News of an error in UK’s Royal Mint 20 pence coin (20p) blasted through the media this week, creating an intensified fervor in collectors trying to find and buy the coins.
Prices for the coin, which have a face value of about 33 cents US, have shot up with auction bidding reaching as high as several hundred dollars. (See current eBay auctions.)
According to reports, the Mint issued tens of thousands "year-less" 20p coins toward the end of 2008.
"The Royal Mint can confirm that a small number of new design 20 pence coins have been incorrectly struck using the obverse from the previous design, resulting in these coins having no date, " a Royal Mint spokesperson was quoted on BBC News.
"The issue has now been resolved and the Royal Mint would like to reassure members of the public that these coins are legal tender."
The British Royal Mint last year launched several circulating coins with new reverse designs featuring the Shield of the Royal Arms. It was the first new design in 40 years.
During the design process, the year of issue for the 20p was moved from the reverse side to the obverse ("heads side") which features Queen Elizabeth II. However, some of the new coins were struck using the old die obverse, resulting in the missing dates.