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Circulation finds spotlighted in Britain

British pocket change coins are hot. While in the United States collectors typically bemoan the fact that there is nothing to be found in change worth collecting, the same can’t be said for that of Great Britain.


It is unintentional on the part of the British Royal Mint, but the mint is creating interest in its circulating coins, likely impacting the number of active coin collectors and encouraging a secondary market for modern issues.

Leading the way is the 2018 Wrong Planchet £1 coin. One of these errors recently sold on eBay for £205 (about $287 U.S.). Ebay coins expert Luke Hearn was quoted in the Feb. 1 issue of The Sun newspaper as saying, “We’ve received a number of inquiries regarding the coin. From the images we’ve been sent, it would appear that a 12-sided £1 coin die has been struck on an old round £1 blank – if this is the case, then that would make this a genuine error coin.”

Hearn continued, “But, it’s important to get any abnormal coins verified by the Royal Mint to ensure a coin is 100 percent genuine. This coin is yet to be verified, people are still awaiting a response from the mint, so it’s worth keeping an open mind for the time being. Either way, it’s a very interesting coin that has clearly stirred up interest amongst collectors.”

Another potentially rare coin that has recently appeared is the 2018 Sir Isaac Newton 50 pence, a coin only available to people visiting the Royal Mint. The total number struck was not yet determined at the time this article was being written.

Another coin drawing the attention of the general public is the 2009 Kew Gardens 50 pence. The coin, which was released into circulation, has a total mintage of only 210,000 pieces.

Perhaps it isn’t quite as rare, but the 2011 Olympic Triathlon 50 pence has a modest mintage of 2,179,000 coins, according to the BRM. These coins were also released into circulation. This is one of several scarcer Olympic-related issues sought by collectors. Among other scarce Olympic issues are those on which judo, wrestling, tennis, shooting, hockey, or handball have been featured.

The 2016 Jemima Puddle-Duck 50-pence coin from the Peter Rabbit series honoring author Beatrix Potter is another issue of interest due to its lower mintage. Although 2.1 million of these coins were issued, this was the lowest-mintage coin in the series. Due to speculation, one example was offered on eBay for £5,995 (about $8,400 U.S.) soon after the release of the coin. There is no indication the coin on eBay sold.

According to a July 18, 2017, online posting addressing the Jemima Puddle-Duck coin, “The rarity and value is all just a perception – and it depends on how long that perception lasts. The coins are rare, but only comparatively so.”

The wrong planchet £1 coin isn’t the only error coin now being sought in circulation. There are several error varieties of the 2007 £2 Abolition of The Slave Trade coin. This includes mis-stampings, missing letters, missing design elements, and color problems (the coin is a ringed bimetal issue).

Adding some confusion to the mix are the 2015 trial coins created to test the 12-sided design for the new £1 coin. These patterns were shared with businesses, some of them slipping into circulation where the public has since scoffed them up.

Modern British coin scarcities are of sufficient interest that The Sun newspaper recently published a “£1 scarcity index” through which some of these coins can be tracked.

This article was originally printed in World Coin News. >> Subscribe today.

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