Republic of Ireland
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Valuable Two Pound Coins
With The Queen Wearing A Necklet
Is The Rumour True?
An Urban Myth
During 1999, we became aware of a persistent rumour that a two pound coin with the queen wearing a necklet was worth £15. There is no truth in this rumour. It is the sort of story which appears to start for no particular reason, and then self-perpetuates in a form of "Chinese whispers", so that it becomes part of an urban folklore of misinformation.
1997 Two Pounds
The rumour relates to the 1997 new bi-metallic two pounds coin.
The nearest we can come to solving the "mystery of the queen's necklet" is that a listener phoned a Red Rose Radio / Rock FM phone-in programme, and said that he had heard, from where or whom we do not know, that a two pound coin with the queen wearing a necklet was worth £15. That afternoon we received about four telephone calls all asking was it true, etc.. We were able to quickly ascertain that there was no known rarity or error. All two pound coins from 1986 to 1997 bear the queen's third portrait in which she is shown wearing what appears to be a pearl necklet, from 1998 the obverse (head side) design changed to a more mature fourth portrait, in which the portrait of Her Majesty is shown truncated at the neck rather than the shoulder. She therefore appears without a necklet.
We had originally thought that within a few weeks of the radio programme, this particular rumour would die a natural death, but unfortunately it appears to have started to replicate itself, and we still receive numerous telephone calls and e-mails about it. As the weeks pass by, the "value" jumps around, and although £15 is the commonest figure we hear, sometimes it changes to £5, £17, and other figures.
Blame The Media!
Since we wrote the above, we believe that the rumour has also appeared in "The Sun" newspaper, which is probably enough to warn most people that the rumour is totally unfounded, and on at least one TV programme.
Obviously the rumour-monger is really having great fun!
It is true to say that there were some initial problems with this, the first of the new bi-metallic two pound coins to be produced.
Although it was the UK's first bimetallic coin, they have been in use in other countries for quite a few years, and the Royal Mint have been responsible for producing many bi-metallic coins for other countries.
A small number of vending machine manufacturers appear to have had problems calibrating their older equipment to the "electronic signature" of the new coin, and because of this, the new coin was not officially launched until June 1998, instead of November 1997 as originally planned.
Because of this, some people have "guessed" or assumed that the 1997 dated coins must have been recalled, or only issued in small quantites. This is not the case. The Royal Mint's issue figures for 1997 show 13,734,625 nickel-brass two pound coins were issued in 1997, followed by 67,268,125 in 1998, excluding special editions for sale to collectors. It is possible that some of the coins produced and issued in 1998 were actually dated 1997, because the Royal Mint, being an efficient factory, does not discard its stock of perfectly usable dies on December 31st each year, but continues using its stock for several months into the new year. During a visit to the Royal Mint on Friday 10th March 2000, I saw 1999 dated £2 coins still being produced. From this and a small random sampling of £2 coins in circulation, I think it is safe to assume that about 14 million 1997's were issued.
Not Enough To Go Around?
Obviously if every one of the UK's approximate 60 million population decided that all wanted a 1997 £2 coin, there would not be enough to go around, and in that case I am sure they would start selling for a few pounds over their face value, but it is more likely that any collectors would prefer the superior finish of the specimen version which we have on sale at £6 each (see below).
If anybody thinks that 14 million is a low mintage figure, they would be well advised to look at the year 2000 gold sovereigns and half sovereigns. Only 250,000 of each will be produced, making them over 50 times rarer. Because they are an historic gold coin with world-wide recognition, they will be in great demand.
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