Mis-strikes and myths

Every keen collector knows that it is worthwhile paying close attention to the small details of your coins – it’s the only way you can ever hope to spot an error. However, it’s also important to know when you have a genuine rarity.

There are a few stories that crop up more often than others, so today I’d like to help dispel some of the myths about UK coins.


2016 £2 coins edge inscription mix up

In 2020, a small collection of the 2016 Shakespeare Tragedy £2 coins were found with the wrong edge inscription on them. A mix up of blanks led to some of the Shakespeare Tragedy £2 coins being struck with the edge inscription of the First World War Army £2, which was issued in the same year.

2016 £2 coins edge inscription mix-up

‘Errors’ like these can occur when blanks get mixed up or aren’t properly changed over when striking a new batch of coins.

This type of miss-strike isn’t very common but it can happen when coins are struck in the same year, like the 2013 London Underground £2 coins, where some were found with the incorrect edge inscriptions!

One of a kind 20p struck on a 1p blank

In 2018, the news broke of a one of a kind coin purchased on eBay for just £50 now being valued at over £2,000!

20p coin struck on a 1p blank. Credit: Alun Barker/SWNS

This unique 20p coin struck onto a 1p blank has been verified by The Royal Mint as a genuine coin and was also sent to ANACS (America’s oldest coin authentication and grading service) and confirmed to contain a mix of foreign metals to form a copper plated steel blank. 

It’s the first of its kind seen by ANACS and experts have suggested it would fetch a minimum of £2,200 at auction.

The undated 20p

It’s regarded by many as the Holy Grail of change collecting, and back in 2008, the undated 20p saga encouraged an entire country to start carefully checking their coins. In fact plenty of collectors are still doing just that in the hope of finding one.

The 2008 Undated 20p

In 2008, the reverse of each denomination from 1p to £1 was redesigned by Matthew Dent and so The Royal Mint produced a new die with the date on the obverse. 

However, when the new Royal Shield 20p coins were struck for circulation, the old die was accidentally used. The Royal Mint confirmed that a batch of no more than 250,000 were issued with no date on either side of the coin.

The 2014 Year of the Horse ‘Mule’ Coin

A “mule” is a coin where one of the sides has been struck with the wrong die.  And that’s what happened with some of The Royal Mint’s 2014 Year of the Horse coins.

The 2014 ‘Mule’ Year of the Horse 1oz Silver Coin

The Royal Mint acknowledged the error, which resulted in approximately 17,000 Britannia coins being struck with the non-denticled Year of the Horse obverse and 38,000 Year of the Horse coins with the denticled Britannia version as their obverse. At the time listings on eBay were as high as £500.

The ‘Silver’ 2p striking error

The 2015 dated ‘Silver’ 2 pence coin was dropped into a Royal British Legion collection tin in Wiltshire a few weeks ago and made headline news nationwide.

The 2015 Rare 'Silver' 2p
The 2015 Rare ‘Silver’ 2p

The coin was confirmed as an extremely sought-after minting error after a 10p ‘blank’ found its way into the presses and a 2p was accidentally struck onto it. 

Errors like this are extremely rare, but The Royal Mint verified the authenticity of the coin. There has only ever been one other ‘silver’ 2p which sold in 2014 for £1,357.

The Inverted Effigy £2

In 2015, a small number of “Inverted Effigy” £2 Coins entered circulation with the Queen’s head rotated clockwise by approximately 150 degrees.

britannia 2 pound coin error2 0031 - Just Discovered: Rare “Inverted Effigy” £2 Coin

First discovered by a Change Checker, and later confirmed as genuine by The Royal Mint, this unusual strike appears on a handful of the 2015 Britannia £2 Coins.

The Royal Mint has accounted for the seemingly impossible misalignment of the Queen’s effigy as almost certainly the result of one of the dies working loose and rotating during the striking process”.

