How much is my coin worth? It’s a question I’m asked multiple times each day, and with some coins selling for many times their face value, I understand why you’d be keen to know.
The truth is, it’s very hard to tell you exactly what your coin is worth as it depends on so many variants. Coins are no different to any other kind of collectible in many ways; there are certain criteria which you should always look out for, which can help you to determine how collectible or valuable your coin is.
Often it’s a very difficult question to answer but with a little bit of detective work you should be able to work out an accurate value for your coin. I’ve put together some useful tips, in our 5 point guide below, to get you started:
1. Change Checker Scarcity Index
The first place to start is our Change Checker Scarcity Index. I believe this to be the single most accurate way of determining how scarce your coins are. Whilst it doesn’t give you an actual value we know that the value of a coin is directly linked to scarcity.
Historically, when trying to determine the scarcity of a coin, the mintage figure was considered the most accurate indicator. Whilst the mintage figures are undoubtedly important, our Scarcity Index also takes into consideration some very useful data from our Change Checker web app.
We combine the mintage information with two other key pieces of information:
- How many of each design are listed as “collected” by Change Checkers, indicating the relative ease of finding a particular coin.
- The number of times a design has been requested as a swap over the previous 3 months, showing the current level of collector demand.
It’s very simple to work out how scarce your coin is, each coin is given a score out of 100, the higher the score the more scarce that coin is.
2. eBay is best
Once you’ve determined the scarcity of your coin the next step would be to take a look at what has recently sold on eBay. It’s very important that you make sure you look at ‘recently sold’ coins and not just those that have been listed. Essentially, anybody can list a coin on eBay and charge whatever amount they wish.
By checking the recently sold items (and I’d suggest you look at the previous 3-5 coins sold) you will get an accurate indication of what people are willing to pay for a particular coin.
Also, if you are looking to sell any coins in your collection, I’d definitely recommend eBay as the easiest, and importantly, the most secure platform to do this.
3. Are your coins still available to buy in BU quality?
Next, it’s worth checking if the coin in your collection is still available to purchase in superior Brilliant Uncirculated quality from an official Royal Mint distributor. If it is still for sale, it’s unlikely that people would purchase a circulation quality coin for the same price.
If there are no longer any BU coins available to buy, this will work in your favour as collectors will then look for circulation quality coins to add to their collections.
4. Coin condition
It’s definitely worth checking the condition of your coin as this will, almost always, have an effect on the value. It’s no surprise that collectors favour the more pristine coins to those that are showing signs of wear and tear due to circulation.
However, your coin’s condition is not the be all and end all; it’s very rare to find a circulation 2002 Commonwealth Games £2 coin in good condition yet these sell for many times their face value.
5. Is there a story?
This can often tie-in with rarity, as the coins with a good story behind them tend to be the ones which are difficult to get your hands on! The “undated 20p” is a recent example of a such a coin. It is known as a ‘mule’ – a coin with a mismatched obverse and reverse (heads and tails). The name derives from a mule being the hybrid offspring of a horse and donkey.
In 2008 when the reverse of the 20p coin changed to the new Royal Shield design, approximately 100,000 coins were accidentally struck with the previous obverse die and therefore there was no date on the coin.
In a similar way to the Kew Gardens story, some of the prices being quoted as a result of media coverage were extraordinary. Mules are highly sought after by collectors, and an undated 20p will certainly be worth more than its face value in years to come.
The good news…
It’s always good to remember that if your coin is legal tender, it will always be worth at least its face value.
That’s why I think change collecting is the best hobby you could have!
Britannia has a long standing history with British coinage. Having first appeared on a 1672 Farthing during the reign of Charles II, she subsequently featured on a British coin in one way or another for more than 300 years. In 2008 she was surprisingly dropped from the 50 pence piece despite a Daily Mail campaign to save her.
After a short absence, in February 2015 it was announced that Britannia would be making a triumphant return to British circulating coins. Antony Dufort’s modern interpretation of Britannia was to feature on Britain’s highest denomination coin, the £2, replacing the “technology” design which had featured on the coin since 1997.
It was a very popular move from The Royal Mint, even the then Prime Minister David Cameron said: “It is great to see Britannia’s welcome return to our currency. Britannia is an enduring symbol of our national identity, ideal to help reinforce the sense of shared purpose and history for Britons.”
However, it wasn’t until 2016 when The Mint released the mintage figures for the 2015 coins that the real surprise was unveiled.
Only 650,000 of the 2015 date Britannia £2 coins had been stuck for circulation, making it one of the most scarce UK £2 coins ever! So scarce in fact that there were fewer of this coin than the England and the Scotland coins from the famous 2002 Commonwealth Games series.
The astonishing fact that Britannia had appeared on a circulating British coin in one way or another in an unbroken cycle between 1672 and 2008 was enough to ensure this £2 would be a favourite with collectors. The announcement of such a low mintage figure then created somewhat of a collecting frenzy!
The 2015 Britannia coin remains highly sought after by collectors.
The UK 2015 Britannia £2 Coin
That places it third equal in the all-time low mintage charts!
The 2002 Commonwealth Games England £2 Coin was recently confirmed as the most scarce £2 coin in the UK in our latest Scarcity Index update. It jumped up two places to the top spot increasing its score by 19 points, from 81 to 100.
But you’d be forgiven for thinking that this coin is easy to identify.
In fact, only the most eagle-eyed collectors will be able to spot the difference between the four £2 coins that make up the 2002 Commonwealth Games £2 series.
There’s a number of reasons they’re hard to tell apart. Firstly, there isn’t just one Commonwealth Games £2 coin but in fact four different designs – only identified by a hardly distinguishable cameo design representing each of the UK’s constituent nations, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England.
Further confusion arises when the flags are shrunk to less than 1mm in size, struck during the minting process and subjected to the usual wear and tear of a circulation coin. By this stage they all start to look very similar.
Tougher still, the only difference between England’s ‘St George Cross’ flag and Northern Ireland’s ‘Ulster Banner’ flag is the ‘Red Hand of Ulster’, the star and the crown which feature at the centre.
On uncirculated coins it is usually possible to see the difference between the flags and determine which coin you have found.
However, to be able to identify a circulation 2002 Commonwealth Games England £2 coin with certainty, you will likely need a magnifying instrument, such as a Phonescope. The Phonescope works by clipping onto a mobile or tablet device, magnifying the camera and allowing you to take close-up photos and videos.
The Phonescope is the perfect tool for viewing the details of coins up close.
Suitable for all popular smartphones and tablets.