Have you ever noticed something particularly unusual about one of your coins? Perhaps a missing date, denomination or an error in the design?
Well, that’s what happened to one collector who noticed something unique about their 20p coin…
A ‘spectacular error’
The 20p in question was minted in 1990 for a British overseas territory, and was sold as part of a set. However, instead of having the usual cupro-nickel finish, it was struck on a copper-plated blank intended for a different country.
Collector, Alun Barker saw this unusual coin listed on eBay in December 2017 and bought it for just £50. But he was pleasantly surprised when, just a month later in January 2018, the coin was confirmed as a genuine error by The Royal Mint, who issued a certificate of accreditation. They also confirmed it was the only known 20p in existence with with error, making it one of a kind!
Exceeding expectations at auction
Alun decided to have the coin valued by specialists, Tennants Auctioneers, who initially estimated it could fetch as much as £1,200 at auction. However, when he decided to part with the coin in August 2023, Alun was astonished to find out it had sold for a whopping £1,400!
Not the first rare 20p error…
The ‘Bronze 20p’
In 2017, collector David Crosier found a 20p coin with an unusual finish, which he assumed to be bronze plated. He sent the coin to The Royal Mint to check, and after x-ray fluorescence spectrometry, they confirmed it was a genuine minting error.
Somehow, a 1p blank had made its way into the presses and a 20p was mistakenly struck onto it.
The undated 20p
Considered by many as the ‘Holy Grail of change collecting’, the undated 20p is undoubtedly at the top of most serious collectors’ wish lists. In 2008, an unknown number of 20p coins were released into circulation without a date on either the obverse or reverse. This followed a die mix up after the new Royal Shield design was introduced.
The Royal Mint confirmed this was the first time in over 300 years that a coin had entered circulation without a date, making it extremely sought-after by collectors. They also confirmed that, whilst exact quantities are unknown, no more than 250,000 of these undated coins made it into circulation.
These coins have been listed on the secondary market with a value as high as £10m, however you should always check the sold listings on secondary market sites to see how much collectors are actually willing to pay for a coin.
Our latest eBay Tracker shows that the undated 20p is currently selling for around £52.