Coin Collecting Treasures: Rare Foreign Coins

Guest Post by Beatrice Mercedes

Coin Collecting Treasures: Rare Foreign Coins

rare foreign coins to collect

British currency

Following a promise to write a more conventional Treasure article, I hope you enjoy this and that it could be of worth, from a more ‘financial’ perspective.

Although I appreciate that many of the readership of Mysterious Writings may be from America, and so may first consider this information irrelevant, I still think it’s worth bringing it to your attention, along to offering it for the many readers from the UK.  For American readers, however, if you have visited England recently, you could be unknowingly holding a £50,000 prize, or if you have visited England in the past 20 years, then you may be holding something that is gaining value by the day.

As many may be aware there are collectors of coins and currency, especially those that hold some error in manufacture. Yet in England two entertaining concepts are changing the collective value of certain active money in circulation at this very moment.

The first is rather strange for English culture. The English are noted for being rather stickler to protocol, especially to the respect of money – it’s not a thing we are noted to play with. Yet in the recent change in English £5 note, which on the reverse shows a portrait of English Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the Bank of England has been purposefully playful and released just four limited edition Jane Austen notes directly into circulation, creating a treasure hunt within UK currency. Three have been found, but the fourth is still waiting to be discovered, and due to how long it has been in circulation, suspicion is rising that the singular note may now no longer be in England.

collecting rare coins

British notes

One of the wonderful touches of uniqueness of these limited edition notes is that the difference is not obvious. These new notes are made in a style of plastic and have a clear section showing an image of the Clock Tower of Parliament (commonly referred to as Big Ben, yet Big Ben is actually the name of a large bell inside and not the tower itself), and in this area, on the four exclusive notes, there is a small golden mark, visible to the eye, but insignificant when glanced at. It is only with a microscope the image and quote of Jane Austen be seen. So far, the estimated value of this last note is £50,000.

Yet, this is not the only financial treasure element hitting English currency. News has been released that the £1 coins will soon be phased out and a new double coloured version will be introduced. So the first warning is if you hold any version of this coin, it will come to lose its monetary value – but all is not lost, as collectors have already started to search and buy various versions of this coin and paying OVER the coins face value to acquire them.

So if you have small loose change that you have left over from your trip to England, which is gathering dust, it could now be gathering value.

All versions of the coins have an image of Queen Elizabeth on the face, but the point of interest is what is on the reverse. Check your change and see if you have any coins of interest…

A Celtic Cross

This coin was released in 1996 and 2001, as one of a few new designs representing each of the countries that make up the United Kingdom, with this one depicting an Irish Celtic cross. A mint condition version of this rather common coin, is now being bought for around £6-£7.

The Menai Bridge

This coin is one of a collection of designs showing various famous Bridges in the UK and was released in 2005. It features Thomas Telford’s Menai Bridge. Again, ideally, it is mint condition coins being sourced, but this usually sells between £2-£4, but, obviously, if this is being sought by a collector looking to finish off their set, some have reached £10 and more.

A Dragon

Who doesn’t love a dragon? This coin has always been popular, and was originally released in 1995, and again in 2000, as a homage to the Welsh Dragon, representing ‘strength, fire and spirit’ of the Welsh Nationals. On the very edge of the coin are the words PLEIDOL WYF I’M GWLAD, which is Welsh for ‘true I am to my country’, which itself is part of the national anthem of Wales. These coins are selling for around £6.

A Lion

This coin has also proved popular, even before the collecting became more passionate, the classic design clearly emulates that of the Scottish heritage and was warmly embraced with its release in 1994. Around the edge of this version is the Latin motto from the Order of the Thistle, ‘NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT’, which translates to ‘no-one provokes me with impunity’, a charismatic and truthful representation of the noble character of the Scottish. As such, the coin is being sold for £4.50 on eBay.

Belfast City

Now we start reaching the really valuable end of the collection. This coin shows Stuart Devlin’s engravings of the four capital cities of the UK. The scene of Belfast was released in 2010 and shows its historic shipbuilding centre and the bell that used to appear on the tokens once issued to Belfast tradesmen in the 17th century. The depicted motto of ‘PRO TANTO QUID RETRIBUAMUS’ means ‘what shall we give in return for so much’. These go for around £30 online.

London City

On this 2010 released depiction of the City of London, the coin gives the motto ‘DOMINE DIRIGE NOS’  meaning ‘Lord, deliver us’. These are worth around £10. As is the Cardiff City of the set, released in 2011 and the Edinburgh City version, released in 2011. As a complete set, they are already selling for £80!

Daffodil and Leek, Flax and Shamrock, Rose and Oak, Thistle and Bluebell

This coin was released in 2013, and is part of a floral collection of designs showing pairs of different flowers, again meant to represent one of the each of the countries of the United Kingdom. This design was again for Wales. As being a relatively new release, it is more scarce than most, as such sells for around £15, as does the Flax and Shamrock design for Ireland, released in 2014 and the Rose and Oak for England, released in 2013. These coins might be worth holding on to for future sales, as at the moment the higher prices are for those of collectors looking to complete sets. Strangely Thistle and Bluebell design for Scotland, when sold on its own seems to only peak at around £5. This still isn’t bad for a £1 coin.

Crowned Shield

This is the oldest coin in the designs which offers the highest purchase price. The coin was released in 1988 showing the Crown of St. Edward on top of a shield. This sells for around £6. One of these beauties has been sold on eBay for £6.50.

coin collecting foreign rare coins

British Coins

Even though you may not have these, other coins in circulation are still selling for more than their currency value.

For example, 2008 50p which shows Kew Gardens had a limited run of just 210,000. The shiniest, most pristine examples can command prices up to £120!

In 2008, thousands of 20p’s were accidentally released with the flaw of not being dated, these sell for over £150.

Yet, up until 1981, the words ‘New Pence’ appeared on the 2p coins, but was then changed to Two Pence, but in 1983 a batch was accidentally released with the old lettering on, these sell for over £650!

Not all mistakes are that valuable, the £2 Guy Fawkes coin released in 2005 sported the error of “Pemember, Pemember the Fifth of November instead of “Remember, Remember”, but is only worth around £15 – still its more than the £2 you would get for is as legal tender.

But the best offer is for an existing coin in circulation is a particular 50p that was released in 2012. Originally it was just one of a collection of design made in connection to the London hosting the Olympics, with different designs representing different sports. Due to the historical event, many people collected the set, but original of the one that depicted swimming was changed as the face of the swimmer was considered too obscured, as was redone, making the original version, of which only 600 were released, rare and a lot of collections missing it. As such, this coin can fetch around £3,000 each!

Have fun looking in your change!

Guest Post by Beatrice Mercedes


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1 Response

  1. Jenny Kile says:

    Thank you for this, Beatrice! Love it! There are articles on site which share some our most rare coins of America to look out for. Seems no matter where you live, those few unique coins are special to have and collect.

    But I actually do have a few British coins I treasure for memories, and I will have to see if any of them hold a monetary value. Not that they will be worth more to me, if they do. However, if I find one, I will be sure to let you know!

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