Turn out those jam jars – your small change may be worth big money. Some rare 50ps can fetch up to £900 on eBay, though £40-£50 is more likely if you’re lucky – and £2, 20p and even 2p coins can be worth a mint too.
A few weeks ago I explained how to check if your new fiver is worth £100s. Now we’ve had tweets from MoneySavers who have sold special edition coins for far more than their face value.
Do bear in mind though that unlike the new plastic fivers, these have been in circulation a while, so are less likely to wind up in your pocket right away.
- Paul says: “Sold a Kew Gardens 50p for £65. Regularly sell Commonwealth Games 2002 £2 coins for more than face value.”
- Glen says: “I got £50 for one of those 20p coins a few years back without a year on it. The benefits of having a swear jar.”
The coins to look out for – and what they can shift for
If you’ve any of these seven coins knocking around, you could be in line for a payout.
‘Uncirculated’ coins – ie, those which have never actually been sent or exchanged – attract the highest prices, and the better the condition, the more they go for. All prices below are for circulated money though, as if you’ve saved a mint-condition one, you’re probably aware it might be worth something.
- Kew Gardens 50p. These 2009 coins commemorate 250 years of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and can fetch about £50-£65 on eBay. Only 210,000 were produced, making them one of the most sought-after 50ps.
- London Olympics aquatic 50p. In 2012 the Royal Mint released a series of 29 Olympic-themed 50ps. Most don’t attract more than face value, though the ‘offside rule’ 50p could net you a fiver.
However, collectors are in a frenzy over one coin, the original aquatic 50p, which shows water passing over a swimmer’s face. The Mint only printed 600 of these, before redesigning them to show the face clearly. There are no guarantees, of course, but we’ve seen these go for £900 on eBay – 1,800 times their monetary value.
- WWF 50p. Released in 2011, this special edition features 50 tiny animals with the WWF panda at its heart. They can fetch £40 in good nick, though many go for £4ish. With 3,400,000 in circulation, they’re pretty common.
- Peter Rabbit 50p. This year the vegetable-thieving bunny appeared on a 50p piece to mark 150 years since Beatrix Potter’s birth. If you’re lucky, you might get £5 for one.
Other characters fetch similar prices, including Squirrel Nutkin, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and Jemima Puddle-Duck. The Royal Mint still sells all these boxed for £10 each online, so you’re unlikely to beat that.
- Commonwealth Games £2. Produced to celebrate the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, these can change hands for £10 on eBay.
The coin comes in four editions to represent the home nations. The Northern Ireland coin is the rarest, with only 485,000 in circulation, and if you spot one of these, it could go for more like £20.
- Undated 20p. Spotted an undated 20p? Don’t chuck it, presuming it’s a fake. In 2008 the Mint struck a batch of 20p coins with no date in error. Known as mules, these typically fetch £70.
Fewer than 250,000 of these were circulated.
- Silver 2p. 2p or not 2p, that is the question. These rare misprinted tuppences happen when a 10p coin is accidentally pressed into the 2p mint.
Last summer one sold for £1,350 after it was found in a Royal British Legion collection tin.
How to check how much your change is worth
The list above isn’t exhaustive – whenever something unusual turns up in your change, it’s worth giving it a quick value.
To get a rough idea, head to eBay* and search for sold items – enter a description, then click ‘sold listings’ on the grey left-hand bar. (You need to be logged in on eBay to do this.)
Do take very high ‘sold’ figures with a handful of salt. Not all ‘sold’ auctions result in a proper sale. In reality, eBay doesn’t force winning bidders to buy the goods – it just puts a black mark on their account if they don’t pay up.
Also look it up on coin collector website Change Checker, which has a full rundown on each coin.
How to cash in on your coins
The quickest way to sell is on eBay – here are a few hints.
- Use as many keywords as possible. Fill the auction title with key search terms such as edition, year, denomination and condition. Also include close-up photos in the listing.
- Always start the auction at at least the coin’s face value. Bear in mind you’ll pay 10% closing fees if the item sells. So if, for example, you sell a £2 coin, the auction will need to close at £2.23 or higher to make a profit.
- Post with an insured, signed-for service with online tracking, such as Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed. This covers cash sent in the post for loss or damage up to £500. When I asked Royal Mail if it would pay more compensation than the money’s face value (eg, if a 50p sold for £60) a spokesperson said: “Every claim is considered on a case-by-case basis. We would advise customers to include proof of the value of the item to help us fully consider the claim.”
- Pop it in a Jiffy bag. Or at least put some cardboard around it in the envelope to disguise that you’re posting coins.
- If you think you have an especially valuable coin, consider selling via a specialist dealer. Find them through the British Numismatic Trade Association. As a rule of thumb, always try at least three and play them off against each other.
Remember, as with other collectables, rare coin prices fluctuate. If you cash in now, you may lose out or gain more later – but no one knows for sure.
Have you been coining it in by selling currency? Let us know in the comments below.