I have always been tight with money (frugal being my preferred term) but I never thought I would get to the point where I wouldn’t even consider spending loose change!
In the summer of 2016, I attended the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, on the outskirts of Cardiff. Not only the main factory for coin production is housed here, but also a museum and exhibition named the Royal Mint Experience opened in 2016.
Having attended with a friend who traveled several hours from Darlington to attend, it was only after the trip I started paying attention to what is on the opposite side of the Queens head.
Attending the Royal Mint allowed me to not only obtain the uncirculated “last round pound” but to also strike it myself. As special as one may think that is, my spare certainly has a price where I would be willing to let it go.
Thanks to the frequency of both paying for things in cash and going down the pub I made a quick start bulking up my collection. Now well out of circulation, the old £1 coins were the easiest to obtain, thanks to there being not so many variations, not the most sought-after designs and most produced in vast numbers. I managed to collect my final coin, the London cities 2014 coin a couple of months before the round pound went out of circulation in March 2017. Wow, 18 months have gone fast!
Unfortunately that’s where my completion-ism ends. The 50 pence coins are probably the most popular coin to collect at the moment and includes the holy grail Kew Gardens 50p released in 2009. Kew is one of the lowest produced coins at 210,000. Rather annoyingly, I could have picked this up when I started collecting for around £25, but since then everyone else has jumped on the bandwagon and a quick check on eBay will tell you that it can sell for 200 times its face value!
Since starting my collection I have never paid more than face value for a coin and with so many eyes looking at change now it’ll be impossible to get one without paying the ever-increasing going rate. I would have a lot more luck working in a post office, bank or retail (I’ll come on to this later!) but it keeps it interesting.
I also found it hard to find the WWF coin, which if I must choose one would be my favourite. I only drunkenly known I obtained this a few weeks ago so was thrilled the next day! This is frequently deemed the second rarest 50p yet is only worth about a fiver!
Fifty pence’s are regularly split up in to two sections as during the 2012 London Olympics, a set of 28 coins were released in to circulation. I’m half way there, but living on a prayer for the other 14!
The other denomination I collect are £2 coins. With quite a few to collect, when I add to the collection it seems a fortunate achievement. The four Commonwealth coins released in 2002 are the 2nd-5th rarest coins out there. A traumatic experience with the Northern Irish version of this coin… I actually had one once whilst watching Dragons Rugby (again change from a pint!), only to spend it in my local boozer an hour later – never to be seen again! I’m finding the 2017 and 2018 coins extremely hard to find, probably as the number of collectors or those wanting to make a quick few quid are by far outweighing production quantities. There is always hope…
To round things up are some other coins I have come across, mainly non-mainland coins from Gibraltar, Jersey and the Isle of Man. I’m not really passionate about these coins but they don’t hurt to keep.
Finally on to 10p coins, I’m pretty amazed I haven’t got more than ONE A-Z coin at the moment (J for Jubilee) that received so much publicity when released earlier this year. I’m still sticking to not paying over face value so it’s going to be a long wait until I come across another one! I can’t see anyone accepting £2.60 for a full set anytime soon.
Many people are frustrated and angry that so little are being seen in circulation, but I understand. If you’re working minimum wage behind a bar and you have a £5 money bag of A-Z 10p coins – why wouldn’t you swap them with normal ones and sell on for £150?
Today I’ve just received three of the same limited edition non-coin item, with the sole hope that the item sells out quickly and in future I can sell the item on for a profit. As a collector of numerous things be it football figures, POP Vinyls, LEGO minifigures or coins; I tend to think it’s swings and roundabouts.
At the time of writing, I have around 150 spares for sale which are currently on eBay. Anyone local can have substantial discounts and obviously I would be interested in swapping! THAT LINK IS HERE.
The best place to find a full list of coins released is probably the Change Checker website http://www.changechecker.org.