Have I found a rare coin? £2 ‘errors’ explained!

So you’ve noticed something’s not quite right with the £2 coin you’ve just found in your change. A quick google search of the strange variation you’ve noticed brings up a plethora of eBay listings and news articles claiming that you’ve just hit the jackpot and your ‘error’ coin is worth a small fortune!

Sadly, in this instance Google is not your friend and whilst genuine errors are out there, so too are a number of common mis-strikes and myths, or even fakes that have been manipulated to look like an error.

So what is the difference between a mis-strike and an error I hear you ask.

Put simply, a true error is caused by human mistake, such as the wrong die or metal being used to strike a coin, whereas a mis-strike is created by the mass production process, as hundreds of thousands of coins are struck, meaning variations are bound to occur, especially when dies and machinery become worn.

But which mis-strikes on the bi-metallic £2 coin should you be aware of?

I recently read Scott Wren’s article, ‘Bi-metallic “errors”… Why two is better than one’ published in Coin News which highlights some of the mis-strikes found on £2 coins and how their bi-metallic quality causes the differences to be something entirely more spectacular than those found on monometallic (single metal) coins.

Striking bi-metallic coins

In order to understand why mis-strikes on bi-metallic coins are often more pronounced than monometallic coins, it’s first a good idea to look into how these coins are produced.

When striking £2 coins, the first step is to punch a hole through a blank planchet to create the outer section. The inner core is taken from a different metal, sized to fit inside the outer ring.

inside edge - Have I found a rare coin? £2 'errors' explained!
Groove milled around the inner core of a £2 core

A groove is milled around the edge of the inner core so that when both parts are struck together, the metals will fuse as the outer ring deforms and spread into the groove, locking it into place.

Now that we know how £2 coins are struck, here are some of the mis-strikes and errors that can occur in the process…

The following images of variations found on £2 coins have been taken from Coin News for use in this blog.

Clipped Planchet

clipped planchet error - Have I found a rare coin? £2 'errors' explained!

Figure 1 shows how the inner core was punched out from the end of the sheet of metal used for blanks, forming a straight or ragged edge clip.

Whilst this also occurs with monometallic coins, the pairing with an outer ring exposes a large gap which is much more noticeable.

The Royal Mint strike millions of coins each year so it is inevitable that variances will occur during the striking process and can’t always be picked up during quality control, despite the fact that this particular coin would weigh less than the standard 12g £2 coin. However, a small quantity of coins do sometimes manage to slip through the net and as i’m sure you’ll agree, they make for interesting collecting.

But before you pay over the odds for one of these coins, beware of fakers! Some coins are manipulated to look like mis-strikes or error coins and sold to unsuspecting buyers. Check the clipped planchet edge of the coin to see if it’s genuine by making sure the detail of the design fades away towards the edge rather than suddenly stopping, which would indicate the coin had been cut.

Off Centre Inner Core

off centre inner core - Have I found a rare coin? £2 'errors' explained!

Figure 2 shows an inner core which hasn’t been united properly prior to being struck.

Due to the way the inner and outer core are struck together with the two metals being lined up and then fused together during striking, a misalignment will mean that the inner core spills into the outer ring, as seen in the image above. There might also be a gap between the two metals on the opposing join.

This mis-strike is thought to be fairly common on the bi-metallic 12 sided £1 coin as well as some of the Technology £2 coins and even foreign bimetallic coins, but have you ever spotted one in your change?

Faulty Outer Ring

faulty outer ring - Have I found a rare coin? £2 'errors' explained!

Figure 3 shows a faulty planchet or outer ring, where the inner core is exposed.

In the image above, you can actually see the specific engineering design features where the inner core is grooved to help the metal flow bond to the outer ring and fuse during striking.

Similar to the first mis-strike we looked at, this could be caused by a clipped planchet, this time created when the outer ring was punched, however coins like this may also be caused by tampering post striking, for example by fakers trying to replace the inner core of a £2 with another coin to pass off as a rare error.

The Holy Grail of Bi-metallic ‘Errors’

monometallic two pound - Have I found a rare coin? £2 'errors' explained!

Figure 4 is described as the Holy Grail of bimetallic ‘errors’ and is the result of the nickel-brass £2 blank not having the inner core section punched out before being struck.

This means that the £2 coin is made from one full piece of nickel-brass, completely contrasting the very idea of a bimetallic coin.

A 2007 monometallic £2 was verified by The Royal Mint and in the email confirming the mis-strike it was mentioned that they had only seen 4-5 similar coins before.

This rare striking error is highly sought after and coins have achieved extraordinary prices in private sales and auctions.

Foreign Planchet

foreign planchet - Have I found a rare coin? £2 'errors' explained!

Finally, figure 5 shows a £2 design struck on the wrong planchet – a blank normally used to strike a different coin.

As The Royal Mint strikes a huge quantity of coins for different denominations and even different countries, blanks can sometimes end up in the wrong striking chamber, creating a wrong or foreign planchet error.

This is actually down to human error rather than a mis-strike and the coins would normally be picked out during quality control, however some have been spotted in circulation, not only on the £2 coin, but on various different denominations across UK coins and world wide.

One of the most famous examples in the UK is the silver 2p a 2p coin struck on to a 10p blank which sold for 67,580 times its face value at auction.

So how much is my ‘error’ coin worth?

These mis-strikes and errors certainly make for interesting collecting and the rarer variations, such as monometallic £2 coins could certainly sell for over face value.

In fact, one such monometallic mis-strike found on a 2007 Technology £2 is estimated to be worth over £1,000!

Ultimately, as with all coins, it’s all down to how much an individual collector is willing to pay to add that coin to their collection.

