It’s time to really start examining your change again.
Change Checker has just been able to confirm that a small number of “Inverted Effigy” £2 Coins have entered circulation.
First discovered by a Change Checker, and now 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 result is that the Queen’s head is offset by around 150 degrees compared to the Britannia design on the reverse of the coin.
Just how rare is the Inverted Effigy £2 Britannia?
The Royal Mint is unable to give any indication of how many Inverted Effigy coins have entered circulation but we can make some initial estimates.
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. That already places it third equal in the all-time low mintage charts.
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.
Of course, if the Inverted Effigy is a consequence of the die slipping during the striking process, it is possible that there may be other variations where the Queen’s head is less or more misaligned as the die has worked its way out of position.
Errors, mis-strikes and myths
Of course, given the many million coins The Royal Mint strike each year, it is to their immense credit that mis-strikes and errors are so few and far between. But, of course, when they do arise, they cause great collector excitement, as some of these other examples pay testament to.
- The Undated 20p – read more
- The “Silver” 2p – read more
- The 2014 Year of the Horse Silver £2 – read more
But there are a few myths out there too – upside down edge lettering, the “Pemember” Gunpowder Plot £2 coin and the “Necklace” £2 coin, which all have perfectly normal explanations.
But finally a note of caution. I’m sure in time we’ll see some “examples” of the Inverted Effigy £2 for sale online. Before you think of buying one, please beware. Are you seeing a genuine Inverted Effigy or just a coin that someone has rotated in a photograph to make it look inverted?
Change Checker has just 24 Uncirculated Inverted Effigy £2 Britannia Coins. If you would be interested in owning one of these coins, please leave your details below and we will contact you in due course with more information.
Please note we will only use this information to contact you about specifically about the Inverted Effigy £2 Coin.
£2 coins were introduced in 1998 to prevent against counterfeiting and were the first bi-metallic coins to enter circulation in the UK.
Made with two different metal components, £2 coins are very complicated to manufacture and very difficult to counterfeit… or so we believed.
As we know, 1 in 30 £1 coins are fake. The Royal Mint are so concerned, they’ll be introducing a new 12-sided £1 coin in March which is billed to become the most secure circulating coin in the world.
But, this means that counterfeiters are now turning their attention to the £2 coin.
To begin with, early £2 counterfeit coins were just a lump of led tin alloy, spray painted to look like a genuine £2 coin and were easy to tell apart from the real thing.
Now, they’re becoming a lot harder to spot, even by professionals. Some fake £2 coins are even being accepted in vending machines and car parking machines.
So how many fakes are out there and who’s responsible?
Fraudsters require a highly sophisticated press to produce bi-colour coins. It’s thought that there are hundreds of thousands of fake £2 coins in circulation and is definitely a form of organised crime.
Can you spot one?
There are a few simple ways to tell if you have a fake £2 coin. One of the most obvious ways to spot a fake is by comparing the quality of the writing on the edge inscription to a genuine coin and also checking that the edge inscription matches the design.
However there are still some fake £2 coins that pass the two tests above.
According to experts, fakes can usually be detected by the weight. Genuine £2 coins should weigh 12g, but these remarkable new counterfeit £2 coins are also weighing in at 12g.
Each UK denomination is made up of different compositions which are agreed between The Royal Mint and HM Treasury but the exact amount is kept top secret.
The only way to find out for definite if the coin is real or fake is for it to be x-rayed by a special machine which gives a reading of all the different elements that have gone into the coin.
So should we be increasing the security of the £2 coins to make it harder for them to be counterfeited?
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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).
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 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.
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.
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.