Best coin collections: from the NHS to Narnia

Whether Royal Mint or the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we've picked our favourites…

english old coin, numismatics on old wooden background

by Piper Huxley |
Updated on

Millions of people across the globe have coin collections. People of all ages and walks of life are drawn to this age-old pastime, which was popular with the Roman Emperor Augustus and even Louis XIV of France. A popular hobby, coin collections may be rare old coins or even commemorative special editions to their growing collections. If you think this is your hobby, peruse our beginner’s guide to the best coin collections in the UK.

If you’ve got a thirst for knowledge, you’ve come to the right place – says the Royal Mint. After all, collecting isn’t just about acquiring a collection. Whilst that alone is very exciting, it's educational too. You’re collecting a piece of our past, which can tell you about the notable figures of the time. If history was your favourite subject at school - besides school dinners - this pastime is right up your street. Not only that, but coin collecting can be affordable if you know where to look.

Best coin collections at a glance:

Best memorial set for the late Queen: The Queen Elizabeth II Memorial 2-coin Set - Buy now on The Royal Mint
Best NHS commemorative coin: NHS 75th Anniversary 2023 UK 50p Coin - Buy now on The Royal Mint
Best British film coin: Bond Films of the 1980s 2024 UK £5 Coin - Buy now on The Royal Mint

If you want to build up a collection, all you need to do is decide what coins interest you and start from there. We've picked out our favourite collections and commemorative pieces from the late Queen Elizabeth II to Dame Shirley Bassey to Narnia. Plus, we've answered some burning questions.

Best coin collections UK

First official coinage of King Charles III

Next, we have the first Annual Sets release to feature the world’s first official coinage portrait of King Charles III. Fancy that! Designed by Martin Jennings, each coin of the 2023 United Kingdom Brilliant Uncirculated Commemorative Coin Set is the definite coinage portrait of His Majesty The King. With this set, there are five new commemorative coins, for 2023. We love this collection - as it features a Windrush Generation, NHS and J.R.R. Tolkein coin.

Customer review: "The Royal Mint have got the presentation of its year sets just right since 2013 and have continued with this uniformed format."

Best for avid collectors

For avid coin collectors, you can get one of just 100 British Monarchs King Charles I 2023 UK 10oz Silver Proof Coins. The sixth coin released as part of The British Monarchs Collection, it's been struck in ten ounces of 999 fine silver to Proof standard and features the only equestrian portrait to be included in the collection. Also available in gold, this is a limited-edition coin for keen collectors after the best and most valuable, with portraits of King Charles I and King Charles III.

Best memorial set for the late Queen

From the Memorial Coin Collection for our late Queen, we have picked this 2-coin set, which commemorates her life and legacy. This set includes a 1953 Five-Shilling Coronation Crown – struck by the Royal Mind for her coronation – and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2022 UK £5 Brilliant Uncirculated Coin – for her record-breaking reign. The obverse of the 2022 UK £5 Brilliant Uncirculated Coin in this set bears the official definitive coinage portrait of His Majesty The King. This is a collectable set of historical significance, poignantly commemorating the reign of our late Queen.

Customer review: "It’s nicely displayed, well packaged, really what it said on the tin and well worth displaying."

Best NHS commemorative coin

Celebrate 75 years of the beloved National Health Service with a commemorative coin. Featuring a touching design by Alice Lediard, this NHS 75th Anniversary 2023 UK 50p Coin coin honours the NHS's milestone. With proceeds benefiting NHS Charities Together, collectors won't want to miss this tribute.

Customer review: "Not just a coin but a collection piece with details about the NHS and its historical 75 year achievement."

Best for new collections

For those interested in coin collection, The Royal Mint's Starter Sets Collection introduces new collectors to the world of numismatics, offering coins that spark the imagination. We love this 1953 crown that celebrates Queen Elizabeth II's coronation, featuring her equestrian portrait on one side and emblems of the UK nations on the other. The Elizabeth II 1953 Coronation Crown is a great start to any collection.

Writer's pick

Celebrate the magic of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" with this limited edition UK 50p Uncirculated Coin. Featuring an original illustration of Lucy and Mr Tumnus by Pauline Baynes, this coin is a captivating tribute to C.S. Lewis' beloved tale.

It's no secret that Piper loves Narnia, so she had to include this...

Customer review: "It is very special and denotes the story "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe". I have purchased coins mainly for children and commemorative ones."