The first-year 2015 £2 Britannia is already one of the most-scarce circulating £2 coins ever issued with just 650,000 coins passing through banks and cash centres.

We have analysed 5,000 circulation coins and our results suggest that the Inverted Effigy may have affected as few as 1 in 200 of the coins struck – in other words around just 3,250 coins.

Dual Dated £1

Following reports by Change Checker and in the national press of dual dated 12 sided £1 coins, The Royal Mint has officially confirmed the error caused by a die mix up.

nations of the crown mule 2 amends - Why the latest Royal Mint “error” is the hardest to find yet. Plus what it might be worth…
The error is so small, it cannot be seen with the naked eye.

However, this is one of the hardest errors ever to spot because it’s incredibly difficult to see the micro-engraved date on the reverse.

It’s worth checking any 2016 coins just inside the rim of the design-side of the coin, where you will see some tiny writing. You’ll almost certainly need a Microscope or Phonescope to properly see the writing, which should reveal the date. You’re looking for a 2016 obverse-dated coin with 2017 micro-engraving on the reverse.

The Royal Mint has given no indication of how many Dual-dated £1 Coins ever went into circulation – and it’s quite likely they do not even know. This makes it difficult to put a value on the coin, but we understand that at least one example was sold for £2,500 to a buyer in Spain in 2017, which probably marks the likely ceiling for value.


2007 Abolition of Slavery £2

There is a misconception that there were two types of the Abolition of Slavery £2 coin struck for circulation. It is true that two versions of the coins exist– one has a textured finish whereas the other has a smooth finish and features the artist, David Gentleman’s initials (circled).

2007 Myths blog
The Abolition of Slavery £2 Coins

The key difference is that only the textured version was struck for circulation, and if you find one of the smoother types in your change, you have actually found a coin which has been taken out of a presentation pack. This makes it considerably rarer than the circulating version, so it is worth keeping rather than spending!

The 2005 Gun Powder Plot £2 spelling mistake

The 2005 Gunpowder Plot £2 commemorates the 400th anniversary of Guy Fawkes’ failed assassination attempt on King James I, but the coin is more familiar to collectors for having a spelling mistake in the edge inscription.

The 2005 Gunpowder Plot £2 Coin Spelling mistake

The timeless quote “Remember, remember the fifth of November” has been found with various combinations of Pemember, Pemembep, Novemebep and so on. The common factor here is the ‘R’ which appears as a ‘P’.

Sadly for collectors this is apparently not a striking error. The explanation from The Royal Mint is that the down-stroke of the R coincides with the milling around the edge, and as the coin has worn over time, the letter has become less defined.

This categorical statement from the Mint means that any mark-up in price for a supposed ‘error’ is completely unjustified, and although it makes the coin more interesting, it is not the mistake which it is often perceived to be.

The Battle of Britain 50p with no denomination

The Brilliant Uncirculated 50p was issued early in 2015 and was quickly dubbed an error coin. The coins, which were sold in presentation packs, had been struck without the denomination in either numbers or writing anywhere on the coin.

After the controversy surrounding the coin erupted, The Royal Mint confirmed that the 50p intended for circulation later on in the year would have the ’50 PENCE’ denomination.

The Battle of Britain 50p with three different obverses

Although this Battle of Britain 50p fails to feature a denomination on the Brilliant Uncirculated version and despite the fact that each obverse is different, The Royal Mint claim this was intentional and therefore is not an error.

Upside down edge lettering

Depending on the denomination, some coins will have edge lettering to help against counterfeiting. What you may not know though, is the edge lettering is applied before the coin has even been struck which is why some coins can end up with the edge lettering upside down.

A £2 coin with upside down edge lettering

More recently a story of a ‘rare £1 coin error’ surfaced after a round pound sold on the secondary market for £155. The supposed error was that the edge inscription “DECUS ET TUTAMEN” appeared upside down on the coin. So, in this case, it isn’t technically an error but rather a common mistake as a result of mass production.

