The Royal Mint has admitted that some of the new £1 coins have been minted with a small mistake. This kind of production glitch can make coins highly desirable to collectors, so it's worth checking your change to see if you have a potentially valuable 'error coin'.
The issue came to light when a charity worker in Surrey noticed he had been given a coin that didn't feel quite right. The side with the Queen's head had the text out of alignment with the Queen, and several details on the reverse seemed unclear - including the crosshatching on the head of the thistle.
At the time he went to the papers and suggested that the coin could be an early fake, but the Mint confirmed it has not seen a single fake coin yet - so this is a production mistake. The Mint has so far struck 1.5 billion new £1 coins, and the speed and volume of production has meant that some imperfect coins have slipped through the net.
Is it worth a fortune?
Mistakes, which are known by collectors as error coins, can make otherwise dull coins highly valuable. There are some well-known examples - like the 20ps produced in 2008, which were accidentally printed without a date. One of these in perfect condition can be worth up to £200.
There are also a number of 2p produced in 1983, which should have had 'two pence' written on them, but accidentally had the old label of 'new pence' added. These can be worth up to £400.
Then there's the Britannia £2 coins, which accidentally printed the Queen's head almost upside down. One in 200 of the coins feature this error, and they can sell for up to £100.
The value of this particular error will depend on a number of factors - including how common the errors turn out to be, and the enthusiasm collectors show for the new £1 coin. Given that they are relatively small errors, they are unlikely to be worth hundreds of pounds, but if they prove rare enough, and collectors get behind the new £1, they could be worth a decent sum.
If you stumble across one of these coins, therefore, it's worth hanging onto it until we know how rare this error is. Just try not to be tempted to spend it in the interim.
Incredibly valuable coins
Incredibly valuable coins
This Australian coin was the first half crown minted under Edward VII. The price for a Melbourne coin in good condition is particularly high because around half of them were produced with faults. It’s now worth £7,500 and has risen in value some 13,789% since it was first in production
The only half crown on the list gets its position from its rarity value. However, the fact this is a silver coin rather than a gold one does affect its value - so it’s worth £10,500. It’s significantly less than others on the list - but it has still appreciated 79,445%.
This is the newest coin in the top ten, and the first year that sovereigns were produced featuring the Queen. The coin was produced in small numbers for investors - rather than for circulation - so is thought to be worth £12,500, due to its rarity.
This is another collectable gold coin prized for its rarity value. It’s worth £15,000 today and has appreciated 191,716%
This was issued in very small numbers, as it was produced during WWI. As a result, few are available - especially as uncirculated coins - so one in good condition will fetch £16,000.
This is another coin prized for its rarity, thanks to a relatively low number being minted, and more being taken out of circulation during WWI. It’s now thought to be worth £17,000 after appreciation of 42,084%.
This 1926 coin has shot up in value and is now worth £31,500. The rise in value is partly to do with a very low mintage, and partly to do with the fact that people were asked to hand their sovereigns over to be melted down during WWI, which took many of them out of circulation.
This brass threepence from 1937 has benefited enormously from the fact that Edward didn’t stick around for long to get too many coins struck in his image before he abdicated. It is now worth £45,000.
This 1933 penny has seen a stunning appreciation in value and is valued at a whopping £72,000 today. The value is due entirely to rarity. Only around seven British versions of this coin were minted, and were intended for the King to bury under the foundation stones of new buildings. They have been subject to theft, and a few are said to be in private hands now.
This isn’t the oldest coin in the list, but it was produced in a year when all gold coins were recalled and exchanged for paper money - so the vast majority were melted down. Its rarity and popularity puts it head and shoulders above the rest. It is worth an eye-watering £6,500,000, and has increased in value 2,178,885% since it was produced.