Best British film coin

Capture the excitement of 1980s James Bond films with the UK £5 Uncirculated Coin. Showcasing the iconic Bede BD-5J 'Acrostar' plane from "Octopussy," this intricately designed coin comes with informative packaging, making it a must-have for Bond fans and lovers of '80s pop culture.

Best for honouring a British legend

Experience the epitome of glamour with this Dame Shirley Bassey 2023 UK £5 Brilliant Uncirculated Coin. Capturing her iconic allure, this coin by Sue Aperghis celebrates the legendary singer's illustrious career, making it the ideal gift for fans. It'd be a great gift for fans of Bassey, James Bond and more.

Customer review: "The coin is beautiful. They all are. I bought one of each."


Who loves Wham? We do. You can celebrate the iconic George Michael with the 2024 UK £5 Uncirculated Coin. As part of the Music Legends collection, this coin features Sandra Deiana's design inspired by the legendary 'Faith' music video. A poignant tribute to a beloved (and missed) pop icon.

Best coin collector set UK

Introducing our favourite pick, the 2024 United Kingdom Uncirculated Annual Coin Set.

This exclusive collection features 13 coins, including highlights like the RNLI 50p and the Team GB & Paralympics GB 50p. Each set includes the first King Charles III definitive coins and supports charitable causes. Don't miss out on this exceptional collection, struck with Brilliant Uncirculated quality.

Customer review: "Beautifully presented above expectations, the additional coinage was A+."

Best coin collections FAQs

Are coin collections worth the money?

Coins can be a profitable investment. But, it’s important to keep your hobby fun. You don’t always have to think about investment and looking at the historical significance and beauty can be enough for most. In truth, most coins in circulation are only worth their face value – unless you come across a rare (or particularly old) coin, which can sell for how much numismatics are willing to pay for it.

Perhaps you’ve found a stash of old coins in the attic, some you don’t recognise. Your next thought may be: How do I get my coin valued? Well, the Royal Mint offer a valuation and authentication service. As the maker of UK coinage, they have unparalleled knowledge about historic coins – and will identify and value them for you. They’re a great place to buy commemorative coins and collections, too.

There are plenty of Coronation memorabilia sets to display in your home, too.

Why do coins tarnish?

With time, all coins show signs of ageing. There are quite a few terms to describe this such as tarnishing, discolouring and toning. Don’t worry, it’s completely natural. But, this does depend on where you keep your coins. After all, it’s a chemical reaction brought about by exposure to moisture and chemicals in the air. Coins can be damaged by improper handling, too.

Though a slow process, many collectors like the tarnishing as it can give some edge and untapped beauty to collections. The Royal Mint does not recommend cleaning your coins as the surface may become unattractive afterwards. Instead, they recommend storing, displaying and handling your collection with care.

The Royal Mint unveils collectable 50p celebrating The Chronicles of Narnia
©The Royal Mint / CS Lewis Pte Ltd

How do I store or display coin collections?

Unfortunately, no storage solution will provide total protection for your coins. But, you can make good choices to protect your precious collection from further damage. Remember to keep your coins away from extreme conditions, such as cold and humidity. Housing your coins in a special coin album, folder or holder is your best bet. Here, you can organise your collection – with dates, mint marks and some facts about each piece.

Better yet, you could always get a display to show off your collection to guests. In holders, coins are typically stored in small boxes or transparent album pages - like a binder. Here, you can display your collection and keep it safe. There are coin cabinets, which offer museum-standard display storage. You can find some coin collection storage and display units from the Royal Mint.

How do I sell coin collections?

Whether you've inherited a collection of old-looking coins or spent years amassing one of the best coin collections, there may come a time when you wish to sell your coins. And - that's just fine. We're here to guide you through the process - as for many, selling collectables can be a daunting process.

If you're looking to sell your coin collection, there may be a coin collector local to you, whether in a coin shop or through an online dealer. Have a little look through local directories (or tackle the internet) to find out about this. These coin experts may be able to identify, authenticate and value your collection. If not, you may be able to do this yourself. Then, you can make some money by way of auctions or with the experts you speak to. Hopefully, there will be someone who can help.

We recommend using The Royal Mint's impressive online service, here you can safely sell your rare and historic coins to a knowledgeable buyer you can trust. Plus, it is super easy. Due to unprecedented demand, they suspended their Coin Buying Service to allow time to respond to current open enquiries, but they will resume this service soon.

Piper Huxley is a Homes, Garden and Wellness Product Writer for Yours, an all-rounder who will write on anything from décor to wellness. When not scouring the net for the best home bargains, Piper is listening to a musical soundtrack and tending to her houseplants.

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