Coin Auctions: How to Buy and Sell Rare Coins | History Hit
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Coin Auctions: How to Buy and Sell Rare Coins

Celeste Neill

10 May 2022
A vintage sweet tin containing someone's personal collection of historic coins, some of which are worth tens of thousands of pounds.
Image Credit: Malcolm Park / Alamy Stock Photo

Are your old coins worth a fortune? They just might be. Many historic coins can turn out to be rare and even very valuable, but without an expert evaluation of your coin, it can be impossible to know its value. Is it made of silver or gold? Does it look brand new, or is it so worn that it is barely identifiable? Many people have collected coins throughout their lives or have been handed coins from generation to generation, but it can still be hard to know what they’re worth.

In September 2021, metal detectorist Michael Leigh-Mallory discovered a gold penny in a Devonshire field that dates back to the time of Henry III (1207-1272). At auction, the coin fetched £648,000, making it one of the most valuable coin sales in history. Meanwhile, a Queen Victoria coin from 1839, engraved by William Wyon of The Royal Mint, sold for £340,000 at auction in 2017. It just goes to show that rare historic coins are out there, waiting to be appraised and auctioned, possibly for a substantial sum.

Dan Snow gets a rare glimpse of the hidden treasures kept behind the doors at The Royal Mint Museum.
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Auctions at The Royal Mint

So, if you have some historic coins or rare coins you are looking to sell, an auction could be the best way to find the right buyer. The Royal Mint’s regular auctions provide a great opportunity to offer coins to a large buying audience and can help make sure you get a fair price for your coins. Of particular interest are British coins that were originally struck by The Royal Mint in gold, silver or platinum. Coins that have been used in circulation or made after 1900 are not ideal for auction sales with The Royal Mint.

The ‘Una and the Lion’ British £5 coin, dating to 1839. It is a celebrated and highly valuable coin.

Image Credit: National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History via Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

This June, The Royal Mint will hold their first independent consignment auction. In the year that Her Majesty The Queen marks her Platinum Jubilee, the auction celebrates great leaders from across the world and British monarchs that have made coinage collectable. If you have a coin, or a collection of coins and you’re not sure what to do with them, an auction could be the answer, especially if they are British coins originally struck by The Royal Mint.

A close-up of a coin collection.

Image Credit: Deputy_illustrator /

How to auction your coins

Think you might have a valuable historic coin? Keen to consign it to auction with The Royal Mint? If so, just follow these 4 easy steps to consign coins to a Royal Mint auction:

1. Contact The Royal Mint on their consignment auction page.

2. Provide as much information about each coin as possible. They will need to know what the coin is and what grade it is in. The easiest way to answer this is to simply send them a high-resolution picture of each side of the coin on the consignment auction page.

3. You will then be given an estimated auction valuation and the coin can then be sent to The Royal Mint, who will confirm the value and issue the sales contract.

4. Near the auction day, you will receive details of the lot number your coin is in so you can watch the auction that your coin will be sold in live.

Discover more about The Royal Mint’s upcoming auctions to see if there are any that suit a coin or collection you’re looking to sell. To find out more about starting or growing your coin collection, visit or call The Royal Mint’s team of experts on 0800 03 22 153 to find out more.

Chris Barker, historian at the Royal Mint Museum takes Dan through some of the rarest coins in the collection from within the vaults, unravelling what the coinage reveals about monarchs from the Norman conquest right through to the 20th century, including the coins created for Edward VIII but were never released in light of his abdication.
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Celeste Neill