So was it a fake – or did it earn me a fortune?
When I found a curious pound coin in change it was either the first ever fake or a minting error.
When the new pound coin was introduced the Royal Mint boldly proclaimed it “unfakeable”, but the coin I received in change was odd to say the least.
The outer edge looked like two coins sandwiched together and the Queen’s head was definitely a little wonky. Sorry, Ma’am.
My story about this peculiar coin caused a stir on the internet. Apparently, my coin wasn’t unique – and people wanted to know if these were fakes or mistakes.
A check on auction site eBay showed these coins were not uncommon and it looked like collectors were snapping them up.
They weren’t fetching big money and some optimistic souls were trying it on asking hundreds of pounds.
Even if you check “sold” items on eBay you can never be sure whether the buyer actually paid up. The deal’s never done until the money’s been handed over.
The only way to be certain whether my coin was a fake was to ask the Royal Mint.
I sent the coin to the Royal Mint Museum in Wales for an appraisal and it was quickly returned with a report.
The reply said: “Examination has confirmed that the coin is defective as a result of an error in the minting process.
“What looks to have happened is that for some reason the blank on which the coin was struck failed to fully enter the restraining collar at the moment when it received impressions from the obverse and reverse dies.
“The result is that the designs on both sides are off-centre and one of the edges slightly splayed.”
"Examination has confirmed that the coin is defective as a result of an error in the minting process."
So there you have it – a perfectly honest mistake of a coin. Still legal tender, just a bit botched.
Now, armed with official confirmation, what to do with it? Spend it, keep it for posterity? Or maybe, in the interests of journalism, test whether you can indeed make money out of, erm, money by selling unusual coins.
So journalism it was. You read so many stories on the internet saying how much “rare” coins can make. Peter Rabbit 50p coins are huge, allegedly.
But is it really that easy? I snapped a few pictures of my coin as well as my Royal Mint letter of authenticity. Surely that would persuade the buyers.
I put it up for a five-day auction with a starting price of £4.99 plus £2.90 for postage.
There was quickly a bid of £4.99 meaning it had sold. Result. But over the next five days another nine bids pushed the price up to £17 but the final bidder jumped in at the last minute to win the auction with a bid of £18.
The buyer was as good as his word and paid the £20.90 total into my account. Deal done and proof that you can indeed make money out of the change in your pocket.
Now I’ve got the bug. I check my change religiously. I’ve now got some “rare” 50p coins. There’s a 2013 Christopher Ironside (someone’s currently asking £1.46 including postage on eBay); a 2006 Victoria Cross 50p (99p with free postage); and a 2016 Battle of Hastings (£1.49 with free postage).
These coins are obviously not worth a lot and after eBay fees, payment fees and postage there’s probably only pennies left in profit. Hardly worth the hassle.
I had a punt and listed the three together for £2.99 – but there were no takers.
Now my local Co-op has given me a 2015 Britannia £2 coin (£3.98 on eBay including free postage).
So what’s my verdict? Keep an eye on your change. You CAN sell coins for a profit on eBay.