The world’s only silver-coloured two pence piece was sold on Friday at Charterhouse Auctions in Dorset for £1,357 – equivalent to 67,580 times its face value.
The lucky owner, David Didcock, discovered the coin in 1988 while readying the till at the petrol station he owned at the time.
The silver colour stood out immediately, and recognising its significance, he sent it off to the Royal Mint who verified its authenticity.
Since then it has been wrapped in cotton wool and kept it in a drawer for 26 years before David finally decided it was the right time to sell.
One of a kind
It is believed that the errant coin came into existence when a single cupro-nickel blank used for 5p and 10p pieces was accidentally mixed up with a batch of bronze blanks intended for striking 2p coins.
This is not the first time a Royal Mint error has dramatically inflated the value of a coin. In 2008 when the reverse of the 20p coin changed to the Royal Shield design, around 100,000 coins were accidentally struck with the previous obverse die, and as a result there was no date on the coin. The story of the undated 20p took the collecting world by storm, and even today they are selling for in excess of £50.
Another famous error is the 1983 Two Pence which was incorrectly struck with the old wording ‘New Pence’. It is not known how many have made it into circulation, but if sold at auction it is thought they could be worth several hundred pounds.
The minting process is never completely exempt from human error, so remember to always check your change carefully. Mistakes happen, and when it comes to coins, these mistakes can often be worth a lot money to sharp-eyed collectors.
It’s every Change Checker’s dream to find a significant coin which is worth a fortune. And they don’t come any more significant than the Edward VIII Sovereign which has just smashed an auction record and netted £516,000.
The incredibly rare 1937 dated gold ‘proof’ coin is the only single example available to collectors anywhere in the world. It was struck ahead of the King’s Coronation, however following the scandal which predicated Edward’s abdication from the throne in 1936, the coins became redundant and cemented their place in collecting folklore.
His left-facing portrait; the same as his predecessor George V, also represents a unique deviation from a tradition which started in the 17th century under Charles II who wished to be facing the opposite way to Oliver Cromwell.
“In the world of coins, it’s the coin’s story that makes it important and this coin has the most fantastic story” said winning bidder Mr Jordan Lott of Regal Rare Coins in Chester.
After a tense battle in the Baldwin’s auction room and some fierce bidding, the coin eventually reached a winning bid of £430,000 and with fees included this took the total price to £516,000.
It was money which Mr Lott was happy to pay; “I was the first to bid and I was determined to be the last. I would have paid another £50,000 to make sure I got it.”
The price is the highest ever recorded for a sovereign coin struck by the Royal Mint in the UK and possibly the best example of the numismatic significance of British coins in the collecting world.