Have you found the Tom Kitten 50p - or 'old scary eyes' himself in your change?
This is the 2017 Tom Kitten 50p coin and it was issued by the Royal Mint to commemorate the amazing works of Beatrix Potter – but is this coin rare and how much is this coin worth today?
In this article, we'll discover the fascinating story behind this special edition 50p coin that was issued in 2017 and we'll also discuss its value and rarity
The Tale of Tom Kitten is the thrilling tale of three mischievous little kittens: Mittens, Tom Kitten, and Moppet and they are always getting into trouble. Mrs. Tabitha Twitchit, grooms and dresses them up for a party she is hosting, then sends them out with the understanding that they do not get dirty.
Not only do they get dirty but they lose their clothes to some passing puddle-ducks. When they return, she hides them upstairs and tells her guests that they have measles.
The Beatrix Potter 50p collection
Due to the coins' enormous popularity, the Royal Mint decided to continue the series in 2017 with a new coin set that included Benjamin Bunny, Tom Kitten, Mr. Jeremy Fisher, and Peter Rabbit once more.
2019 and 2020 saw the release of a collector's edition Peter Rabbit coin, continuing the series.
It is clear that this series of 50p coins is by far the most loved and sought-after.
According to the most recent eBay and Amazon sales, the value of the 2017 Tom Kitten 50p coin, in good circulated condition and excluding any postage or selling costs, is around £2.75. So, at over five times its face value, it's a good addition to your collection if you find it in your change.
History of the coin
The Tale of Tom Kitten is a children's book, written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter. It was released in September 1907 and was the twelfth of her books to be published. The tale is about manners and how children react to them.
Tabitha Twitchit, a charming cat, graciously invites her adored friends to a delightful tea gathering. She adorns and outfits her trio of kittens for the celebration, yet in an instant the kittens have dirtied and misplaced their attire while frolicking through the garden.
Tabitha is distraught. She sends the kittens to bed, and tells her friends the kittens have the measles. Once the tea party is underway, however, its "dignity and repose" are disturbed by the kittens romping overhead and leaving a bedroom in disorder.
This special edition 50p coin was issued in 2017 to celebrate this much loved character.
Design of the 2017 Tom Kitten 50p coin
The cupro-nickel form of the coin has a plain edge, is 27.3mm in diameter, weighs 8g, and is 1.78mm thick.
Emma Noble, a Royal Mint engraver, designed the reverse side of the coin to feature the image of Tom Kitten.
On the reverse of the fifty pence coin, is the unmistakable image of Tom Kitten. It features a playful head and shoulders portrait of the mischievous kitten, with an innocent look on his face. This image could be found on the original first edition of The Tale of Tom Kitten.
The words in capital letters - TOM KITTEN - are embossed around the edge of the coin's reverse.
The initials, “en” in lower case are embossed in the lower right, around the squirrel’s stomach, the initials of the designer, Emma Noble. Emma Noble had worked at the Royal Mint for 20 years before she was chosen to design the Beatrix Potter series of coins.
The obverse of the coin features the 2015 coinage portrait of the Queen by Jody Clark, the first Royal Mint employee to create a portrait in 100 years – the practice is usually completed by artists working outside of the Mint. The inscription ‘ELIZABETH II.D.REG.F.D.50 PENCE.2017’ appears around the portrait.
On the obverse side, running continuously around the effigy, is the monarch's legend and the date: ELIZABETH II · D · G · REG · F · D · 50 PENCE ·2017.
Translated from Latin: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith, followed by the value and denomination in English.
In small letters below the head, the artist's initials J.C for Jody Clark.
Jody Clark was the youngest person to design the monarch’s profile on this currency at the age of just 33. Jody Clark was also the first Royal Mint employee to design a UK definitive coin portrait in more than 100 years.
He had only been working at the Royal Mint for about two years prior. The new design would be the first time her portrait had been changed in 17 years.
Jody Clark’s design was unveiled in 2015 as the fifth definitive coinage portrait of Her Majesty and the fourth portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in circulation.
Mintage of the 2017 Tom Kitten 50p Coin
The Tom Kitten 50p coin was released on 31st July 2017 and is one of the fifteen coins minted in the Beatrix Potter 50p series between 2016 and 2020.
Official figures from the Royal Mint's website show that the 2017 Tom Kitten 50p coin had the lowest mintage of the 4 coins released that year, with a mintage of 9.5 million.
Additionally, the coin was also minted as a Brilliant Uncirculated variety in individual presentation folders as well as complete sets, in addition to silver proof versions which had a total mintage of 30,000.
For reference, the 2016 Jemima 50p coin had a mintage of 2.1 million, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle 50p coin had a mintage of 8.8 million, 2016 Peter Rabbit 50p coin had a mintage of 9.7 million and the 2016 Beatrix Potter 50p coin had a mintage of 6.9 million.
In 2017, there was also one other 50p coin issued into general circulation; in addition to the Beatrix Potter coins and that was the 2017 Sir Isaac Newton 50p coin which has a low mintage of just over 1.8 million.
Is the 2017 Tom Kitten 50p Coin Rare?
The 2017 Tom Kitten 50p is rather in the middle of the Beatrix Potter commemorative 50p coin series mintages for 50p coins in circulation in Britain today with 9.5 million released in 2017.
So with a mintage of just under 10 million, the 2017 Tom Kitten 50p is not considered a rare coin but they are getting harder and harder to find as collectors want them for their own collections. Also, given the popularity of the Beatrix Potter coins, the coin is still highly sought after. The 2017 Tom Kitten 50p can still be found in your change and as collectors are adding them to their collections, the coin is becoming more scarce.
How much is The 2017 Tom Kitten 50p worth? How rare is it?
As we said, it is always it is difficult to put an exact price on a coin as all coins vary in condition, but we would expect the circulated 2017 Tom Kitten 50p, in good condition to be worth around £2.75 in today's market excluding any postage costs.
Where Can I Buy the 2017 Tom Kitten 50p Coin?
You can buy the 2017 Tom Kitten 50p coin online on auction sites such as eBay or Amazon but please ensure you look at all the information and reputation of the seller.
Alternatively, you can buy it from ourselves by clicking here.
Unfortunately, as this coin is now nearly 6 years old, the Royal Mint no longer stock this coin so it is only available to buy on the secondary market.
Are there any known errors of this coin?
The Royal Mint has not confirmed any error versions of the 2017 Tom Kitten 50p coin
Bit of Trivia...
Tabitha Twitchit had appeared in a previously published story, The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan, in which she was a shop keeper. The illustrations in the publication included her kittens playing.
The cat family re-appeared in The Tale of Samuel Whiskers or, The Roly-Poly Pudding. One of the kittens featured in The Story of Miss Moppet and Tabitha Twitchit and her shop are mentioned again in The Tale of Ginger and Pickles.
One of the puddle-ducks from the story is featured in The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck, also featured on the 2016 Jemima Puddle-duck 50p coin