Australians are being urged to check their loose change because just one coin could earn them thousands of dollars.
Tiny minting errors on ordinary coins are highly sought after by collectors but many Aussies going unnoticed because people rarely check for them.
A tiny 5c piece from 2007 was accidentally made with the Queen’s head on both sides was sold for $3000.
Numismatist Matthew Thompson from Town Hall Coins and Collectables with a rare double-stamped $2 coin that is worth $3000 due to a mistake by the mint during manufacturing
The blank disc of this $2 was double-stamped by the high-pressure die during manufacture
Coin expert Matthew Thompson from Town Hall Coins and Collectables in Sydney said that minting mistake made the double-headed coin a rare ‘double-obverse’ that can be worth thousands of dollars in good condition.
‘The last one I sold was for $3500,’ Mr Thompson told Daily Mail Australia on Monday.
‘That one was in top end condition and so was worth thousands. One in really poor condition, you’d still be looking at a few hundred for,’ he said.
This rare 20c piece made in 1966 with a wavy baseline fault on the number ‘2’ is worth up $2000. The bottom of the ‘2’ is usually straight
Mr Thompson, a numismatist, said most people don’t check their coins and pass on rare coins worth thousands of dollars by accident.
Others are keen to inspect every coin in their change jars, which is a process called ‘noodling’.
‘I’ve done it before if I’ve a bag of coins or change jars. If you just spend a bit of time going through them it can certainly pay off,’ he said.
Sometimes coins get clipped during the minting process when the discs are not ejected properly along the conveyor belt during the manufacturing process.
Facebook page Detecting Downunder said this common ‘rabbit ears’ fault on the $1 coin can be worth up to $30 in good condition. Many people have reported finding it in their change
The blank disc can also get double-stamped by the high-pressure die.
‘People don’t expect institutions like the Mint to make mistakes,’ he said.
‘But from time to time things can go awry. If you see mistakes on a coin, if you have something interesting, odd or out of place, then other people are likely to find it interesting, too – that’s why people collect.’
In 2000 a $1 coin was accidentally stamped with the head die from a 10c piece.
The coin is known as a ‘mule’, as it is the product of two different species of parents.
‘It (the head side) is slightly smaller, so it gives a double-ring effect,’ Mr Thompson said.
Double-headed 5c piece from 2007 is one of the rarer minting errors. A coin in really good condition can sell for about $3500, while those in poor condition still fetch a few hundred
‘If you see two rings on your dollar coin, it could be worth a few hundred or up to $4000 in really good condition.’
Mr Thompson said there were about 6000 made, but it was unconfirmed so it was difficult to tell exactly how many might be out there.
A more common $1 variant is ‘rabbit ears’ on the hopping kangaroos, which can make a coin worth up to $30, depending on condition.
Detecting Downunder, a Facebook page run by coin collectors, said the recurring fault can be found on $1 coins from the years 1984, 1985 1994, 1998, 2000, 2006 ,2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2016.
More than 1900 excited treasure hunters commented on Detecting Downunder’s post, some of which had found more than one.
‘Found mine just a week ago in my change from a train ticket,’ wrote Jual Robert Butler.
If you see two rings on your dollar coin it could be worth up to $4000 in really good condition – the $1 ‘mule’ from 2000 was accidentally stamped with the smaller head side of a 10c piece
Detecting Downunder also reported a rare 20c piece made in 1966 with a wavy baseline fault on the number ‘2’ is now selling for up to $2000.
Although the mint made 58.2 million 20c coins that year, only a few of them had the unique wavy baseline, making the faulty coins valuable to collectors, Detecting Downunder wrote on Facebook.
‘If you happen to find one of these little beauties, it could be worth big money as these coins are currently selling for between $350 and $800 EACH on eBay, with one at $2000, and they’re only getting more valuable each year,’ Detecting Downunder wrote.
The way to spot a wavy baseline fault is to look at the bottom of the number ‘2’ on the playtpus side of the coin.
On a normal coin both the top and bottom edges of the bottom of the ‘2’ are straight.
The faulty 1966 coin has a wavy top edge on the base of the ‘2’ that is clear to see, while the bottom edge remains straight.
Many people also collect Australia’s pre-decimal currency, and while copper pennies are common, there are some years you should look out for.
Mr Thompson advised people sitting on a bag of pennies to be on the lookout for 1925, 1930 and 1946 years that can be worth a little or a lot more.