Why 20p in the hand may be worth £300

Firm offers £50 for each coin with mistake but dealers say value will only rise further

It was an offer which had people across the country rummaging in their pockets for loose change: a specialist dealer in rare coins willing to give £50 to anyone who sent in a 20p piece minted without a date.

But it turns out that the seemingly generous offer, which had Britons scouring their wallets and purses in the hope of finding one of the elusive coins, is one that savvy consumers should refuse.

Several specialist coin dealers told The Independent yesterday that the 20p pieces could be worth up to £300 within five or 10 years, especially if they were kept in good condition and turn out to be particularly scarce.

The £50 offer was made by a privately owned company called the London Mint Office, which has no connection to the Royal Mint.

The minting mistake occurred last year, when the 20p piece was being redesigned. The new coin was supposed to shift the date from the tails side to the heads side but for one batch the Royal Mint accidentally used an old version of the Queen's head, which did not have the year printed on it. The result was a coin with mismatched sides, known as a "mule". Between 50,000 and 200,000 of the faulty 20p pieces are thought to be in circulation.

Richard Anderson, a specialist dealer in modern coins, said the 20p coins could be worth up to £300 within a decade.

"It's quite rare that a mule comes up, and every known mule that there is over the course of the years always fetches high money," he said. "So it's a bit of a punt, a bit of a speculation on their part. If anybody finds one, they should just keep hold of them, because they will appreciate."

Chris Perkins, a coin specialist and author of the book Check Your Change, said he first became aware of the faulty 20p pieces at the end of 2008, but that they had largely escaped the attention of the general public until now. He owns two of the coins himself, for which he paid between £30 and £40 each, but added that their future value depended "on the hype" surrounding them.

"What I expect the London Mint Company will do is hype it up massively and then start knocking them out for £100 or £150," he said. "Poor old ladies who don't know much about it will be ones that buy them."

The London Mint Company are not the only people trying to make a fast buck on the rare coins. Yesterday, the internet auction site eBay was flooded with listings for the coins. One was already worth £190 after attracting 34 bids, and one example could be purchased immediately for £500.

Nick Hart of the London Mint Company said he believed £50 was a "good starting price" for the coins, but that the company would consider upping its offer if the sellers were unhappy. "It's in everyone's interests that we get the price absolutely right," he said.

The Royal Mint said it could not comment on the future value of the coins, adding that this was a matter for collectors and specialist dealers. The 20p "mules" are legal tender, a spokesman said.

The last time an undated coin entered circulation was in 1672, during the reign of Charles II.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

Property Finance Partner

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on