Is there a fortune hiding in your wallet? The rare British coins you can find in your change
Heard about the new low numbered British £5 notes selling for hundreds of pounds on eBay? (FYI you’re looking for serial number AA01.)
They're not the only piece of UK currency worth a lot more than you’d expect.
Here’s our handy guide to identifying rare and valuable British coins and notes still in circulation.
Any one of these could be lurking in your wallet right now. Let us know if you find one in the comments below!
2002 Commowealth Games £2 coin
This coin was produced to commemorate the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
Of the four minted (each representing one of the four regions of the UK), Northern Ireland is the most sought after.
While it’s the least valuable coin on our list (expect to pay around £30 for one on eBay), it’s still worth about 15 times its stated value.
2008 dateless 20p
The dateless 20p is another rare error.
Minted in 2008, it was the result of a miscommunication over which side of the coin the date should go on. In the end, between 50,000 and 200,000 pieces were issued without a date. This was more than enough to enter regular circulation and as the error is a subtle one, it's possible you could have been given one as change.
Today they sell for around £100.
Kew Gardens 50p
A total of 210,000 specimens of the Kew Gardens 50p were minted in 2008, making it the rarest design in circulation.
The strike was produced to celebrate Kew’s 250th anniversary and shows the garden’s famous pagoda encircled by a vine.
Mint specimens can sell for around £120.
2016 low numbered £5 note
The 2016 £5 note is so new you might not even have handled one yet.
But when you do, turn it over (on to the side showing Winston Churchill). Next to his portrait you'll find the serial number.
If it begins AA01 you have a first printing - meaning your note was one of the first off the presses. As they are still in very good (or even uncirculated) condition, collectors are buying them up early in the hopes they will be worth something later.
It's up to you whether you try your luck on eBay, where they've been selling for around £200, or hang on to it and see if it goes up in value.
1983 New pence 2p error
While the decimal system was introduced in Britain in 1971, currency remained marked “New Pence” for around 10 years in order to acclimatise people to the new system.
In 1982, “Two Pence” replaced “New Pence” on the 2p coin. However, in 1983 the Royal Mint accidently produced a small batch of 2p coins displaying the old phrasing.
These are very valuable today, often selling for around £500-700.
Make sure to check the date carefully though. Only "New Pence" coins marked 1983 are of any value.
London Olympics swimming 50p error
The 50p coins produced for the 2012 London Olympics are in very short supply and nearly all are worth something (the one showing the Triathlon is worth up to £30).
However, the most valuable of the lot is the first design for the aquatics issue.
It shows a swimmer’s face underwater, but was later changed to make the face more visible. While the exact number produced is unknown, it is extremely rare and in high demand.
One specimen sold for £820 on eBay in 2014.
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