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British mint’s error is collectors’ item

Associated Press / June 30, 2009
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LONDON - Next time you’re in Britain, check your change.

The Royal Mint admits that it has made a rare error, producing coins without a date on them for the first time in centuries.

The mint said yesterday that at least 100,000 of the year-less 20-pence coins, normally worth 33 US cents at face value, slipped into circulation at the end of last year. If found, one coin would garner hundreds of times more on the collectors’ market.

Numismatists say the last time the Royal Mint accidentally left out the year on a coin was in 1672.

The latest error happened when the Royal Mint issued a new design of the coin that moved the year from the back side to the one that bears the head of Queen Elizabeth II. But mint spokesman Jadon Raj said one batch that did not add “2008’’ to the head’s side got through quality control.

Raj said the mint could not issue a recall because the coins are legal to use.

“As far as were concerned their face value is 20 pence, so there isn’t an issue for us,’’ he said.