The 'rare Two New Pence' coin scam

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The very common 1971 2p coin (Mintage 1,406,203,250)
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The very common 1971 2p coin (Mintage 1,406,203,250)

How to identify rare 2p coins


Many eBay sellers are advertising 'rare' 2p coins, sometimes with absurd starting prices. The vast majority of these are simply ordinary coins that you might find in your everyday change. There is an urban myth that any 2p coin with the old Prince of Wales feathers design and the words "NEW PENCE" instead of "TWO PENCE" is rare and valuable. This is not true! Hundreds of millions of such coins are in circulation! What is true is that in 1983, a very small number of 2p coins were struck with the wrong reverse die, bearing the legend 'NEW PENCE'. These coins were not issued for circulation: all 1983 2p coins were issued only in sets with other coins. Therefore the likelihood of finding one of these is very remote. Normal 2p coins issued in 1971 and from 1975 to 1981, bearing the legend "NEW PENCE", in circulated condition are just worth face value, although the 1976 2p is a little scarcer than the others. They are only worth substantially more than face value if in Uncirculated condition. (The wording "NEW PENCE" was dropped from all British coins starting in 1982).

Apart from the extremely rare 'error' 1983 2p, the following dates of 2p's are scarce and collectable as they were only issued in Proof or Specimen sets: 1972, 1973, 1974, 1982, 1983 (with the normal "TWO PENCE" reverse) and 1984. These coins will occasionally be sold as individual specimens when somebody breaks up a set. The 1976 and 2013 2p's were issued for circulation but are fairly scarce: indeed in two years I have only ever found one 2013 2p, so these may well be worth saving for the future. Another scarcity is the 2008 2p with the old reverse (Prince of Wales feathers rather than the new shield design). But please don't bid on a 'rare' 2p coin when it is just a standard ordinary 2p issued in 1971 or from 1975 to 1981 with the words "NEW PENCE" on the reverse! And if someone claims to be selling a genuine 'error' 1983 'New Pence' 2p, please look very carefully at the photographs. These coins were issued only in promotional packs with other uncirculated 1983 coins, and should ideally be in the original packaging, which should show no signs of having been tampered with!
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