Rare Olympic swimming 50p coin sells on eBay for £10,100 – how to check if yours is worth a mint

A RARE Olympic swimming 50p coin has sold on eBay for a whopping £10,100 – and you could have one at home too.

The design of the coin is one of the themed 50ps that were launched to mark the London 2012 Olympic Games.

In total, there were 29 designs depicting a different sport on each.

The design that sold for thousands of pounds was the aquatic coin with a swimmer on it but the reason it is so valuable is that it is actually an error coin.

Ahead of the coin's release in 2011, the Royal Mint redesigned the aquatics 50p to show less water crossing the swimmer making their face more visible.

But a small number of coins were accidentally struck with the original design and entered into circulation.


The best way to find out if your error coin is genuine

RARE and valuable coins can go for a hefty sum – but how do you know if your coin is the result of a genuine minting error?

The best way to find out if you have an error coin is to send it to the Royal Mint museum, which will analyse it and see if it is a result of a genuine minting error or not.

It'll normally take a couple of weeks to get the results back to you.

But remember, there's a difference between a genuine error coin and one that is just imperfect, for example with a design that is not as clear as you'd expect.

And whatever you do, don't be tempted to splash your cash without evidence from the Mint confirming that it's a genuine error.

Nobody knows exactly how many of the error coins were mistakenly made, which makes them even more valuable to a collector.

Experts predict that they could be worth between £1,000 and £1,500 but the most we've seen one sell for was £820 back in 2014, according to ChangeChecker.

Last August, one fetched £600 on the auction site but in May 2020 this particular coin sold for a huge 20,000 times face value.

The seller found it on the beach using a metal detector and said they believe that the coin was the real deal.

"I don't understand much about coins," the seller wrote, "but I believe this coin is genuine. Do not bid if you don't feel confident."

Typically, uncirculated commemorative coins sell for the most thanks to their near-mint conditions but this one sold for thousands even though it had entered circulation and the seller had highlighted the scratch marks on it.

The dangers of selling your coins on eBay

THE most valuable coins are usually those that have low mintage numbers or those with an error.

These are often deemed the most valuable by collectors.

Once you’ve found out whether the coin is real or not, you have a number of options – either selling it through a coin dealer, at auction or on eBay.

Sell it at auction 

If you’ve got a coin that you would like to sell at auction then you can contact a member of the British Numismatic Trade Association.

They usually deal in very old coins but they may be able to help you assess whether it’s worth selling your coin at auction or whether it would be valuable to a collector.

Sell it on eBay 

If you want to sell the coin you’ve found in your spare change on eBay then you need to know the risks.

Remember to set a minimum price that is higher or at the very least equal to the face value of the coin.

Even if your coin “sells” on eBay for a high price there’s no guarantee that the buyer will cough up.

In its terms and conditions, the auction website states that bidders enter a “legally binding contract to purchase an item”, but there’s no way to enforce this rule in reality.

The most eBay can do is add a note to the buyer's account about the unpaid item or remove their ability to bid and buy.

This is because in order to sign up to the website, users do not need to put in valid bank or PayPal details before making a bid.

If a bidder refuses to pay, then the only option for sellers is to give “second chance offers” to other bidders or relist the item.

For items of a high value, eBay recommends that sellers put a limit on their listing to approve bidders.

It means bidders must email you before placing a bid but NOT that they must pay out the cash if they win.

It was listed on the auction website for £10 but shot up to £100 within 30 hours.

But 10 days later – and after 68 bids – the rare error coin sold for £10,101.

Coin expert Colin Bellamy, who runs Coin Hunter, previously warned Sun readers to be cautious before bidding on the aquatics error coins listed on eBay because there are a number of fakes on the market.

He said: "There are large numbers of copies of this coin, some sellers list items to deceive people into thinking they are buying a real Royal Mint produced coin.

"Stay away from eBay listings. Your best bet may be a car boot sale."

If you've got one at home, check to see if the water lines cross over the swimmer's face – if they do then you could be on to a winner.

Of course, a coin is only worth what someone will pay for it so there's no guarantee that yours will sell for as much.

Coin Hunter has a new tool that reveals how much your rare 50p coin is really worth on eBay.

It's not the only coin tracker available – ChangeChecker.org launched own eBay league table this time last year.

Reckon you've got a 50p coin that might be worth a small fortune? We've put together a roundup of the rarest and most valuable 50p coins so that you can check your change.

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