World coins

The coins that find their way into your change…

Coins from Crown dependencies and overseas British territories can sometimes make an unexpected appearance in our change.

Sure, this can be an annoyance as technically the coins are not legal tender in the UK, but from a collecting point of view, new and interesting designs are always a bonus!

In our latest coin hunt competition, we went head to head with 10 YouTube Coin Hunters for a 50p coin hunt and it was amazing to see how many of the teams stumbled across coins that shouldn’t be in our change…

Here are some of the unexpected coins we came across:

2012 Bailiwick of Jersey 50p

The coins that find their way into your change...

Yasmin and I were lucky enough to come across this 2012 Bailiwick of Jersey 50p in our coin hunt.

The coin features Jersey’s Grosnez Castle on the reverse surrounded by the lettering ‘Bailiwick of Jersey’. The obverse features the Arnold Machin engraving of Queen Elizabeth II.

Interestingly, 2012 dated Bailiwick of Jersey 50p coins were also struck in 2013 and 2014, giving this particular coin a total mintage of 365,000.

Jersey’s coinage is not legal tender in the rest of the UK, but the lower mintage figures of the island’s coins compared to the UK makes them particularly scarce and collectible, so it was a great surprise to find a Jersey coin amongst our 50ps!

Jersey’s coin mintages are significantly lower because of their smaller population of only 100,000.

2012 Guernsey Freesia Flowers 50p

The coins that find their way into your change...

During his coin hunt, Christopher Collects managed to find a 2012 Freesia Flowers coin from Guernsey.

This beautiful 50p features two crossed freesia flowers on the reverse design, however it is the obverse design which is particularly special.

The coins that find their way into your change...

The obverse features Raphael Maklouf’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II with the lettering ‘Bailiwick of Guernsey’ above, and also a small Guernsey Coat of Arms to the left.

This addition on the obverse makes the Guernsey 50p stand out when compared to UK 50p coins.

We don’t know the mintage figures for this coin, however it will likely be fairly low when compared to UK figures, due to Guernsey’s smaller population.

2018 Isle of Man Imperial State Crown 50p

The coins that find their way into your change...

Coin Cupboard was very lucky and also found a Bailiwick of Jersey 50p, as well as an Imperial State Crown 50p from the Isle of Man.

The Imperial State Crown 50p was issued in 2018 as part of a five coin set celebrating the Sapphire Coronation Anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

A limited number of each coin entered circulation on the Isle of Man, although we don’t know the exact mintage figure for this coin.

The coins that find their way into your change...

The reverse design shows the Coronation Crown and the obverse features Jody Clark’s most recent portrait of the Queen which, unlike UK coins, includes her shoulders.

1999 East Caribbean States 1 Dollar

The coins that find their way into your change...

Whilst you might expect a few British Isles coins to turn up every now and again, we certainly weren’t expecting to find this coin in our 50p bank bag!

In fact, both team Change Checker and Dom Collects came across one of these unusual coins in our change.

This 1 dollar was issued from 1989 to 2000 in the Eastern Caribbean States, but how did it find its way into our UK change?

As a British Overseas Territory, the East Caribbean States currency features the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.

This, along with the coin’s size which is very close to the UK 50p, means it has managed to get mixed up with UK change and passed off as a 50p.

The coins that find their way into your change...

However, there is one very significant difference between this coin and a 50p, and that’s the shape. The East Caribbean States dollar is actually decagonal (10 sided) and features milling along every other edge of the coin.

You can imagine just how surprising it was to come across this coin in the middle of our 50p hunt, and how unusual still that we weren’t the only team to find one!

It just goes to show how many fascinating coins find their way into our change and why it’s always worthing checking to see if you’ve found a coin which was intended for circulation in the UK.


Secure your Guernsey Freesia Flowers 50p coin today!

The coins that find their way into your change...

You can now secure the Guernsey Freesia Flowers 50p for your British Isles collection.

Click here to secure this coin today.

11 of the world’s most oddly shaped coins…

One of the most fascinating things about coin collecting is of course the design on the coin – but what about the shape of the coin itself? As minting technology continues to advance, coins are being struck in all kinds of exciting and innovative shapes.

