June 30, 2009 / 1:38 PM / 10 years ago

Faulty British coins a cash bonanza for finders

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A specialist coin dealing firm has offered to pay 50 pounds ($82.93) to finders of faulty British 20 pence coins, sending people scrambling.

However, other coin dealers have advised people who find one of the approximately 50,000 undated coins to hold on, because they may be worth as much as 300 pounds in the next decade.

Specialist coin company the London Mint Office made its offer for 20 pence pieces which had been cast with a new design that resulted in a batch of coins with no date on them.

The letters “F.D.” have been printed where the date “2008” should have been.

A coin with mismatched sides is known as a “mule” and they are extremely rare. The last time one appeared in circulation was during the reign of Charles II more than 300 years ago.

The 20 pence coins first appeared at the end of 2008, after a batch which included between 50,000 and 200,000 of the faulty 20 pence coins entered circulation.

The last time a mistake was made on the casting of a coin was in 1983, when a batch of 2 pence coins went into circulation with the words “New Pence” rather than “Two Pence” on the reverse side. These coins fetched up to 650 pounds in top condition.

The Royal Mint, which produces Britain’s coin, has stated that the coins are legal tender, but has not made any further comment on their current or potential value.

Modern-day British currency includes coins for one pence, two pence, five pence, 10 pence, 20 pence, 50 pence, one pound and two pounds. 100 pence make up 1 British pound.

Reporting by Nat Arkwright; Editing by Stefano Ambrogi and Paul Casciato

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