When the UK switched to decimal coinage in 1971, it was decided that the word ‘new’ would be included in the denomination on some of our coins to avoid confusion between the new decimal coinage and the old currency.
By 1982 the coins were no longer new so the word was dropped, and the 2p design changed from ‘New Pence’ to ‘Two Pence’.
A common misconception is that all ‘New Pence’ coins are rare, but in fact almost 1.5 billion of these coins were initially issued in 1971 and circulating mintage figures from decimalisation to 1981 (after which the design changed) are actually all in the hundreds of millions:
As you can see from the chart above, no 2p coins were issued for circulation between 1972 and 1974, so if you find one of these in your change it will actually be taken out of a Proof set, not intended for circulation.
1983 ‘New Pence’ Error 2p
After the design changed from ‘New Pence’ to ‘Two Pence’ in 1982, a mistake was made during production of a small number of 1983 coins…
These coins were actually struck with the old inscription – ‘New Pence’.
Whilst it’s not known exactly how many of these error coins were struck, in 1983 2p coins were only struck for commemorative sets and not issued for circulation. Evidence seems to suggest that affected coins were issued as part of special souvenir sets that also did not enter general circulation – although if these sets were broken open and spent then you could be in with the chance of finding one in your change…
How much is it worth?
If you’re lucky enough to find a 1983 ‘New Pence’ 2p in your change, not only does the rarity of this coin make it more collectable, but the coin was also struck in uncirculated quality – meaning it won’t have the scratches and blemishes of circulation coins.
This means a collector would most likely be willing to pay a little more to get hold of one on the secondary market.
The individual 1983 2p coin has been known to sell for £500 – £700, however the 1983 coin sets have been known to sell for over £1,000 on the secondary market!
If you do decide to look for this coin on the eBay and other secondary market sites, beware of fraudsters looking to pass off a ‘New Pence’ 2p from any other date as a rare coin.
The image below shows a 1971 2p coin listed for £2,000! Although this coin might be considered more collectable as it was the first UK 2p ever issued, this also means that nearly 1.5 billion 1971 2p coins were struck, making it the most common 2p coin issued.
Remember that it’s the 1983 version of the coin which was struck in error and this is the one you should be looking out for.
Have you ever come across a 1983 ‘New Pence’ 2p coin? Let us 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:
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Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app