The rarest coin errors in circulation

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A guest post by Equilibrium Asset Management.

Have you ever wondered if those loose coins in your drawer could be worth something? With the latest £1 coin rolled out earlier this year, and the recent introduction of the latest polymer £5 and £10 notes, people across the country were urged to check their spare change for old versions of the coins before they spend them.

However, lurking in your collection could be other rare and valuable coins that contain small minting errors, making them worth more than you might expect. Here, we offer details off a selection of these coins, and the quirks you should be looking out for to have the best chance of spotting them.

Hard-to-spot errors

Minor faults such as those detailed below are more sought after by collectors, which pushes up their value considerably. The most collectible coins and banknotes are usually sold at auction, or by specialist coin firms. However, collectors can often use eBay, or attend car boot sales, looking for the coins they need to complete their collections.

1) The 1983 ‘New Pence’ 2p coin – worth £400

 Up until 1981, all 2p coins featured the words ‘New Pence’, which were inscribed on the reverse. A year later, however, the Royal Mint decided to change it to say ‘Two Pence’. In 1983, the Royal Mint accidentally released a small number of coins, which had an inscription of ‘New Pence’ on them.

While most of these were purchased by collectors and coin enthusiasts, you may find yourself accepting upwards of £400 if you find one in your piggy bank.

2) 2014 ‘Year of the mule’ – worth £175

 A “mule” is a coin where one of the sides has been struck with the wrong die. This happened to a batch of 2014 Year of the Horse and Britannia £2 coins. The Royal Mint acknowledged the error, which resulted in around 17,000 Britannia coins being struck with the non-denticled Year of the Horse obverse and 38,000 Year of the Horse coins having the denticled Britannia as their obverse.

This highly sought-after coins will fetch around £175 on eBay.

3) Undated 20p coin – worth £200

 An undated 20p piece has set tongues wagging among collectors since it entered circulation in 2008. The Royal Mint had opted to change the positioning of the date on every 20p coin, moving it from the ‘back’ to the ‘front’. However, an accidental error in a batch of between 50,000 – 250,000 coins were released with no date at all. And, these undated 20p coins, which became the first coins in more than 300 years to enter circulation without a date, are highly collectable.

4) The Guy Fawkes £2 coin – worth £500

The 2005 Gunpowder Plot £2 was minted to mark the 400th anniversary of the plan involving Guy Fawkes, and collectors claim there seems to be a spelling error around the outside. Although Royal Mint claims this is not actually a printing mistake, this batch of coins can sell on eBay for up to £500.

The coin is supposed to feature, around its rim, the popular rhyme: “Remember, remember the fifth of November”. However, some collectors have noticed the last strike of the R in November resembles a letter P.

5) The Battle of Britain 50p – was worth £100, now £2

A 50p coin issued to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in 2015 became the first to be issued with three different designs. One featured a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Jody Clarke without the 50 pence lettering, one featured Ian Rank-Broadley’s portrait of the Queen without the 50 pence lettering and one featured Jody Clarke’s portrait of the Queen with the 50 pence lettering. This variation in design was noted and the coins were seen to be error coins, and those without the 50 pence denomination attracted almost £100 online.


Equilibrium and Change Checker have worked together to produce a timeline of notable coins and banknotes in the UK since decimalisation, so take a look below for the full timeline:

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