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Brit Tip #9

Beware of modern coin repackagings

I have posted some of this information on this subject before, but it bears repeating, especially for the benefit of newer forum members and visitors to my website.

There is a rise in repackagings of modern British issues. By “modern issue” I mean coins dated from 1937 through 1967. The British Royal Mint, as well as private companies, has been accumulating old £sd issues, mostly the cupro-nickel ones starting from 1947. These coins are then polished (yes, polished) and put in attractive packages for resale. I have seen these things hawked on every corner in Oxford Street as well as at Hamley’s in London! The sets are aimed at tourists who have absolutely no understanding of numismatics.

The most common repackagings are date sets, type sets and coins-by-year sets, mostly Elizabeth II 1953-1967. Some have legitimate BU coins in them and could be very good deals. Many have plain circulated coins, but a growing percentage of these sets now contain polished coins. Even with a bad auction picture, you can tell whether or not the coins have been polished by looking at their fields. They will exhibit a distinctly different color than the features.

Always ask the seller before bidding on coin sets. Even then, in many cases, the seller may be ignorant of such matters. If you are interested in a set being offered and aren’t certain whether the coins are polished or not, please email me for a second opinion before you bid!

Posted on CU 8/10/2003