So I’ve put together selection of 11 unusually shaped collectable coins from around the world…

1. The WWI Brodie Helmet coin

Canada 2018 Silver Helmet Coin Product Image Top - This remarkable new Armistice Centenary issue is so unique its production techniques have been kept a closely guarded secret…

To commemorate the Armistice Centenary, The Royal Canadian Mint issued a remarkable new coin to honour each and every fallen soldier.

Struck in the shape of a WWI Brodie Helmet, it is more deeply curved surface than any other concave or convex-shaped coin I’ve seen before. The design is so unique in fact, that the Mint have kept the minting technique a closely guarded secret.

2. The FIRST rugby coin of its kind…

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To mark the Rugby World Cup in 2015, France issued the first ever coin shaped like a rugby ball.

The concave coins proved to be extremely popular with collectors worldwide, with many keen to add a coin with such a unique pedigree to their collections.

3. A coin shaped like a country… 

map coin - Discover the world’s 10 most oddly shaped coins...

The Perth Mint regularly issue map-shaped coins, taking advantage of their country’s unique and recognisable outline.

This series makes use of purpose-built tooling and die design to give the coin its distinctive shape.

The first coin in the series featured the Kookaburra and was issued in 2012. Since then there have been a variety of different animals to feature on the coin, with the most recent being the Dingo.

4. The ‘Imperial Egg’…

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This impressive looking coin boasts beautiful enamelled colour and a shimmering gemstone inlay.

The ‘Imperial Egg’ Coin is based on the work of Fabergé and proved to be very popular with collectors, especially during the Easter period.

5. You’ll be lucky to find one of these…

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You certainly won’t find this Four-Leaf Clover Coin in a field, no matter how hard you look! Legend has it that Eve took a four-leaf-clover from paradise as a memento for the wonderful time she had spent there – they’ve been considered lucky ever since.

Struck in gold to a proof finish, this cleverly produced coin could certainly be regarded as lucky by collectors who have one in their collection – as it is now highly sought-after.

6. The Earth-shattering coin… 

meteorite 1 - Discover the world’s 10 most oddly shaped coins...

The extra-terrestrial chondrite that has been set into the centre of this coin was sourced from a meteorite that crash-landed in Morocco in 2005. The space rock shattered into several pieces when it entered the Earth’s atmosphere.

The coin itself has been struck in a concave shape to represent the crater in which the piece of meteorite landed.

7. Is it a coin or is it a bar? It’s both…

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This rectangular silver coin-bar features one of the world’s most iconic landmarks – London’s Tower Bridge.

It’s not often that you see coins minted in this shape as the ‘bar’ format is usually reserved for bullion.

This stunning coin boasts an intricately detailed engraving and tiny details can be seen on the Tower Bridge to create windows, clock and brickwork.

8. The poppy-shaped remembrance coin…

poppy1 - Discover the world’s 10 most oddly shaped coins...

This coin’s unique shape and rich red printing on the reverse takes inspiration from the poppy, which has become synonymous throughout the world as a symbol of remembrance and the charitable work of The Royal British Legion.

Issued to commemorate the end of the First World War and to Remember the Fallen, the Poppy Coin is a significant issue that is poignant to many.

9. The coin that sold out in two days…

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This remarkable coin is shaped like the iconic Canadian maple leaf, and proved so popular that it sold out at the Royal Canadian Mint in just 2 days.

Canadian Maple Leaf coins are some of the world’s most recognised Silver coins. This issue takes the design to a whole new level and comes complete with a special wooden display case.

10. The coin that combines heaven and earth…

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Issued in China since 221 BCE, the Chinese Lucky Cash Coin features a square hole at its centre to represent Earth, while the circle symbolises heaven. This combination of heaven and earth make the coin a symbol of harmony and prosperity.

Chinese fortune-tellers would use cash coins, a tortoise shell, and their skill at numerology to tell the future. Because of their association with mystical prediction, these coins from China are thought to bring good luck.

11. And last but not least…

russian dolls - Discover the world’s 10 most oddly shaped coins...

The playful Russian ‘Matryoshka Dolls’ first appeared in the late 19th century, now they’ve been immortalised on a silver coin.

