Those undated 20p pieces - how many are REALLY in circulation?

27 July 2009

Barely two weeks ago, we updated you on the undated 20p piece situation and laid out your options if you'd found one amongst your pocket shrapnel. Our advice? We suggested you keep hold of them for now. Given all the evidence, there were possibly far fewer coins in circulation than numbers estimated by The Royal Mint ("less than 250,000") and independent commercial collectors The London Mint Office ("between 50,000 and 250,000").

We pointed to a little-mentioned fact of the story - the coins had been in circulation since November last year. Curiously, despite having seven months in which to do so, The Royal Mint didn't publish any press release concerning the undated 20p pieces - the timing at which this became a news story seems to have been left to The London Mint Office, which then set the widely-reported value of the coins at £50 and controlled the mainstream press coverage. In those seven months, The Royal Mint will have been trying to take the coins out of public circulation. And The London Mint Office recently extended its offer to buy up a further 15,000 pieces for £50 a time (on top of the 10,000 it had already bought) - suggesting the company had perhaps revised its view of the coin's future value.

So how much is your undated 20p piece worth? According to The London Mint Office, £50 if you register it with them today - while selling them privately on eBay is now fetching sales under £100 (as long as you watch out for the scams). However, all these valuations are based on the Royal Mint's statement that there were less than 250,000 of these coins produced to begin with. Last week, we received this anonymous tip-off from a Bitterwallet reader:

A relative of mine works for The Royal Mint; apparently the 250,00 estimated undated 20p pieces in circulation was a huge exaggeration. The number is between 40,000 to 50,000. The Royal Mint is set to announce this next week only after the London Mint Company have purchased another 10,000 coins.

If this proves to be the case, then expect the value of the undated 20p pieces to soar, and more than a few questions to be asked about the specifics of how the story was reported to the media.

