How to Buy Rare British Coins on eBay

Views 1 Like Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful
How to Buy Rare British Coins on eBay

Coins and other such tender is a popular subject of collection. Regardless of their previous value and the time of their use, some rare coins from certain periods of time can only be found at extremely high prices.

The majority of collectors appear to take part in the acquiring of rare coins as a hobby. However, there are those who see it is a means of making profit and the exchanging and selling of rare British coins can, on occasion, become an occupation for some collectors.

Rare British coins can be found on auction sites such as eBay. The range is extensive and it covers a vast array of eras, monarchs and manufacturing processes.

Categories of Rare British Coin

eBay has a wide scope of rare British coins available. They are generally separated on the site by either the monarch that they were used under or the manufacturing process used in the coins creation.

Rare British Coin Monarchs

In terms of rare British coins, there are a select number of monarchs whose faces appear on one side of the coin. The monarchs listed below are those which eBay has issued specific filter tabs to, in order to make the search for a coin an easier one in terms of targeting a specific monarch:

  • Queen Victoria: Coins that feature the face of Queen Victoria were used between the years 1837 and 1901. They come in the form of Florins, Halfpennies, Farthings and other such denominations from that period.
  • King Edward VII: Coins from this era feature the portrait of King Edward VII, who reigned from 1902 to 1910. Again, Florins, Farthings and even Shillings are all available for purchase on eBay.
  • King George V: King George V reigned from the year 1910 to 1936. Because of the length of his reign and the technological advancements in coin making, there are more coins than from previous monarchs that are available for collection.
  • King George VI: There are also coins available to purchase from eBay that were used as legal tender between the years of King George VI’s reign. Rare Crowns used between the years of 1936 and 1952 are of high collectability.

Rare British Coin Manufacturing Processes

There are rare British coins available from eBay that go further back in their existence and use the eras of the monarchs mentioned above. They are initially categorised on the site by the manner in which they were created. Here is a table explaining the manufacturing processes of rare British coins that are sold for the purposes of collecting on eBay:


Manufacturing Process

Hammered Coins

The word ‘hammered’ refers to the manner in which the coins were made. These coins were made individually by coin makers who used a specially designed mould which was placed onto a blank piece of metal and hammered until the design came out. Hammered coins were made during the Late Medieval, Tudor, Anglo Saxon, Stuart, Celtic and Norman eras of British history. They are traditionally made from silver, gold, bronze and copper. Due to their age, it is extremely rare to find hammered coins in good condition.

Early Milled Coins

eBay has a special, designated section for coins termed as ‘early milled’. These were the first coins made through the use of coin pressing machines to enable a larger scale of production and distribution. ‘Early Milled’ coins are considered to be coins that were manufactured and used between the years of 1662 and 1816.

Milled Coins

Milled coins are the made using coin-making technology developed for an even large scale of production than that of early milled coins. They are rare in the sense that they were used under monarchs between the years of 1816 and 1837. The coins from this period and manufacturing process are also rare as they come in the form of tender that was only around for a short while and was made redundant. Tender such as crowns, shillings and farthings are all collected by coin hobbyists. Furthermore, ‘Sovereign’ coins are available to purchase from eBay, and these are considered to be of extremely high value and rarity.

Rare British Coin Conditions

When buying rare British coins on eBay, one has to be wary of their condition, especially in relation to their selling value. There are a number of specific grading systems for the condition of coins. Understanding these grading schemes would be useful in the finding of a rare British coin for a price that reflects its true condition.

This is the grading scheme used on coins that are of a reasonable condition. The grades are listed from best to worst condition:

  • Uncirculated: Coins labelled as ‘uncirculated’ or UNC may show some signs of toning or tarnishing but they generally show no signs of wear whatsoever. This is due to the fact that they have more than likely never been used as tender. This grade does not apply to coins used before 1815 as uncirculated coins before this period are of extreme rarity.
  • Extremely Fine: Given the initials EF, coins labelled as being in ‘extremely fine’ condition may appear to be of perfect condition. However, upon a further and closer studying they may show indications of slight wear.
  • Very Fine: These coins are clear in detail despite obvious signs of wear. Coins of a ‘very fine’ nature are usually labelled with the initials VF.
  • Fine: Coins labelled as ‘fine’ or F are a step up from those who are of ‘very good’ or VG condition as mentioned in further detail below. They show signs of wear over the whole coin yet the detail is clear and the wear is only minor.
  • Here is another rough grading scheme used for British coins of lesser condition than those mentioned above. They are listed from best condition to worst:
  • Very Good: ‘Very Good’ coins have signs of wear over the whole coin. This condition is typical of coins that have been in circulation recent to their collection.
  • Good: ‘Good’, or mediocre, coins have a larger degree of wear yet its details are still readable.
  • Fair: Whilst these ‘Fair’ coins may show visible signs of detail and inscription, the detail is not especially readable.
  • Poor: ‘Poor’ condition coins are those that only the outline of detail or shape of design is visibly coherent. Coins of this condition do not carry any inscriptions or date as they have worn off.

There are also other coin condition grades such as Brilliant Uncirculated, or BU, and Fleur De Coin (FDC), but these are limited to specialist dealers and sellers and coins of this condition are unlikely to be found on the likes of eBay.

Buying Rare British Coins Online

Buying rare British coins need not be complicated. If a comprehensive understanding of the rare British coin market is gained, then the buying of them online can be simple, as well as honest.

Such an understanding is also not that hard to acquire. There is a vast array of online assets available to collectors of all coin collecting levels.

Make use of British history websites to gain an understanding of the period that the coin, or coins, is from.

Utilise the massive amount of coin buying blogs and coin collecting forums that are frequently updated and available for access at any time. If one is unsure about a certain aspect of rare British coins, most forum members and bloggers will be more than happy and willing to answer questions.

There are also coin selling auction sites that offer advice on the best ways to get rare British coins at a rate that is faithful to their condition. Use these before heading over to the likes of eBay where buying rare British coins is made even easier.

Buying Rare British Coins on eBay

One of the most cost-effective places to buy rare British coins is eBay. Not only are prices reasonable but also the site is designed with specialist collectors in mind.

Improve the accuracy of the search for rare British coins by firstly finding the Coins category of the site, which is easily accessible. From thereon, there is the option to choose the origin of the coin desired. In this case, use the British coin section.

After this, make full use of the filter tabs at the side of the page, as well as the keyword search facility to narrow down and specify the search further still.

This may lead to the finding of the desired rare British coin or coin set. If this is the case, be aware of certain issues before placing a Bid or making use of the Buy It Now option that may be available.

Use this checklist of questions to ensure an honest transaction:

  • What does the seller’s previous selling history say about them?
  • Have they provided an accurate condition grading of the coin?
  • Are the images clear and do they match up to the product description?
  • Is the product description thorough enough to warrant a purchase?
  • Can enquiries be sent directly to the seller?


As has been providing throughout this guide, rare British coins can be a highly valuable commodity. This guide has identified the processes that can be implemented to buy these rare British coins on the Internet, and in particularly eBay.

The majority of rare coin buyers do so as a hobby, however, there are serious collectors in the marketplace. There is enough information in this guide to highlight the pros and cons of rare coin buying from Britain to ensure a safe purchase from eBay.

Remember that the price paid for rare British coins should be faithful and truthful reflections of their condition.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides