Half of Moneywise readers check their change for rare coins - here's what to look out for

14 February 2019
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Nearly half of all Moneywise readers check their change for rare coins, our latest poll reveals.

Some coins can be worth thousands and if you find a rare one you could net yourself a small fortune.

Moneywise conducted a poll to find out how often our readers check their change for rare coins.

The findings show that nearly a quarter (23%) of those polled frequently check their change in the hope of finding a rare coin.

A quarter (25%) occasionally check their change, while a third (33%) are thinking of starting.

One in five (19%) are a little less enthusiastic and don’t see the point.

What to look out for

Already this year, we have seen the Kew Gardens 50p coin go for £109 on auction site eBay

There are only 210,000 of the Kew Gardens 50p coins in circulation, making it one of the rarest out there.

It was minted in 2009 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and features a design of the Chinese Pagoda.

50p coinPIctured: the rare Kew Gardens 50p piece. Image courtesy of the Royal Mint.

One of the most valuable coins out there is the 1983 2p piece. It was accidently minted with the wording ‘New Pence’ instead of ‘Two Pence’ and can fetch upwards of £500.

Other coins to look out for include the 50p pieces released to celebrate the Economic European Community in the 1990s. These have the 12 stars representing the member states at the time and go for over £50.

The 2012 Olympic 50p coin is also a rare one which could get you up to £10. It is easy to recognise as on one side it has a football pitch with an explanation of the offside rule on it.

What to check for

The simplest way to find a rare coin is to keep your eyes peeled. Once you find a coin you first of all need to make sure than it is not a fake.

Check the alignment of the image and text – if it does not look right, it’s probably a fake.

Sometimes the lettering is not quite right as scammers don’t have the correct materials or the expertise the Royal Mint has.

Also, check the coin’s surface with a magnifying glass. If you see tiny bubbles, it is probably a fake as you won’t see this on struck coins.

If you are unsure, you can always go to the Royal Mint. Its valuation service can identify and value coins for you for just £20.00.

How valuable is your coin?

Lots of things determine how valuable a coin is.

One of the biggest factors is the mintage - the number of coins produced. The lower the mintage the more valuable it is likely to be.

The condition and age of the coin is also important.

If the coin has had lots of wear and tear it is likely demand for it won’t be as high from collectors.

Generally, older coins are more valuable, but modern ones that have a design flaw or a stamping error can make them collector’s items.

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