TOPICS:   Economy


  • Dave S.
    Nice one, I'm off to find the dremel.
  • Jase
    I figured that this would be the case. Firstly because, although manufacture is pretty quick, I found it hard to believe that 250,000 would make it off the presses before they realised. The 2p of 1983 only managed around 400 before the mistake was rectified...even 40,000 / 50,000 seems a lot (but more plausible). Secondly, business is business. When the Royal Mint started to buy them up, it proved they had some value (above £50 for a profit). But when they extended their offer I figured the circulation amount had to be lower if they were willing to almost double their original quota. Just another example of the media's ability to manipulate a situation.
  • Paul S.
    The thing is Jase, it's not the Royal Mint buying them up, it's the London Mint office - an entirely unrelated and private company. The Royal Mint is a Government owned business - if the above is true, then what is the relationship between the two, and why would a Government owned business be acting in the interests of a private company? And it isn't the media that have manipulated the situation - they've jumped on a bandwagon created (it appears) solely by the London Mint Office - the Royal Mint sat on the story for seven months and never said a word.
  • Gus
    I just don't understand one thing... How comes one coin out of 50.000 is worthy shit loads more than its face value? I would understand if the numbers were like just few thousands only.
  • goon
    who gives a shit if it has a date on it or not its worth 20p unless you are a retard
  • zeddy
    If you find one goon, send it on....
  • dave 2.
    well i have 2 and will be keeping hold of them i think they are gonna be worth loads in the not to distant future
  • coin u.
    what does the London Mint office do with the coins they purchase?
  • god
    they sell em later
  • Ten B.
    [...] undated 20p pieces – something stinks about it all. Stinks big, like a dead [...]
  • Waspbite
    Quote 1 "A relative of mine works for the Mint". This sounds like the start of an urban myth. I will be surprised if this rumour proves true and I doubt the Royal Mint will ever confirm the actual numbers Quote 2 "The Royal Mint is set to announce this next week only after the London Mint Company have purchased another 10,000 coins." Firstly where is it said they have already bought 10k coins? They have only said they are willing to increase the total limit to 20k . This does not prove they have already bought 10k coins does it? Since they are selling for far more on Ebay it is probably true that they have not been able to get many coins yet Secondly I would be amazed if the Royal Mint are being kind enough to time their announcements to give maximum benefit to the London Mint Office who are a private company and have probably embarrassed the Royal Mint by releasing the story. No family in either mint for me to verify the story though.
  • Mark
    The London Mint offer is indeed confusing. What you must be aware of is that they have issued an initial 10,000 packs to people who register with them. This has been extended to a further 15,000 packs. I applied for a pack and it does not mean they will or have received this many coins from people, they are only offering the facility to buy them should someone have one in their possesion and want to sell it for £50. The pack also says the offer is for only a few months anyway. I have two in a bank security vault and I will surely be sitting on them. Unless someone wants to buy one or both for a few thousand from me!
  • luckyme
    I have just found one! It's extremely sparkly and in tip top mint condition with sharp features, and the head of the Queen matching north to south the "tales" side. It is in absolute mint condition. What now? Well, I nearly spent it, but now it's hidden away. Can't tell the value with ebay because clearly many people selling ordinary 20ps (under the heading - no date on tales side) so watch out for that. Maybe my great grandchildren will be rich but I'm not expecting any joy in this century. 20p for the price of a dream... not bad though!
  • luckyme
    I have now collected a bunch of such 20p undated coins. £50 has been the going price on ebay. It's madness! Within 5 years these coins wil be worth £10,000 as so few are now in circulation. The problem is that some very poor quality fakes are already circulating. If the coin matches north/south queen's head and tales, the features are sharp and particularly if they are shiny (as opposed to the genuine coins which have been in circulation but unnoticed so are dim or blurred and consequently worthless). I am a collector. Anyone wanting to sell a genuine and very shiny undated 20p for less than £200 then I'm interested! So should you be!
  • luckyme
    PS.. I'm not the same lucky me as above.
  • Grace D.
    Ihave a shiney, very genuinly genuine undated 20p coin which looks brand new and was given to me with my change at Waitrose some 3 months ago. I am 74 years old , does anyone think I will ever be around to make a profit on it? Unlucky me 21 November 2009 11.25pm
  • [email protected]
    lod ov shit i have one i am keepin it untill 2030 or i will sell it 4 30 grand levea me a message if u have a good price [email protected] ? no less than 2grand
  • Jack T.
    i have one of these 20 pence coins and looking to sell it for 1000 pounds ono. contact me for details: Email: [email protected] mobile: 07897645060 Cheers
  • Ghettolady
    I have had one of these since July last year, I have no idea as to what to do with it. I have been told to keep hold of it, and also told to sell it while I can. A few comments above are just gibberish and don't give a direct answer. Can anyone genuinley answer my question........ What should I do, save it or sell it????
  • taner
    i work in a corner shop and just got one as well, so really what is all this about then and is it better to keep it longer time , then the answer for this is what who will buy for lot more than 20pence? wher to get an answer for all this questions?
  • martin
    The Royal Mint has always been unable or unwilling to clarify exactly how many coins were affected. Their web site states, as it always has done, that an unspecified number of “less than 250,000″ were struck. Obviously at the time of making our offer, some of our financial people were a little concerned about the possibility of paying £50 for each of these. Certain coin dealers were even suggesting that the imagined plentiful supply would lead to market prices dropping to £10 by the start of 2010. Nick Hart, one of our coin experts, was right all along. He claimed that the number of undated 20p’s out there was much lower than the 250,000 level. His predictions that our offer would only receive a few hundred redemptions, despite the enormous publicity that the story garnered, proved to be completely correct. Clearly this story has some way to run and the value of these coins is only going to increase. Maybe we should do something about that? Watch this space for further details.
