Coin Collecting: How to Invest in Historic Coins | History Hit
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Coin Collecting: How to Invest in Historic Coins

Celeste Neill

10 May 2022
Obverse side of British sterling silver (92.5%) half crown coins, from Queen Victoria to Edward VII and George V.
Image Credit: AJTFoto / Alamy Stock Photo

Coins and money are an integral part of society and have been for many centuries. As such, historic coins have a broad appeal to both numismatists (coin collectors) and investors, often representing significant historical events or exhibiting highly sought-after designs.

Often, unique historic coins will increase in value over time, making them an ideal collector’s item for many. And on rare occasions, a coin’s value will reach record-breaking highs, as was the case with an Edward VIII Sovereign that The Royal Mint sold for £1 million in 2019, setting a new record for the sale of a British coin.

Dan Snow gets a rare glimpse of the hidden treasures kept behind the doors at The Royal Mint Museum.
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The Edward VIII Sovereign

The Royal Mint’s team of experts were able to locate the rare Edward VIII Sovereign from a collector in America and bring it back to the UK for a private buyer to add to their collection. It was the first time in history that a British coin has attained a price of £1 million, and is testimony to the historical significance and rarity of the coin.

An ultra-rare British coin depicting King Edward VIII. Most were melted down after his abdication.

Image Credit: RabidBadger /

The coin is one of the most coveted in the world and belongs to a small collection of ‘trial sets’ created following Edward VIII’s ascension to the throne in January 1936. The coins were never released to the public as Edward VIII abdicated in December 1936 to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. In addition to the rarity of the coin, it is unique as Edward VIII broke with the tradition of successive monarchs’ heads facing in opposite directions – simply because he preferred his left profile.

Top tips for collecting historic coins

Andy, retired research scientist from Norfolk, holds his gold leopard coin, a rare 14th century 23 karat coin from the reign of King Edward III, valued at around £140,000.

Image Credit: Malcolm Park / Alamy Stock Photo

The Edward VIII Sovereign is an example of a highly collectible and highly valuable coin, but The Royal Mint offers coins at a range of price points to suit any portfolio. They are dedicated to helping collectors build a collection with a purpose, in any theme, metal or interest they might have.

If you are starting out a collection or indeed enhancing one you already own, there are many reasons why you should seriously consider collecting historic coins from The Royal Mint.

Here are their five top tips for collecting historic coins.

1. Diversify your portfolio

Unlike the precious metal markets, historic coins tend not to fluctuate in price, but rather, become more desirable over time to collectors. What’s more, there’s a finite number of each historic design in existence. Coupled with a growing demand from collectors and investors, collecting historic coins is becoming an interesting, and accessible, investment opportunity.

2. Quality assured

All historic coins from The Royal Mint come certified and guaranteed, which ensures their provenance when you look to pass them down to family members or sell them in the future.

3. Owning a piece of history

Every historic coin has an interesting story to tell. Who owned them? What were they used to purchase? Historic coins link us to our heritage unlike anything else you can own and collect.

4. It’s entertaining

It offers a very different way to learn and understand more about history. From fascinating historical figures such as Julius Caesar to Winston Churchill to significant periods of time such as World War One or the Battle of Waterloo. It’s also a hobby you can share with your partner, friends, children or grandchildren.

5. Works of art that you can own

Coins throughout human history can be looked at as true works of art. The Royal Mint has employed some of the greatest coin engravers of all time such as William Wyon, Benedetto Pistrucci and Mary Gillick, to produce some of the most stunning coins in history. This has included legendary designs such as the Gothic Crown coin, the ‘Young Head’ portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and the depiction of Saint George slaying the Dragon featured on the modern sovereign.

Now, through The Royal Mints Collector Services department, you can own some of these original classic British coins as well as coins from around the world.

To find out more about starting or growing your coin collection, visit or call The Royal Mint’s team of experts on 0800 03 22 153 to find out more.

Chris Barker, historian at the Royal Mint Museum takes Dan through some of the rarest coins in the collection from within the vaults, unravelling what the coinage reveals about monarchs from the Norman conquest right through to the 20th century, including the coins created for Edward VIII but were never released in light of his abdication.
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Celeste Neill