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Rare Cents: What are they, and what is their value?

FI
Filippo Iachello

5 min

Rare Cents: What Are They? Value and useful information

Find out which cents are rare. Many of them have a value you might not expect! Here are all the curiosities you need to know

Rare cents represent a topic of considerable interest for numismatic enthusiasts and the merely curious. 

Very often, it happens that you rummage through the drawers of old houses or even old clothes and come across some rare coins (here is a complete list of the most exceptional ones) that lead you to wonder not only if their value is higher than that of classic specimens, but also how to recognise them. 

Rare Cents: Introduction to Cuts

As we all know, 2002 was the year in which Italian and European citizens witnessed a revolution: national currencies were replaced by the euro. Euro coins are now available in different denominations: 

  • 2 euros (€2.00)
  • 1 euro (€1.00)
  • 50 cents (€0.50)
  • 20 cents (€0.20)
  • 10 cents (€0.10)
  • 5 cents (€0.05)
  • 2 cents (€0.02)
  • 1 cent (€0.01)

We will focus our attention on the smaller denominations in this article. In circulation, different types of rare cents have a higher or lower value depending on the case.

50 cents rare 

Among the most sought-after small denominations of the single currency throughout Europe are certainly the rare 50 centimes. The value of which fluctuates depending on the individual specimens, which, by the way, are numerous, so in this article, we will focus only on the best known. 

Among them, how can we not mention the 50 cents of 2007? Most of the 50-cent coins in circulation today date back to 2002. The 50 cents of 2007, on the other hand, are scarce to find, although 4,994,490 examples were minted (data from moneterare.net). The reason for this difficulty in finding the coin despite its high mintage is still unclear, but what is clear is certainly its value: from €2 to €10 if in Brilliant Uncirculated condition (without signs of circulation).

Then there are the 50 Cent Rare Malta, especially those of 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2021. Their value here, too, could be higher, between EUR 1.5 and 2.5 in BU. 

With the exclusion of the 2002-2003 vintages, the 50 Cent Rare Monaco are also considered attractive by numismatic experts, and their value starts to rise from EUR 10 to EUR 50. 

For the 50 Centesimi Rari Vaticano, divided into 6 series, one can go as high as €55, while those of Portugal 2007 are around €50.

20 centimes rare

Generally speaking, 20-centimes are rare if they obviously have peculiarities, such as minting errors or metal surpluses. In such cases, their value ranges from 3.25 to 55 euros. On the other hand, the few specimens stolen before the withdrawal of the 20-cent coin with the 1999 minting year issued in 2002 have no value. 

10 cents rare

Among the most exciting coins are those of 2008 Malta, worth EUR 1 in Brilliant Uncirculated, or even those minted in 2002, whose manufacturing errors led to quotations from EUR 236 to EUR 288.

5 cents rare

In the case of the 5, additional clarifications and distinctions have to be made based on the individual specimen. All quotations below are in Brilliant Uncirculated: 

  • 5 cents of 2002 from Ireland, Portugal, Greece and Spain: 1€
  • 5 cents 2008 of Malta with Mnajdra temple engraving: 1€
  • 5 Centesimi 2003 of San Marino: 10€
  • 5 cents 2002 of the Vatican Mint: 40€

1 cent rare

The rarest 1 cent in existence today is the one that resulted from a mistake: the coin in question has the engraving only on the reverse side and lacks the year of minting. Its value? About 550€ in BU. 

Other specimens, however, have much lower quotations. The 2004 rare 1 cent from Greece, Luxembourg and the Netherlands is worth €1, while that of San Marino 2003 is around €10. The 1999 coin of the Netherlands is worth around €1.20, while the Maltese coin with the image of the temple of Mnajdra is worth €2.

Not to be forgotten is the rare 1-cent Mole Antonelliana, on which the image of the 2-cent coin was minted by mistake. Its value is around 2,500€/3000€. 

Rare Cents and Bitcoin

Obviously, there are many more rare cents in circulation than those described in this article. What is clear, however, is that rarity is a fascinating aspect not only for experts in the field. The rarer a good or asset is, the more its value tends to increase. A concept that can also be found in the cryptocurrency sector is that bitcoins, for instance, are considered rare because their protocol provides a maximum supply limited to 21 million coins

This limit is designed to create a form of inherent rarity in the system. Unlike traditional currencies, which can be printed in unlimited quantities, the amount of Bitcoins in circulation is limited, affecting their perception as a rare and valuable resource. This is why many choose to buy when the price of BTC is lower (as in the current market phase), to get the crypto by paying less than those who will instead wait for the market to rise. Rare pennies and Bitcoin, in short, have more in common than one might imagine!

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