It’s the little details like these that make collecting so interesting – and hopefully we’ve shed a bit more light on some of the most popular coin mis-strikes and myths in UK coinage. The minting process is never completely exempt from human error, so remember to always check your change carefully.  Mistakes happen, and when it comes to coins, these mistakes can often be worth a lot money to sharp-eyed collectors.


The ‘must have’ tool for Change Checkers

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  1. Ian on July 21, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Hi there I have a 10p 2016 coin with drip marks on it like when it was moulded is this rare

    • Yasmin Britton on July 21, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      Hi Ian, we’d love to see a picture can you post one to our Facebook page? It’s possible it was a production error, have you tried contacting the Royal Mint? Thanks, Yasmin

  2. Adam on July 18, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    I have a Magna Carta £2 coin which has the side lettering upside down? Just wondering if this is a collectors coin or so… Thanks

    • Yasmin Britton on July 21, 2016 at 4:15 pm

      Hi Adam, the Magna Carta £2 coin has only recently been released into circulation so well done for finding one. Unfortunately the upside down edge lettering isn’t an error. Hope this helps. Thanks, Yasmin

  3. Adam on July 18, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    I have a Magna Carta £2 which has upside down edge lettering

  4. Cliff Smith on July 17, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    Hi, Ive been collecting coins on and off since I was a nipper, I particularly like error coins and have what i believe may be an unique £2 coin. The central inserted part appears to have been struck between two other £2 coins which themselves have been caught in the press, leaving an incuse impression of HM head one side and a proud impression of the reverse the other. This has then been restruck the other way around. Hence you have part of the reverse showing on the obverse around HM head. And a reverse (part showing)incuse impression of HM head on the reverse. Ive sent pics to the Mint, to a Mr Clark but had no response after 2 months. How can i get a pic of it on here. Its something to be shared amongst error coin lovers.

    • Yasmin Britton on July 18, 2016 at 11:17 am

      Hi Cliff, this sounds really interesting, we’d love to see a picture. Would you mind posting one to our Facebook page? http://www.facebook.com/changechecker Thanks, Yasmin

  5. Craig on July 15, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Hi there I have The 2005 Gunpowder Plot £2 Coin Spelling mistake but the writing around the edge is upside down can you tell me how much it’s worth thanks

  6. Nadia Wakefield on July 13, 2016 at 5:16 am

    I really would be most grateful if I could get some expert advice from you as I’ve tried not too much. So far the relevant parties seem to show little interest.
    I am not crazy I work hard and am a single mother of three children and the coins / medals I have I believe to be of interest to the right person but, I would appreciate the advice you may be able to give me. I have researched and there always seems to be conflict between the importance or value.
    Look forward to hearing from you I am not too sure as to whether it wise to leave my Mobile so I’ll await a reply perhaps I can call a member of the team. Thanks again

  7. Mick Webb on July 10, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    I have a £1 coin that is dated 1996 . The picture on the coin is that of a Rampant lion which should be dated 1994 or 1999 also the edge inscription is DECUS ET TUTAMAN but should read NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT .. Could you please tell me if this is correct

    • Yasmin Britton on July 11, 2016 at 10:21 am

      Hi Mick, unfortunately this sounds like a fake £1. Here’s a link to our blog on tips of how to spot a fake: https://blog.changechecker.org/2013/10/30/could-you-spot-a-fake-1-coin/ Hope this helps. Thanks, Yasmin

      • Mick Webb on July 11, 2016 at 2:01 pm

        Thanks fpr the link , after checking the points on the link it appears that the queens head and the lion are in line . The edge inscription and the date are correct for the year , but the rampant lion is the part that does not fit the year .

  8. Dee on July 2, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    Hi, I have a £1 Oak Tree with a date of 1997 and the E & L and some of the dots around the edge missing. Is this a fake as it says the years of issue were ’87 & ’92? In all other respects it hardly differs from one dated ’87 so a good fake then?

