eBay: “Very rare” Johnson dictionary coin selling for £3k – why you need to watch out

If looking for a commemorative coin, eBay can be a good place to start, and there are plenty to choose from on the bidding site.

Even though many of these coins are not circulated, it does not necessarily mean they are as rare as sellers may suggest.

Recently, a Johnson Dictionary 50p coin was offered up for bidding with a starting price much higher than face value.

The coin was described as “very rare” and has been selling for £3,000, but those thinking about making a purchase need to be careful for one reason.

eBay: “Very rare” Johnson dictionary coin selling for £3000 – but watch out

The eBay user, “mcdo3628.ytum9”, put the coin up for sale with the asking price of £3,000 but this does not seem to actually reflect how much the coin is worth.

The seller described the coin as a “very rare 2005 Johnson Dictionary 1755 50p coin”.

Anyone hoping to get their hands on the coin will be offered free standard delivery, which means the coin arrive by first class Royal Mail post.

The coin was designed by Tom Phillips and released for circulation by the Royal Mint in 2005.

It was created in celebration of the 250th anniversary of Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language.

As well as the inscription of the words “Johnson’s Dictionary 1755” and “50”, the coin features glimpses of the dictionary definition of the words fifty and pence.

Despite being a commemorative coin, it might not be as rare or valuable as the seller suggests.

The coin has a mintage of 17,649,000, which means this is how many of the coins were originally manufactured.

According to coin website, Change Checker, this ranks the 50 pence piece as one on the scarcity index which in fact makes the coin common.

What’s more, the coin may only be worth £3, after the coin publication Spend It? Save It? What should you do? gave it this small value.

Although the coin is thought to be worth more than face value, it is still far from the valuation given by this seller.

Those hoping to bag the coin should be careful and checking with a coin expert before making a purchase is recommended.

There are lots of “rare” coins on offer on eBay and another one has recently sold for a huge amount.

The Stephen Hawking 50p coin was created to honour the scientist and professor who diet last year and only 400 of the coins were made.

The coin sold on eBay for £900 which is not too far off the mark as the coins were originally on sale for £795 and are now sold out. 

A Beatrix Potter 50p coin described as “rare” was recently put on sale for £5000, but it does not appear to be worth the price tag. 

The publication Spend it? Save it? What should you do? gave the coin has a value of just £4.

Which are the rarest £1, £2, 50p, 20p, 10p and 2p coins?

Rarest £2 coins

The rarest £2 coin is the 2002 Commonwealth Games NI coin with 485,500 in circulation. This is followed by the 2002 Commonwealth Games Wales which has 588,500 in circulation.

Next up is the 2015 Navy, and there are 650,000 in circulation.


Rarest £1 coins

The most rare £1 coins are all part of a series celebrating the British capitals.

The rarest of these is the 2011 Edinburgh coin, with 935,000 in circulation. Of the 2011 Cardiff coins there are 1,615,000 in circulation, while the 2010 London coin has 2,635,000 in circulation.


Rarest 50p coin

The rarest 50p coin is the Kew Gardens coin, which is also the rarest coin in circulation. It there were only 210,000 minted.

The football Olympic 50p coin has 1,125,500 in circulation, and the wrestling coin has 1,129,500 in circulation.


It is not so easy to evaluate the rarest 20p coins, 10p coins and even 2p coins as exact circulation figures are not known.

However, various versions of the coins are known to sell for large sums.

These include the dateless 20ps, which are actually part of a run from 2008. There may be between 50,000 and 200,000 of these coins in circulation.

The 1983 ‘New Pence’ 2p coin can also sell for a huge sum, up to £650.

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