Could this new £2 coin be worth a fortune?

Jane Austen £2

The Royal Mint is releasing a new £2 coin commemorating Jane Austen's life. The coins will be released on a limited basis on the anniversary of Austen's death on 18 July, in locations with connections to Austen - such as Winchester and Basingstoke. But are they worth collecting?

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The coins feature a silhouette of the author, set in a period frame against a backdrop of Regency wallpaper. It is timed for release just before the Jane Austen ten pound coins goes into circulation. It's bound to be popular. The question is whether it will be deemed collectible - and therefore worth significantly more than £2.

The downside for anyone hoping to make money from the coins is that they are likely to be fairly widely circulated. After the initial limited release, there will be a wider release across the country. The Royal Mint has yet to reveal how many of the coins are likely to be minted, but given the wide release of coins featuring the likes of Florence Nightingale and Charles Dickens, there's a good chance that it will never be terribly rare.

The upside, however, is that the popularity of the author may mean it's worth more than its face value anyway. The Jane Austen Society has branches across the world, and endless devotees, who will be keen to get hold of these coins, and keep them at home rather than spending them - reducing the number in wider circulation.

This will still leave an enormous number in people's change, but this doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't have value as a collector's item. Take the Dickens £2 coin. It may not be considered particularly rare, and it may have been issued in large numbers, but it's popular enough for collectors to want to get their hands on it without having to wait for chance to bring one in their change, and have been known to sell for around £8.

Commemorative versions

The real money for collectors, however, may lie in the commemorative coins issued alongside the ones on general release. They're not cheap. There's a silver proof coin for £67.50, a silver piedfort coin for £110, and most eye-wateringly of all, a gold proof coin for £830. However, there's every sign that these will become real collectors' items.

The coins are being sold in smaller numbers than usual. There will, for example, be just 5,000 of the silver ones - compared to 7,500 for the most recent run. The reduction, plus the popularity of Austen herself, means there's a decent chance these will sell out, which will immediately create a scarcity that pushes up the value.

In the past, sold out coins have been sold on for a much higher price. Most notably the Peter Rabbit silver proof 50p from 2016 sold out, and dealers are now pricing theirs at up to £700.

However, before anyone invests, it's worth bearing in mind that there's no guarantee it will sell out - just as there's no certainty that the value will rise significantly after it sells out. There's always the chance that you struggle to sell, and it's never worth a penny more than you paid for it.

As always when it comes to collectibles, these sorts of things are only worth buying as something you get value from owning - not for the resale value. If somehow it ends up being a decent investment, than that's simply a lucky bonus.

Incredibly valuable coins
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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.

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