Rare Olympic swimming 50p sells for £410 on eBay – could you have one in your change?

A RARE Olympic 50p coin has sold on eBay for a whopping £410 – or 820 times its original value.

The coin is part of the London 2012 Olympic Games series and it depicts the image of a swimmer.

This rare coin, which was released for the London 2012 Olympic Games, contains a minting error


This rare coin, which was released for the London 2012 Olympic Games, contains a minting error

But this particular version contains a mistake that makes it valuable to collectors.

The Royal Mint made a last-minute redesign of the aquatics 50p to show less water covering the swimmer, making their face more visible.

But a small number of coins were struck with the old image and ended up entering circulation.

Nobody knows exactly how many of the error coins, which were minted in 2011, were mistakenly made.

The best way to find out if your error coin is genuine

RARE and valuable coins can go for a hefty sum – but how do you know if your coin is the result of a genuine minting error?

The best way to find out if you have an error coin is to send it to the Royal Mint museum, which will analyse it and see if it is a result of a genuine minting error or not.

It’ll normally take a couple of weeks to get the results back to you.

But remember, there’s a difference between a genuine error coin and one that is just imperfect, for example with a design that is not as clear as you’d expect.

And whatever you do, don’t be tempted to splash your cash without evidence from the Mint confirming that it’s a genuine error.

This particular coin attracted 40 bids over seven days on eBay.

It had a starting price of 99p and the winning bidder also had to pay 76p for delivery.

The seller didn’t say what condition the coin is in, although the images show it has several knocks and scrapes.

Coin expert Colin Bellamy, who runs Coin Hunter, previously told The Sun that the coin could be worth between £1,000 and £1,500.

But we’ve seen examples of these coins fetching as much as £10,000 on eBay.

Another one sold for almost £600.

The old design and the new design - it's the error version with water over the swimmer's face that could be worth a fortune


The old design and the new design – it’s the error version with water over the swimmer’s face that could be worth a fortune

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.

If you’re considering selling a coin, it’s worth remembering that the value of your spare change is only worth what someone is willing to pay.

For this particular design, check to see if the water lines cross over the swimmer’s face – if they do, then your 50p could be worth a mint.

In comparison, we spotted regular 50p Olympic swimmers coins – so without the error – selling for anywhere between £1.50 and £10 on eBay.

If you’re looking to buy, be sure that you’re bidding on a genuine coin and not a fake.

See our box above for more information.

Typically, uncirculated commemorative coins sell for the most thanks to their near-mint conditions.

But you’re less likely to find these in your spare change as sellers are keen to keep hold of their pieces.

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You may also want to check your change for a rare Peter Rabbit 50p coin after one sold for £621 on eBay.

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