When a coin is worth a mint

February 6, 2012


They say look after the pennies and the pounds will follow. That can certainly be true if you have the right coins. Those lucky enough to have a collection of rarities could be sitting on a fortune.

Image via BrentDPayne

Time is a strange thing. If they last long enough, objects once ordinary become something special almost as if they are being rewarded for not being destroyed. Rarities are treasured possessions and as such are the sort of things sought by collectors.

Of course rare doesn’t always mean old. There are coins that are in circulation for short periods of time or indeed those that were minted with some errors that become particularly precious.

Collecting is not always about the pursuit of financial gain but can also be an enjoyable hobby. Many individuals spend their time amassing a unique collection based on nothing but a love of the aesthetics of the coins themselves. There are of course many more specific ways to collect and challenges to set yourself as collectors.

Some collectors may choose to collect coins based on a particular year and wile away their time seeking out all denominations from their chosen era.

Others might take a more geographical approach, either trying to get a coin for every country on the planet or just focussing on one country examples of the coinage therein.

Many might prefer a more thematic approach, collecting coins that have a particular bird or animal represented on them.

While these hobby collectors make up the majority of coin collectors there are some who are a lot more serious and a collect the rarest of the rare. These coins can be worth a significant sum.

In this world, a penny can be worth a million dollars.  That was the price gained by a one cent piece minted in 1793 as it went up for auction. This was the first year that the US produced its own coinage and this particular example featured no wear on its lettering depiction of the Liberty.

That coin is a rare example indeed but that doesn’t mean there aren’t those closer to home that are also worth a decent amount.

A UK 2p coin from 1983 has proved to be worth significantly more due to the incorrect wording on a batch minted in that year. When the 2p was introduced in 1971 they featured the words “new pence” but this practice ceased in 1982 when it was replaced with “two pence”.. These error coins are rare but sometimes slip through the net. This particular example can be worth up to £700.

Another example is the undated 20p coin which was regularly fetching £50 when discovered in 2009 but these are now even rarer and could fetch significantly more depending on how much somebody wants it.

Perhaps the rarest and most sought after coin is the 1933 Double Eagle gold coin which has sold at auction for  a staggering $7.59 million. Almost half a million of these coins were minted but none went into circulation due to the discontinuance of the gold standard. All were ordered to be handed in to the government and so there should be none in circulation and most that are found are seized by the authorities. That example remains the only one in circulation.

It these fascinating stories and histories of coins that make the subject so fascinating to those who partake.

Do you collect coins? What’s your most valuable example? Tell us about it in the comments section below.


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