  9. donna on July 2, 2016 at 2:23 am

    Hey guys, im new to this change checker, i got a tip off a client (im a hairdresser) and in it was a 50p wwf 2011 and thats how it all started a few weeks ago, im now a coin geek and check everyone that gets passed threw my hands, ive came across a pound coin from 2006 and on the back side its a skull with words saying ” discovery of neanderthal skull in gibraltar 1848″ can anyone help me with information, thanks in advance xxxx

    • Yasmin Britton on July 11, 2016 at 11:56 am

      Hi Donna, unfortunately we don’t have much info regarding coins from Gibraltar so i’m unable to tell you the mintage figure of this particular coin. We are looking to add coins from the British Isles and Gibraltar to the Change Checker app in the future though. Hope this helps. Thanks, Yasmin

    • tobyone on July 11, 2016 at 8:53 pm

      Hi Donna, my wife use to own a post office and it was a great place for a coin collector to be in as you use to go through all the bags of coins that she got in, so far I have managed to get from Gibraltar the following £1 coins. 150 Anniversary of the first Gibraltar coin 1989, Referendum 1967-1993, National Day 1995, Montis insignia calpe 2001, Amicus Christi Georgius 2003, The Great Siege 2004, Discovery of a Neanderthal skull 2009, and Dragon Tree 2015. So their are a lot more out their I hope this info is of use to you.

      • Donna fowell on July 12, 2016 at 8:08 pm

        Hey guys, I’m a newbie collector and it all started with one of my lovely ladies (I’m a hairdresser, beautician and barber) gsave me a tip, and amongst it was a 50p 2011 WWF and I haven’t looked back since!!! Its nice to read about the coins and all their how’s why’s and when’s!!! Never thought I’d see the day I admitted to being a geek ha, any help advice and info would be greatly appreciated xxxx

  10. Karen Robinson on July 1, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    Hi I have a £2 the first world war 1914-1918, around the queens head the tiny dots are not central, is it worth anything Plz?
    EBay has lots of the same coin with the dots not central and the prices range from £25 and £1500.00, so any feedback would be great,

  11. Paul Coombs on July 1, 2016 at 6:02 am

    I have found a 2008 £1 coin, which has the reverse upside down. I am pretty certain it is not a fake. How do I find out its value?

  12. Vicky on June 30, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    I have a lord Kirchner coin and I believe one maybe a misprint. The dots around the edge don’t go all the way round. On the front of the coin the writing above YOU you can’t read it. Also the sleeve is in the gold bit but it is lower than usually.

  13. Jack Mako on June 30, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Don’t agree that royal mint get to decide what is an error, surely an error is a deviation from the approved benchmark. So any deviation is an error, otherwise letting those that make the errors decide if they are doing the job properly is ridiculous.

  14. Jason latham on June 29, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    I have a silver 2p dated 2010 same design as the one above? Wold you recommend getting it verified by the Royal Mint in the first instance?

    • Yasmin Britton on June 30, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      Hi Jason, yes it’s definitely worth being checked out. Thanks, Yasmin

  15. pete on June 29, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    what news of the 2015 royal navy two pound coin is it being put in circulation or not

  16. pete on June 29, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    just had a 2015 one pound coin with the words on the edge are upside down

  17. Roy Walker on June 29, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    I have 3 large 50p dated 1952/1994 ,are they worth anything ?