This oval issue is displayed within special bespoke packagingwhich consists of two traditional wooden nesting dolls placed one inside the other – the coin and packaging are both something that I’ve never come across before!

Are you lucky enough to have any of these coins in your collection, or perhaps you’ve seen another coin that you think should be on the list? Let me know in the comments below


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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Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app

The story of the 1885 Trade Dollar worth $ millions!

We were recently asked to identify an unusual coin, which on first glance appeared to be a US Trade Dollar from 1885. However, once we started researching this coin, it became obvious that it must have been a fake.

Here’s why a genuine 1885 Trade Dollar would be impossible to find…

One of the rarest coins on the planet

Earlier this year, the finest known 1885 Trade Dollar was sold for an eye watering $3.9 million at Heritage Auctions! Whilst this US coin may not be familiar to UK Change Checkers, it is incredibly rare – perhaps one of the rarest coins on the planet.

The story of the 1885 Trade Dollar worth $ millions!
1885 Trade Dollar. Credit: tradedollar.org

The US Trade Dollar was designed by William Barber and features Lady Liberty seated on a pedestal of merchandise, facing across the sea and holding an olive branch. On the reverse an eagle holds branches ladon with berries within its talons – an iconic American image. This design remained unchanged besides minor modifications up until the last coin of the series was struck.

Creation of the Trade Dollar

Made from .900 Silver, these coins were struck primarily for trade with Asia and were competing against the other large silver trade coins which had already become popular in the East.

The story of the 1885 Trade Dollar worth $ millions!
Silver Trade Dollars of East Asia. Credit: antiquesage.com

The 1873 Coinage Act made these coins legal tender for payments up to five dollars and many made their way into American commercial channels, despite the majority being sent to Asia.

As their distribution across America became more widespread and the price of silver fell the coins were demonetised, although many 1873 – 1883 Trade Dollars can still be found on the secondary market today and are often sought-after by US collectors.

The greatest numismatic mystery…

In 1878, production of circulation strikes officially stopped. The Philadelphia Mint continued to strike Trade Dollars after this, however the coins were only issued in proof quality for numismatic purposes.

The story of the 1885 Trade Dollar worth $ millions!
Secon Philadelphia Mint. 1833 – 1901

It was initially believed that the final year of production was 1883, however over two decades later, 1884 and 1885 dated Trade Dollars created a sensation when they appeared on the secondary market.

Incredibly, just 10 1884 proof quality Trade Dollars were struck and more astonishing still is that only 5 of these coins were struck in 1885!

Imagine how exciting it would have been to first find out about these secret coins, and how desperate American collectors must have been to get their hands on one!

Lack of documentation means the origins behind their creation still remains one of the greatest numismatic mysteries… It’s actually thought that employees from the Philadelphia Mint secretively struck the coins after production was halted.

Sold for $3.9 million!

All 5 coins from 1885 are now accounted for and are owned in private collections, meaning the public rarely get the chance to see these coins exhibited.

A few of the 1885 Trade Dollars have sold at private auction, reaching phenomenal prices.

One of the finest specimens from the Eliasberg Collection appeared at Heritage Auctions this year and sold for $3.9 million!

President of Heritage Auctions, Greg Rohan said, “Owning the finest-known [1885 Trade Dollar] specimen is to own an enduring symbol of numismatic and American history.”

The story of the 1885 Trade Dollar worth $ millions!
Celebrating the $3.9 million sale of the finest-graded 1885 Trade dollar is (from left to right) Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions, Dell Loy Hansen, the new owner of the finest known 1885 Trade dollar and John Brush, President of David Lawrence Rare Coins. Credit: Heritage Auctions, HA.com

So, whilst the 1885 Trade Dollar would be an exceptional coin for any collector to come across, as all 5 1885 Trade Dollars are accounted for, the only explanation for the coin we were asked to look at is that unfortunately it must have been a fake.

It really would be amazing to be able to own a coin as rare as this though! What would you do if you came across such a unique coin in your change?

There are so many fascinating stories about different coins from all around the world and if you have a story about a rare or unusual coin, we’d love to hear it!


Discover the coins USA Change Checkers are collecting!

The story of the 1885 Trade Dollar worth $ millions!

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