom Kitten will enjoy the 50p coin’s design showing Tom’s moment of surprise when he’s forced into too-small clothing. Coin collectors can find the Tom Kitten 50p in circulation, Brilliant Uncirculated, and in Silver Proof versions. The largest amount paid on eBay for this coin was for, presumably, a circulation version at £400.

2017 Mr Jeremy Fisher 50p

Mr Jeremy Fisher is the clumsy frog that loses all his fishing gear in Beatrix’s eighth story, ‘The Tale of Mr Jeremy Fisher.’ The coin shows off Mr Fisher in profile with his Macintosh coat on. The coin was made for general circulation as well as in Brilliant Uncirculated and Silver Proof versions. Bidders on eBay have paid, at most, £500 for an uncirculated version.

Image of Jeremy Fisher 2017 UK 50p coin
Beatrix Potter's Benjamin Bunny on a UK 50p Brilliant Uncirculated Coin

2017 Benjamin Bunny 50p

Beatrix’s fans all over the world have fallen in love with Benjamin Button’s story of how he and his cousin, Peter Rabbit, venture back to Mr McGregor’s garden and have a close run-in with a cat. Benjamin’s coin features the bunny in his oversized Tam-o’-Shanter hat and jacket, holding one of Mr McGregor’s radishes. You can find Benjamin in your change, as a Brilliant Uncirculated coin, or as a Silver Proof coin. The highest price sold on eBay was £605 for an unspecified version of the coin.

2018 Peter Rabbit 50p

To kick off the third Beatrix Potter coin collection, the Royal Mint issued a 50p featuring Peter Rabbit delightfully eating the radishes he stole from Mr McGregor in Beatrix’s first story, ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit.’ This 2018 version of the Peter Rabbit 50p comes in Brilliant Uncirculated, Silver Proof, and Gold Proof versions as well as in base metal. Bidders have paid, at most, £750 for a Gold Proof version that came in a presentation box and Certificate of Authenticity.

Image of Peter Rabbit 2018 UK 50p coin
An image of a Flopsy Bunny 2018 UK 50p coin in Brilliant Uncirculated Finish

2018 Flopsy Bunny 50p

Featured in the story, ‘The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies,’ Flopsy Bunny is Peter Rabbit’s sister and wife to Benjamin Bunny with six children. The story is about her naughty children getting into trouble in Mr McGregor’s farm after falling asleep there. Flopsy Bunny is featured in her adorable cape on the coin which comes in base metal, Brilliant Uncirculated, and Silver Proof. For a single Flopsy Bunny 50p, eBay bidder have paid as much as £65 to get a Silver Proof coin in a presentation pack.

2018 Mrs Tittlemouse 50p

Fighting a never-ending battle against the dirt coming into her home, Mrs Tittlemouse is the wood mouse in Beatrix’s story, ‘The Tale of Mrs Tittlemouse.’ You’ll recognise her in her little dress, holding her dinner basket. Beyond the base metal versions of the coin, Mrs Tittlemouse can also be found as a Brilliant Uncirculated and Silver Proof coin. The highest price on eBay for this coin was £65 for a Silver Proof version.

Image of Mrs Tittlemouse 2018 UK 50p coin
Image of the Tailor of Gloucester 2018 UK 50p coin

2018 The Tailor of Gloucester 50p

Despite what you may think based on the name of the coin, the little mouse featured is not the tailor of Gloucester. The mouse is actually part of a small group of mice that help the tailor finish his commission of a waistcoat in thanks for the tailor’s help in escaping from the cat, Simpkins. The design of the coin features a mouse is reading a newspaper, sitting on a reel of ‘twist.’ You can find the mouse in your change, in a Brilliant Uncirculated version, or Silver Proof version. The most paid for a single coin on eBay was £65 for a Silver Proof coin.

2019 Peter Rabbit 50p

Peter Rabbit returned in 2019 to celebrate Beatrix Potter, but not as part of a series. This coin, featuring Peter Rabbit standing in his coat, clutching his handkerchief, was only issued as a commemorative coin so you will not find him in your change this year. The only way to get this latest edition is to buy it from the Royal Mint in Brilliant Uncirculated, Silver Proof, and Gold Proof. You can also get it elsewhere online – the most paid on eBay was £1,295 for the Gold Proof version.

Image of 2019 Peter Rabbit 50p coin