Published on April 22nd, 2015 | by Sarah Jubb
All About The Twenty Pence Coin
In continuing our series of articles about legal tender coins, this week we take a look at the twenty pence coin, the first in our series that is not in the familiar circular shape. Instead the twenty pence coin has seven sides and is an equilateral curve heptagon to help it avoid any confusion with any similar sized coins, similar to the fifty pence coin.
Unlike the five pence and ten pence coins, the twenty pence coin is still made from cupro nickel. The five and ten pence coins were originally made of this, but from 2012 they are now made from nickel plated steel due to rising metal costs. Along with the fifty pence coin, the twenty pence coin is only legal tender for sums up to £10 and as of 2014 there were an estimated 2,765 million coins in circulation.
Since its introduction in 1982, the twenty pence coin has had two designs on the reverse; the original was present from 1982 until 2008 and had a crowned rose as the main feature. After 2008 it gained part of the Royal Shield design by Matthew Dent and has part of the fourth quarter of the shield and the lower section of the second quarter.
An interesting fact about the twenty pence coin is that there are an estimated 50,000 to 200,000 coins in circulation that feature a unique error. These coins do not have their date of minting on them, resulting in them being the first British coin to enter circulation un-dated in over 300 years. It was due to the new design being implemented which resulted in the date being moved from the reverse to the obverse.
These dateless coins featured the obverse of the coins produced before 2008 and the new Royal Shield version of the reverse. The newer coins had the date on the obverse with the Queen’s portrait whereas the oldest coins featured the date on the reverse with the crowned rose, resulting in coins that had no date at all.
The coins are still classed as legal tender, but the increased rarity of these unique coins means that they are coveted by collectors and have a high face value. In 2009 an undated twenty pence coin was reportedly sold on auction site eBay for £7,100, making them very valuable coins indeed.