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
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
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 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
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 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
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.
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!
You can now secure the Guernsey Freesia Flowers 50p for your British Isles collection.
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 …
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…
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…
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’…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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
Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app
Every coin tells a story. But few more than America’s eight most notorious coins…
The U.S. collectible coin market can be an absolute minefield and is one of the most competitive coin collecting markets in the world.
Some of the most collectible coins date back to the 1800’s and are extremely famous. Let me tell you why…
Indian Head Penny (1859-1909)
The Indian Head Penny is famous for celebrating Native Americans, but it actually doesn’t show a Native American.
According to legend, designer James B. Longacre used a portrait of his 12 year old daughter, Sarah, wearing a headdress. It is, however, more likely that the portrait was based on a classical Greco-Roman statue Venus Accroupie (Crouching Venus).
Either way, the ‘Indian’ is not a Native American! The obverse features the head of Lady Liberty wearing a headdress, while the reverse depicts a wreath as well as the words ‘One Cent’ and a shield in the middle at the top of the coin.
Morgan Silver Dollar (1878-1921)
For the new silver dollar, designer George T. Morgan decided to portray Liberty as a goddess, inspired by Philadelphian school teacher, Anna Williams who had a fair complexion, Grecian nose and golden hair. Morgan eventually persuaded Anna Williams to sit as the model for Liberty for the obverse of the Morgan Silver Dollar.
In 1878 artists’ models were considered immoral, therefore, Morgan publicly stated that the model was a statue in a Philadelphia museum. Word soon leaked out, however, and it is rumoured that Williams was fired from her teaching job!
‘No Cents’ Liberty Head Nickel (1883)
When the new Liberty Head Nickel was issued in 1883, the denomination was nowhere to be seen, instead a large ‘V’ (Roman ‘5’) was on the reverse.
The coins were the size of the $5 gold coin in circulation at the time which created an opportunity for unscrupulous crooks who came up with a cunning plan to pass them off as $5 by gold plating the new nickels and cutting reeds into the edge by hand. The U.S Mint soon became aware and within a few weeks the design was changed to include the word ‘Cents’ under the ‘V’. The ‘No Cents’ coins are also known as ‘Racketeer’ Nickels.
Lincoln Penny (1909)
Designer Victor David Brenner added his ‘VDB’ initials to the new Lincoln Penny design in 1909 which was issued to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth.
While the public generally loved the Lincoln cent when it was first released, they didn’t like the prominence of Brenner’s initials. The U.S. Mint quickly removed the initials as it appeared as though Brenner was either boasting or advertising. This was the first cent to feature Abraham Lincoln’s motto ‘In God we trust’ on the obverse.
Morgan Dollar (1921)
When notorious outlaws Bonnie and Clyde were shot and killed by police in 1934, a 1921 Silver Morgan Dollar was recovered from the jacket of Clyde Barrow among other possessions. The outlaw lovers were believed to have committed 13 robberies among other felonies between 1932 and 1934.
The hunt for the duo captured the nation’s imagination during the Great Depression and their fame was heightened by their practice of leaving glamourous photos of themselves at crime scenes.
Even more so now, the 1921 coin is forever associated with Bonnie and Clyde.
Roosevelt Dime (1946)
In 1945 plans were quickly laid for the introduction of a new coin to honour Roosevelt after his passing. The task was assigned to John Ray Sinnock and coinage began in 1946. Controversy soon arose because sculptor Selma Burke claimed that Sinnock had stolen her design without giving her credit, however Sinnock strongly denied this.
In addition, conspiracy theorists claimed that Sinnock’s initials ‘JS’ (at the base of Roosevelt’s neck) actually referred to Russian leader Joseph Stalin because of Roosevelt’s supposed ‘communist’ learnings.
Franklin Half Dollar (1948)
The Franklin Half Dollar was designed by John R. Sinnock and his ‘JS’ initials were again seen by conspiracy theorists as a tribute to Joseph Stalin.
In addition, the crack on the Liberty Bell was controversial, some people saw it as a statement that Liberty in the United States was under threat (despite the fact that the image exactly reflects the bell’s appearance).
Finally, what appears to be a small ‘o’ and large ‘F’ on the reverse (‘oF’ in the United States of America) was rumoured to be a mistake and that the Mint would recall all 1948 coins to correct the ‘error’.
Anthony Dollar (1979)
The Anthony Dollar was revolutionary – the first circulating coin to feature a historical woman. Susan B. Anthony was an author and protest speaker among other titles but best known as President of the National American Suffrage Association. The coin was also the first small-sized Dollar that was issued for wide circulation.
However, it quickly became notorious – and almost universally rejected – because it was the same colour and about the same size as a quarter. Therefore, it was often mistaken for a Quarter, and the public refused to use it! (Interestingly, it is now a sought-after collector’s item.)
For me, one of the best things about coin collecting is the story behind the coin and I’m sure you’ll agree that these coins from America have some truly fascinating stories to tell.
Discover the coins from the USA
Today you can secure for your collection the coins your fellow American Change Checkers are collecting, from 1 cent to 1 dollar!