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Are you carrying around more money than you think?

IPSL Image 3 June 2019 320It might be an annoying pocketful of cash, but some of the coins you are carrying around with you may be worth almost their weight in gold.

Taking a closer look at some of those coins might lead to your discovering that the coin you thought was worth just 50p could be sold at a coin collectors’ auction for £300. But when was the last time you looked?

The treasure trove in your pocket

A story in the Mirror newspaper last year revealed just how pleasantly surprised you might be to discover a valuable coin in your loose change:

  • a £2 coin minted to commemorate the Commonwealth Games in 2002, for example, might fetch between £15 and £25 at auction;
  • another £2 coin minted in 2005 to commemorate the Gunpowder Plot but which had a misprinted "Pemember, pemember the fifth of November" might be worth between £5 and £7;
  • a rare 50p coin for the aquatic Olympics currently fetches more than £800;
  • another 50p coin with a picture of the pagoda at Kew Gardens on its face may sell for £30 to £50 – but has been known to fetch as much as £120;
  • although it’s no longer in circulation, a 50p coin featuring the 12 stars of the European Single Market is worth £50 to £55 – and might leap to even higher prices once Britain leaves Europe; and
  • a 2p coin that was wrongly minted on a “silver” 10p blank and given in change to Poppy Day collectors was auctioned for more than £1,400.

These are just a few of the rare finds mentioned in the newspaper report, and if you want to study the possibilities in greater depth, you might want to browse a publication such as Coin magazine which releases its 20th anniversary edition this June.

Hurry – while stocks last

If you want to rifle through your pockets of loose change in search of hidden treasure, you might need to act fast since all the signs are there that we are moving inexorably towards a cashless society – with banknotes even, let alone coins, becoming a thing of the past.

Banks are disappearing from the high street and along with them their ATMs. Last year, according to a story in the Guardian newspaper on the 23rd of March 2019, the use of debit and credit cards exceeded the use of banknotes and coins for the first time. It predicted that within 15 years or so, cash might represent just 10% of all transactions in the UK.

Who needs cash anyway, asked the Financial Times on the 27th of February while nevertheless warning that an over-reliance on electronic and digital payments has its risks – in the event of power outages, for example. And that’s not to mention the number of small businesses that might go out of business as older people and the economically disadvantaged struggle to maintain the means of making electronic payments.

Neither does it take into account that mystery of finding a rare and valuable coin that had been just jingling around in your pocket for goodness knows how long.

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