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Two Pence Coins
An "Urban Myth" Stories are circulating about the scarcity of certain decimal two pence (2p) coins, to the effect that those inscribed "New Pence" are scarce. This is not true. Here are the simple facts.
In 1971 when decimal currency was intruduced, all coins (½p, 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 50p) had the denomination in words including the word ("NEW").
A 1983 2p coin inscribed "two pence" is of a little value, but not a great deal.
A 1983 2p coin inscribed "new pence" is rare, and one appearing in auction might fetch in the region of £100 or £200.
Just as a matter of interest, over 1.4 billion twopences were issued in 1971, and in total 3.1 billion 2p coins were issued inscribed "2 NEW PENCE". It is clear that they are not scarce.
Any stories suggesting that they are anything but common have been passed on by people who have heard the story and then been willing to pass it on without checking the facts. The incorrect details have appeared on UK television, and in newspapers, even having been repeated by "experts".
written Saturday 6 December 2003. Updated Tuesday
7 December 2004.
Copyright Robert Murray.