  • Crofty756
    I bought nine of these coins as an investment,my way of thinking is that you have a coin(s)with an error that cannot be righted.It has been a long time since a mistake like this was made,three hundred years I think.I believe that they can only increase in value,it was an embarrassment for the Royal Mint,which is why they they were happy for them to be taken off the market-one way or another. If there were only 30,000 to 40,000 minted,that would please me,as I have my small part of Royal Mint history.
  • lapidary2
    Only 120,000 1951 pennies were struck and you can still get them for less than £50 so if anyone thinks they are sitting on a goldmine, they should stop believing the hype from sellers who are trying to talk up the price. There are no poor quality fakes circulating and no one is going to earn £10,000 in five years' time. As of today's date, you would be lucky to get £100 for one of these mules. The London Mint Office "offer" to buy the mule for £50 each is nothing more than an attempt to increase its mailing list by 25,000 for almost zero cost. Anyone wondering about how many exist would do well to look at how many are for sale on eBay and should also wonder how many genuine coin collectors actually care!
  • josef k.
    i would like to sale a 20p coin undatad on both sides and in very good condition. make me a offer please.
  • bennie
    i would like an offer anybody dont know to keep or sell
  • Peter L.
    Anyone who sold their undated 20p to the London Mint office originally for £50 must be daft. They are now offering £100 per coin and for those who forgot all the 20p coins in question are now over three years old having been minted in 2008. It would not surprise me that the Royal Mint in llantrisant are working alongside the London Mint Office to get as many of these coins out of circulation as possible. We may never be told how many coins reached the public domain with prabably less than 50000 escaping the Mints notice. Lets say the Royal mint has managed to get 80% of those back after three years in trying. Ive managed to get hold of three having purchased one and having two others in my change. There are far rarer coins and more valuable ones available to collectors but apart from one other minted in the 17C all of them have some kind of date impressed on them. The asking price now is £100 but in the future im sure their true value will become clear and for those wise enough to hold on to their coins they will certainly reap the rewards. Rest assured the royal Mint have put in place safeguards to ensure it never happens again, well not in any of our life times.
  • Peter L.
    People are missing the whole point of these ulra rare 20p undated coins. Coins have been minted in some sort or fashion for well over 1400 years in this country. In the modern era from the 16C onwards an identification date was impressed on the front or rear, usually on the rear of the coin. Over the centuries millions of coins have been minted in all different materials, Gold, Silver,Lead,Copper and a few other metals aswell but there has only ever been one recording in the reign of Charles 2nd in the 1640s where a coin of theis realm was accidentally minted without an identification date somewhere on it. This is what makes this 2008 Royal Arms 20p so special. There are many rarer coins with huge monatary value but they have a date of some kind on them. Some even have a date with the incorrect numerals or even with one number missing but still there is a date of some kind on that coin. The London Mint Office would never offer £100 unless they knew the coin in question was worth considerably more, and with fewer coins remaining in circulation as is the case on a weekly basis these coins left in circulation will become more valuable. Now if the London Mint Office were willing to pay £1000 for each coin then maybe i would be tempted to sell my three coins, but who is to know that in the distant future with so few coins available for purchase that £1000 may be the true value. If you sold your coin for a small sum of £50 a little time ago you will be extremely annoyed that in the future those coins left are worth a three figure sum. Trying to get hold of one may be vertually impossible and buying a genuine one on ebay only a distant dream. Hold on to your coin or coins and reap the rewards in the future and donot sell them for a fraction of their true worth.
  • Mark s.
    Hi alli have 10x 20p coins with no date and I carnt sell then not for 50pence each so any body wanting to buy them email me you can have the lot face value 2quid give me a fiver for e posting expense mark
  • Mick
    Mark, email me I'll buy them for £20
  • [email protected]
    i have a 20p with no dates that im looking to sell ,email me or ring me on 07790157747 no silly offers plz
  • les l.
    I did have 10 of these coins and sent them to the mint using my family as only one per household can be sent in I still have 3 left and are keeping these to pass on to my niece and nephew and I have sent one to be encapsulated and this one will be passed down from me to my wife later I hope a lot later but I think if you hold on to these coins they will be worth quite a lot more in the near future so hang on to them
  • mark
    one thing you all fail to mention is the fact that these coins contain an iron core and unless sealed in a coin wax they will eventually turn to rust as a result of atmospheric moisture content so fail to protect your 20 pence coin at your peril because i would say in 50 years time there will be far fewer in circulation of high quality
  • Robert w.
    I have 2 of these coin genuine will sell for £1000 pounds 1is boxed off the royal mint phone me on 07790628665
  • Peter S.
    I have two for sale, make me a sensible offer.
  • Cheryl m.
    I have a 20p with no date either side it's genuine how much are they worth now I've had it 5 years
  • Shirley R.
    I've got one. Wey hey! The advice to encapsulate these coins is really appreciated. I'll be doing that with mine now. Thanks!
  • Dave G.
    I have 10 of these dateless 20p, no intension of selling them as they will be passed on to my children and grandchildren , they will be the ones to benefit from them as they will not go down in value they can only go up so keep them for your offsprings.
  • PedroRodriguez
    Whats the highest selling price about?? Need money for Uni lol, woud help if its a few hundred at least
  • PedroRodriguez
    Have a few other coins but the 20p no date is what im selling rn
  • Raymond


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