Every keen collector knows that it is worthwhile paying close attention to the small details of your coins – it’s the only way you can ever hope to spot an error.
From edge inscription mix ups to inverted effigies, there are a few stories that crop up more often than not. However, recently, a couple of ‘error’ stories have cropped up, that Change Checker really think you should pay attention to – involving an H.G. Wells £2 and the Technology £2…
Stay tuned as we take a closer look at these ‘errors’ and help you determine if your £2 coin is a genuine rarity!
H.G. Wells £2 – Blank ‘Error’
This £2 coin was issued as part of the 2021 UK Commemorative Coin set and it marks the 75th anniversary of the death of science fiction novelist, H. G. Wells.
With the clue in the name, this bi-metallic coin is made up of a combination of a silver coloured cupro-nickel disc and an outer yellow nickel-brass ring.
In the case of this H.G. Wells £2 coin however, it appears that the blank used has a thicker yellow ring, much wider than what we’d see on normal £2 coins.
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.
There have already been estimations that if this coin was to be sold at auction, it could fetch over £1,000! We’re going to be eagerly awaiting confirmation from The Royal Mint whether this error is genuine or not. Nonetheless, it certainly makes for interesting collecting!
This coin is yet to be individually issued, so any ‘error’ versions will have come exclusively from the 2021 UK Annual Set. It’ll certainly be interesting to see if any other stories crop up after the coin’s individual issue….
Whilst there are no identical examples to compare the H.G. Wells £2 ‘error’ to, there have been previous instances of the inner and outer sections of £2 coins not quite matching up:
In the above image, 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.
Off Centre Inner Core
The inner core of this coin hasn’t been united properly prior to being struck, resulting in an off centre inner core.
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.
Faulty Outer Ring
This particular mis-strike, 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.
Bronze £2 Error
The ‘Monometallic’ £2 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.
However, in 2021, Change Checker was contacted by a collector called Amin who informed us that he had found this exact error coin but with a 2010 date.
After sending details of his coin to The Royal Mint for further information, it was confirmed to be genuine error as a result of the minting process.
This rare striking error is highly sought-after and coins have achieved extraordinary prices in private sales and auctions.
Whilst information of this coin’s sale has remained private, it’s certainly a very interesting story and we imagine the collector can expect to see a very impressive return on this coin…
We look forward to the individual release of the HG Wells £2 later this year and will certainly be keeping our eyes peeled for any unusual looking variations!
Have you ever come across any of these £2 error coins in your collection?
We’d love to know! Comment below.
Secure the 2021 UK Commemorative Coin Set – featuring the H. G. Wells £2!
Which coins should you be looking out for in your change?
We’ve taken a look at the mintage figures for UK coins to find out which ones are the rarest in circulation...
What you might be surprised by is that on our top 10 list, just 1 out of the 10 coins is a 50p!
The rarest UK coin currently in circulation is the Kew Gardens 50p, but the 9 rarest coins after that are actually £2s.
Whilst 50p coins are very popular amongst collectors at the moment, it’s certainly worth noting that it is in fact the £2 coins which you should be keeping your eyes peeled for, as some of the ones you can find in your change are very rare.
Other rare coins to look out for
Of course, this doesn’t take into account the rare error coins that have been found in circulation, such as:
- 2015 inverted effigy Britannia £2
- Olympic Aquatics 50p error
- Bronze 20p error
- Silver 2p error
- Undated 20p mule
Whilst exact mintage figures for these error coins may be unknown, we can assume that they could each be rare enough to find themselves near the top of the list.
A-Z of Great Britain 10p coins
It’s also worth noting that whilst mintage figures for the individual designs haven’t been released, if we assume that each A-Z of Great Britain 10p has been struck in equal quantities, then there would be approximately 281,000 of each design.
This would put each A-Z 10p design in equal second place on the list of the top 10 rarest coins in circulation!
What about the coins no longer in circulation?
Currently the Kew Gardens 50p is the rarest coin in circulation, but did you know that it isn’t actually the UK’s rarest 50p?
This title goes to the 1992/93 UK EC Presidency 50p, with a mintage of just 109,000 – almost half of the Kew Gardens!
In 1997, 50p coins were redesigned in the smaller specification and this coin was demonetised, meaning it is no longer in circulation.
The same can be said of the 1989 Claim of Right £2, which was demonetized in 1997 when the bi-metallic £2 coin was introduced.
This coin has a mintage of 381,400 which makes it the rarest UK £2 and would put it in second place on the list if it were still in circulation.
Are you lucky enough to have any of the top 10 rarest coins in your collection? Or perhaps you’ve even been lucky enough to get your hands on the pre-1997 coins listed above. 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:
– 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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