Sponsored – Guess what? The numismatic art revolves around collecting rare coins. A revelation! However, what would you call the art of collecting coins that weren’t supposed to exist in the first place? I guess for a numismatist that would be like a child eventually laying eyes on the Easter bunny. A magical moment if you will. So what are these coins you may ask? Well let’s just say, you’d spend a pretty penny for them. There’s your first clue.
Very recently an article appeared in a leading magazine written by a doyen in the numismatic world, wherein the author reported on some treasures from the Royal Collection that few ever knew existed. These pattern coins are as rare as hen’s teeth and maybe even more so when one considers that a smattering of numismatists even realised that they existed.
The sets of these patterns housed in the Royal Collection today may not be the only examples of the coins out there. That because thoughts are that it is possible that somebody in the numismatic world has, probably unwittingly, got one of these treasures nestled in their collections.
Perhaps they purchased it because it was an oddity, or maybe it was unwittingly given to them. Regardless of how they came to be in possession of said coins, the reality is that they do exist. And that throws up a new set of challenges. If it isn’t listed in a catalogue or found on a numismatic site, what’s it worth and who would be interested in acquiring it? The reality is that if such a coin was unrecorded then it won’t appear in a catalogue and thus may well be considered worthless to those non numismatists. Experts though may simply regard it as a mule, a uniface, or a mis-strike and disregard its history.
Have there been coins like this in the past? You bet your bottom dollar there has. And here’s your starter for ten. Let’s put the 1954 penny under the microscope. It shouldn’t exist, according to the Royal Mint as there was no penny struck for that year. But it’s widely known that one has come to market, it’s been seen, it is a genuine penny and yet it shouldn’t be!
So with that said, the next question springs to mind. If there’s one perhaps there are two, and more specifically, perhaps there are other coins just like them out there?
That can really be a rhetorical question as in this day and age with technology at our fingertips, we assume everybody knows which coins are rare and we assume that if any oddities came along then questions would be asked about them.
But how do we know that back in the early 1960s a collector didn’t purchase a full set of pennies that shouldn’t exist, thinking them mere novelties and of no specific interest and, in the intervening half century, they have simply been forgotten about? So how do we know there isn’t a numismatic gem hidden away out there in a collection or inside the deep, dark recesses of a couch?
After all we are all fully aware of the Edward VIII coins that were supposedly never returned to the Mint when the King abdicated; the “lost” 1933 penny; or, in recent years, the dateless 20p, a 1983 “New Pence” 2p or a “drowning swimmer” 50p.
But you see they actually do exist. And even now, out there somewhere, are some coins once struck by two young girls who visited the Royal Mint in the 1930s. The chances are that the person, or people, who have them know little about what they are or about their history, could perhaps be in for a very pleasant surprise indeed. And so like the gold ticket Wonka Bar, we can only hope and pray that one day by hook or by crook, one of these special and mystery coins that weren’t supposed to exist but actually do, happen to find their way into our clutches.