DAD-of-one Alun Barker spotted a rare 20p coin on eBay and snapped it up for £50 – now experts have said it could be worth over £2,000.
Alun, 43, who lives in Hull, is the only person known in the world to have the ultra rare 1990 20p.
What makes it unique is the type of metals the coin was made from when it was created by The Royal Mint three decades ago.
Rather than being produced with a bronze metal blank, known as a planchet, like every other 20p made in 1990, this coin was struck on a planchet from a foreign country.
The 20p was likely made by mistake, according to Alun, who has been collecting coins for over 30 years and has thousands stored away at home.
But after years of hoarding rare and special edition coins, care worker, Alun, says he has finally struck gold with his one-of-a-kind find.
He’s been told by experts his coin is the only one known to be in existence, and if sold, would fetch a minimum of £2,200 at auction.
Dad-of-one, Alun, said: “When I saw it I loved it straight away. I knew it was unique.
“It was fantastic to find out how unique it is. It’s brilliant news. I was over the moon.
“I’ve been told that if I want to sell it I should put a reserve on it at auction for £2,200.
“When I took it to be valued they said ‘the sky is the limit’ because it’s the only one.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to has never seen anything like it. I’m still taking it in. The magnitude of it is amazing.”
Alun purchased the coin on eBay for just £50 in December 2017 and snapped it up as a “buy it now” item.
It was listed as a 20p struck on a 1p coin planchet, but experts have confirmed its true metallic makeup.
What are the most valuable error coins?
HAVE a rummage through the change in your pocket for a coin that’s been minted with a mistake as it could be worth a small fortune.
1983 New Pence 2p coin worth up to £1,250
All 2p coins minted between February 1971 and 1982 should say “new pence” on the front, while those released after this date say “two pence”. But in 1983, a glitch meant a batch of 2p coins were printed with the old wording on them making them valuable to collectors.
Silver 2p (1971 to 1992) worth up to £1,000
These coins were accidentally struck on silver and can be easily mistaken for a 10p. James Weller from Kent found one in his change at home. He hasn’t sold it yet, but if it sells for anything like other silver 2p coins, then it could be worth more than £1,000.
All zinc £2 coin worth up to £800
The rare Standing on the Shoulders of Giants £2 coin has only been stamped on nickel brass, rather than on two types of metal – nickel brass and copper zinc. Approximately 10,270,000 of these types of coins were issued for circulation in 2007.
Bronze 20p worth up to £750
One of the rarest coins ever, the bronze 20p coin is dated 1987. The Royal Mint said it was the result of an extremely rare minting error, with a blank 1p somehow finding its way into the presses and ending up with a 20p struck onto it.
London 2012 Olympics Aquatics 50p first design worth up to £1,500
Not technically a printing error, this coin was originally minted with water passing directly over the swimmer’s face, but it was later modified to include less water so you can see the swimmer more clearly. Experts have valued this one to be worth between £1,000 and £1,500.
In January 2018 the coin was verified as authentic by the Royal Mint, who have confirmed it as genuine coinage.
After conducting his own research online, Alun soon realised just how rare his coin is and so sent it off to experts in America for a second opinion.
He sent the coin to ANACS – America’s oldest coin authentication and grading service and the third largest coin authentication company in the world.
The experts in America confirmed it is a mix of foreign metal – a copper plated steel blank – and UK coinage and is also in almost perfect condition.
Having finally found a coin “worth having”, Alun decided to get the coin valued at antique specialists, V Marshall & Sons, in Beverley.
They confirmed it’s valued at upwards of £2,200, but despite it’s huge worth, Alun says his cherished coin is not for sale.
Alun said: “I love the coin too much to sell it. It’s too valuable to me. No one has seen anything like it.
Someone offered me £10,000 – but I won’t sell it
“It makes years of collecting coins worthwhile. I finally have a coin worth having.
“I’m definitely going to keep it, there’s no way I’d sell it for £2,000.
“But everything has a price. If someone offered me £10,000 then I take it.”
The dangers of selling your coins on eBay
THE most valuable coins are usually those that have low mintage numbers or those with an error.
These are often deemed the most valuable by collectors.
Once you’ve found out whether the coin is real or not, you have a number of options – either selling it through a coin dealer, at auction or on eBay.
Sell it at auction
If you’ve got a coin that you would like to sell at auction then you can contact a member of the British Numismatic Trade Association.
They usually deal in very old coins but they may be able to help you assess whether it’s worth selling your coin at auction or whether it would be valuable to a collector.
Sell it on eBay
If you want to sell the coin you’ve found in your spare change on eBay then you need to know the risks.
Remember to set a minimum price that is higher or at the very least equal to the face value of the coin.
Even if your coin “sells” on eBay for a high price there’s no guarantee that the buyer will cough up.
In its terms and conditions, the auction website states that bidders enter a “legally binding contract to purchase an item”, but there’s no way to enforce this rule in reality.
The most eBay can do is add a note to the buyer’s account about the unpaid item or remove their ability to bid and buy.
This is because in order to sign up to the website, users do not need to put in valid bank or PayPal details before making a bid.
If a bidder refuses to pay, then the only option for sellers is to give “second chance offers” to other bidders or relist the item.
For items of a high value, eBay recommends that sellers put a limit on their listing to approve bidders.
It means bidders must email you before placing a bid but NOT that they must pay out the cash if they win.
The coin has never entered into circulation or been in a person’s pocket, and is classified as mint state 63 uncirculated, on a scale of 1-70 based on a coin’s condition.
What makes it even more unique is how it weighs 2.61 grams, rather than 3.5 gram like the traditional British 20p piece.
The coin is the first of it’s kind seen by ANACS and is the only one registered by coin experts.
It will now be kept with Alun’s huge collection of rare and valuable coins, which includes coins from abroad and special edition releases.
The Royal Mint manufactures four million coins a day, so you can see why sometimes things go wrong during the minting process.
In October, we revealed a rare 20p error coin that could be worth up to £50.
In 2008, the Royal Mint changed the design of the coin but a small batch were made without a date and around 120,000 were released into circulation.
In 1983, a minting glitch meant a batch of 2p coins were printed with the old wording – “new pence” – on them, rather than “two pence”, making them valuable to collectors.
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