  18. Yasmin Britton on June 29, 2016 at 8:26 am

    Hello, it could be because the Mary Rose £2 is quite a sought after coin meaning collectors are more likely to buy it as opposed to other £2 coins. Thanks, Yasmin

  19. Helen McCaherty on June 28, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Have you a picture of the first £2 coin and when they came out. Thank you x

  20. Stuart Ferguson on June 28, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    Hello, I have a 1971 New pence 2p coin which is Silver. It seems to be of a similar mistake to the 2015 2p Silver coin

    • Yasmin Britton on June 28, 2016 at 1:29 pm

      Hi Stuart, this sounds interesting. Have you tried contacting the Royal Mint to get the coin verified? Thanks, Yasmin

    • Drew mason on July 15, 2016 at 2:25 am

      Hello, I also have what seems to be a silver 2 pence, mine is dated 1987.
      What is the best way to check the authenticity of the coin?

      • Yasmin Britton on July 15, 2016 at 9:07 am

        Hi Stuart, we recommend that you contact the Royal Mint. They may require you to send off the coin to them in order for it to be verified. Hope this helps. Thanks, Yasmin

  21. Peter Twells on June 28, 2016 at 9:11 am

    I have a 2003 5p coin with the missing two zeros 2 3 . Is this a known error coin? Had a good look at it under a jewellers eyepiece and it is smooth no scratches to indicate it has been tampered with.
    Any comments please.

    • Yasmin Britton on June 28, 2016 at 10:20 am

      Hi Peter, its sounds like this could just be poor striking. Each die lasts 500,000 coins so the coin you have could have been one of the last before the die was changed. I hope this helps. Thanks, Yasmin

  22. Becca7 on June 27, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    I have a couple of the £2 coins with upside down inscriptions on. I checked on the royal mint website though and they say it’s not an error. They said the ‘heads’ and ‘tails’ as it were, are struck first and then the inscription is just made whichever way up the coins fall so there’s a 50/50 chance of either way up, making it not an error or mistake unfortunately.

    • Yasmin Britton on June 28, 2016 at 10:14 am

      Hi Becca, the inscription is actually rolled onto the coin blank before being struck between the dies. You can read more about the striking process on our blog: https://blog.changechecker.org/2016/05/23/ive-just-struck-my-first-uk-coin/ Thanks, Yasmin

      • Rebecca Charters on July 1, 2016 at 8:34 am

        Ahh yes, you’re right Yasmin! Sorry! I read the information ( http://www.royalmint.com/help/help/edge-inscription-upside-down ) ages ago and thought it was the other way around. But yes, you’re right, the inscription is done first. They still deny it being an error though unfortunately.

      • Becca7 on July 1, 2016 at 8:41 am

        Ahh yes, you’re right Yasmin! Sorry! I read the information ( http://www.royalmint.com/help/help/edge-inscription-upside-down ) ages ago and thought it was the other way around. But yes, you’re right, the inscription is done first. They still deny it being an error though unfortunately.

      • Paul Coombs on July 2, 2016 at 1:06 am

        I have a 2003 Royal Arms one pound coin. The reverse is upside down. I do not think it is a fake. How do I establish its value?

  23. Peter Mc Garry on June 27, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    I have the 2005 £2 it has the spelling mistake, it also has the text upside down. Any Value?

    • Yasmin Britton on June 28, 2016 at 10:22 am

      Hi Peter, unfortunately the spelling mistake and upside down text have genuine reasons why they do so unfortunately they are not errors. Still very interesting to keep hold of this coin but we are unable to offer a valuation. Thanks, Yasmin

  24. Peter McGarry on June 27, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    I have the 2005 £2 coin which has the wrong spelling, it also has the text upside down. Any Value?

  25. Gavin evans on June 27, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    Hi, I have a 50p with no edging around around the outside of the coin, it is a 2004 Britannia coin, is this significant in some way?

    I have been collecting for almost a year now and am finding it a very interesting hobby and have collected many coins so far.

    Please help!

    • Yasmin Britton on June 28, 2016 at 10:02 am

      Hi Gavin, it’s great to hear you are enjoying collecting coins. It could be where the design has worn over the years, have you compared it to a newer Britannia 50p? Thanks, Yasmin

  26. Cindy on June 27, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    I have a couple of £1 Scottish thistle coins that have a pearly finish on the obverse side, is this an error or fake?

