The deadline for spending old round £1 coins is fast approaching – after Sunday 15 October they’ll no longer be legal tender. But before you rush to get rid of your old coins, turn ’em over. Some might be worth more than their face value, with a few even fetching up to £20…
We’ve been telling you for months to spend or deposit your old £1 coins before you can no longer spend them. That still applies – but before you do, double-check if you have a rare design.
Since the ’round pound’ was first minted in 1983, there have been a total of 24 different designs in circulation. Of these, the ‘Royal Arms’ is the most common, with over 600 million produced. If you’ve one of these, it’s unlikely to be worth more than its face value.
Yet if you’re lucky enough to find a £1 coin with a less widely circulated design, it may be worth listing it for sale to make a few extra quid.
Now, it’s important not to get carried away. These coins, while less common, aren’t exactly rare – and sceptics point out that there are many more out there than likely buyers. But people DO sell these coins for more than their face value all the time.
When we looked, we found over 2,000 £1 coins had been sold on eBay in the last week alone – with over 450 sales of the Edinburgh design and over 260 of the London one (as described below).
The £1 coins to look out for – and what they can shift for
If you’ve one of these coins knocking around, you could be quids in – though it goes without saying that prices can change, there are no guarantees, and ‘mint-condition’ coins are likely to fetch more than those that have been in the wars.
- The Scotland: Thistle and Bluebell £1. Issued in 2014, this coin from north of the border is considered “scarce”, with five million minted. It regularly fetches between £3.50 and £5 on eBay.
- England: London £1. This coin was issued in 2010 as part of the Royal Mint’s series of £1 coins to commemorate the four constituent countries of the UK. Some are worth more than others, but this London design is considered “very scarce”, with just over 2.5 million minted. Regularly listed on eBay, this coin currently fetches between £6.50 and £10 – a tidy profit on its face value.
- Wales: Cardiff City £1. This coin is also “very scarce”, with just over 1.5 million minted. The coin was issued during 2011 and shows the Coat of Arms of Cardiff representing Wales. We found two of these listed as sold on eBay this month for £14.99 each.
- Scotland: Edinburgh City £1. Issued in 2011, this is considered THE most scarce £1 coin available. Fewer than one million were minted – so if you’ve got one, it’s probably a waste to spend it. On eBay, these regularly fetch up to £20 a time, though some rarer uncirculated versions – often displayed in a commemorative box – have sold for up to £60.
The list above isn’t exhaustive. The coin collector website Change Checker says four more designs which are more widely in circulation than those listed above are still considered “less common”. These are (from left to right, below) the ‘Northern Ireland: Flax and Shamrock’, the ‘Daffodil and Leek’, the ‘Rose and Oak Branch’ and the ‘Belfast City’ £1 coins. On eBay, these coins fetch between £3 and £5 each.
How to check how much your £1 is worth
Prices change regularly, so to get a rough idea of your £1 coin’s value, head to eBay* and search for sold items – enter a description of the kind of coin you have, then click ‘sold listings’ on the left-hand bar.
Be wary of getting too carried away if you see any very high ‘sold’ figures though. 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.
How to cash in on your coins
The quickest way to sell is on eBay – here are a few hints, though see our eBay Selling guide for full help.
- Use as many keywords as possible. Fill the item’s auction title with search terms such as edition, year and condition. Also include close-up photos of your £1 coin in the listing.
- Always start the auction at at least £1.11. Bear in mind you’ll pay 10% closing fees if the item sells. So with a £1 coin you’ll need the auction to close at at least £1.11 to make any kind of profit. (This doesn’t factor in postage.)
- For higher value coins, 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, though this option will cost upwards of £6.45 so shouldn’t be considered if your coins are worth less.
- 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 significantly. So if you cash in now, you may lose out, or you could gain later –no one knows for sure.
And finally… if you don’t manage to sell your £1 coins for a tidy profit, at least make sure you spend them or save them before 15 October.