If you’ve found a £2 coin with a mis-strike, it’s certainly worth having it verified and authenticated by The Royal Mint, who will supply a letter detailing their findings.

So have you found any interesting variations on your bimetallic £2 coins? Let us know in the comments below!

With thanks to Scott Wren from Coin News.

If you’re interested in coin collecting, our Change Checker web app is completely free to use and allows users to:

– Find and identify the coins in their pocket
– Collect and track the coins they have
– Swap their spare coins with other Change Checkers

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  1. Martin Cartwright on May 22, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    Hi, I have a World War 1 2015 £2 HMS Belfast / Navy coin, with the writing upside down. ie it’s upside down when the queens head is facing up. Where can i get it valued or is it even worth anything?

    • Rachel Hooper on May 23, 2019 at 8:05 am

      Hi Martin, that’s a great coin to have in your collection, well done for finding one. This isn’t actually an error, but not many people know that the edge lettering is applied before the coin has even been struck which is why some coins can end up with the edge lettering upside down.

  2. Fiona on May 22, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    Hi i just found a 2007 £2 coin in the bottom of my bag and the writing around the side is upside down?

    • Rachel Hooper on May 23, 2019 at 8:05 am

      Hi Fiona, this isn’t actually an error, but not many people know that the edge lettering is applied before the coin has even been struck which is why some coins can end up with the edge lettering upside down.

  3. Cindy fuller on May 17, 2019 at 1:27 am

    Hi, I’ve got a team GB 50p with the corners of the picture lined up on the flat sides of the coin

    • Rachel Hooper on May 17, 2019 at 8:05 am

      That sounds interesting Cindy. If you’d like us to take a look then you’re welcome to send a picture to info@changechecker.org

  4. Colin on May 16, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Have a northern Ireland and Wales and Scotland commonwealth games £2 with side inscriptions upside down

  5. George Davies on May 16, 2019 at 10:33 am

    I bought a 10pence coin at the Royal Mint in the package for £4.00. I found that part of the Queen’s neck and some letters were missing. It looks as if a small piece of metal had got between the blank and the Striking head.

    What do you advise?
    Kind Regards George

    • Rachel Hooper on May 16, 2019 at 10:57 am

      Hi George, this sometimes happens during the mass production process when dirt of debris gets caught in the die. Unfortunately it doesn’t add any extra value to the coin, but does make for interesting collecting.

    • Andy Brown on May 16, 2019 at 12:55 pm

      Hi Rachel,I have a clipped 2 pound coin,and an old shield one pound coin that just says one on it,with no pound printed on it. Royal mint confirmed with a letter after checking it that it’s a real coin and an error coin.

      • Rachel Hooper on May 16, 2019 at 3:08 pm

        Great find Andy! Clipped edge mis strikes make for really interesting collecting.

  6. Nigel on May 16, 2019 at 10:18 am

    Great article and comes just at the right time as I have a 2 pound Northern Island Common wealth games coin with the centre rotating, can anyone advise regards this please.

    • Rachel Hooper on May 16, 2019 at 10:24 am

      That’s an incredibly lucky find Nigel! I would definitive suggest contacting The Royal Mint to have the coin verified.

  7. Les Kent on May 16, 2019 at 9:40 am

    How about opening a 2007 proof set to find a slavery £2 coin with the wrong edge inscription,
    Does that count?.

    • Rachel Hooper on May 16, 2019 at 10:29 am

      Hi Les, how strange! Have you contacted The Royal Mint about this?

      • Les Kent on May 16, 2019 at 10:55 am

        Hi Rachel
        Yes, they sent a nice letter in return stating it is genuine and the only one know
        the inscription should read AM I NOT A MAN AND A BROTHER.
        instead reads THE FOURTH OLYMPIADS LONDON.
        I also bought two other silver proof £2 one with no inscription and
        another with the wrong inscription, both been checked by the mint
        and each unique.

      • Rachel Hooper on May 16, 2019 at 11:01 am

        That’s fantastic! We’d love to see a picture! Would you be able to send some images to info@changechecker.org please?

  8. Kristie on May 16, 2019 at 8:53 am

    I have a Commonwealth Games £2 that is blank on the faces but has the inscription around the edge.

    • Rachel Hooper on May 16, 2019 at 10:26 am

      Hi Kristie, that sounds very interesting indeed! Would you like to send a picture to info@changechecker.org so that we can take a look for you. Thanks, Rachel

      • Les Kent on May 16, 2019 at 10:37 am

        I have commonwealth games £2 that is lank on both sides
        but has the inscription on it’s edge
        on a smooth edge. and there is one for sale on ebay for £600 plus.

  9. david HILL on May 16, 2019 at 7:04 am

    despite claims on certain sites so called”upside down edge writing” is not an error……..according to royal mint info there is not a correct way(up or down facing) of stamping edges.

    DO NOT be taken in by over inflated prices using this common scam

  10. Steve Morgan on May 15, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    I have a coin that has the inner section round the wrong way how can I tell its genuine

    • Rachel Hooper on May 16, 2019 at 8:49 am

      Hi Steve, what an interesting find! Your best bet would be to send to coin to The Royal Mint to have it verified. You can find more info about the inverted effigy £2 here: https://www.changechecker.org/2016/06/24/mis-strikes-and-myths/

    • Liza Jackson on May 21, 2019 at 4:15 pm

      I have a ‘first world war’ £2 coin with part of the word ‘You’ slightly off centre so mixing the two metal’s.

      • Rachel Hooper on May 21, 2019 at 4:32 pm

        Hi liza, that sounds like an interesting find. You’re welcome to send a picture to info@changechecker.org if you’d like us to take a look. Thanks, Rachel

  11. David on May 15, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    Useful and interesting article as always Rachel. Certainly some weird pricing on that well known auction site!

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