    • Yasmin Britton on June 28, 2016 at 9:59 am

      Hi Cindy, i’m afraid i’m never heard about or seen the Thistle £1 with a pearly finish. Would you post a photo on our Facebook or Twitter? http://www.facebook.com/changechecker or @changechecker. Thanks, Yasmin

  27. Scott Martin on June 27, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Hi i have a 20 pence coin its the newer type with the shield on the one face, the other side which should contain the queens head is blank, it is showing a very very faint outline of her head but you can only see it if you tilt the coin, and there is no date on the coin

    • Yasmin Britton on June 28, 2016 at 9:57 am

      Hi Scott, this sounds very strange. Would you post a photo on our Facebook page ( http://www.facebook.com/changechecker) or tweet us the image @changechecker ? We’d love to see this. Thanks, Yasmin

  28. Vic Kelly on June 27, 2016 at 7:51 am

    I have a Kingdom Brunel £2 coin that as the the word dound on it instead of pound, is it worth anything ?

    • Yasmin Britton on June 28, 2016 at 9:55 am

      Hi Vic, in this particular case, it is not an error – it is just poor striking. When the outer and inner sections of a £2 coin are bonded, a slight mis-alignment can have an effect on either part. In this case, the bottom of the word ‘POUNDS’ on the outer brass ring has been cut off, giving the ‘P’ the appearance of a ‘D’. It’s always worth keeping interesting coins like this however we are unable to offer a valuation. Thanks, Yasmin

  29. Andrew Cummings on June 26, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Yes I have 4x Magna Carta £2 coins and all in a BUNC condition.they look fab but 1 of these coins has no edge writing. It’s only been milled around its edge. So is this a mistake or have I found a fake coin?

    • Yasmin Britton on June 28, 2016 at 9:53 am

      Hi Andrew, we’d love to see a photo of this coin in comparison to the ones with edge inscription. Would you post an image on our Facebook page? It should say ‘FOUNDATION OF LIBERTY’ around the edge. Thanks, Yasmin

  30. Ben Powell on June 26, 2016 at 8:21 am

    I have 3 £2 coins of which the writing is upside down on the edging

    • Yasmin Britton on June 28, 2016 at 10:37 am

      Hi Ben, it does make the coins that little bit more interesting doesn’t it? Definitely coins to keep hold of 🙂 Thanks, Yasmin

  31. Malcolm Rosenberg on June 24, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    What about the 1st World war error “Your country needs you” £2 coin

    • Yasmin Britton on June 28, 2016 at 10:37 am

      Hi Malcolm, is this where the ‘Your Country Needs You’ on the £2 coin shows up really faint? Thanks, Yasmin

  32. Mark Atherton on June 24, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    I’ve got a £2 coin the letters on the edge are upside down Charles Dickens

    • Yasmin Britton on June 28, 2016 at 10:26 am

      Hi Mark, definitely an interesting coin to keep hold of 🙂 Thanks, Yasmin

  33. tobyone on June 24, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    Hi what about the Undated £2 coin depicting the Mary Rose on the tail side? I have one that has no date on either side.This coin should have the date on the head side of the coin (2011).

    • Chris on June 27, 2016 at 11:01 pm

      This sounds to be fake if there is no date on it

      • tobyone on June 28, 2016 at 8:01 pm

        So are all the undated 20p coins fake?

    • Yasmin Britton on June 28, 2016 at 9:38 am

      Hello, Chris is right it does sound like a fake. Unfortunately there are quite a few fake Mary Rose £2 coins circulating. Still an interesting coin to keep hold of though! Thanks, Yasmin

      • tobyone on June 28, 2016 at 8:05 pm

        Why out of all of the different £2 coins in circulation would the Mary Rose coin be the one people have copied, when their are more simpler designs they could have copied IE. The Abolition of Slavery.