Auction house swamped with calls from people who believe they have a rare 20p coin

An auction house has received thousands of phone calls and emails from around the world as a result of plans to sell a rare twenty pence piece which is now worth thousands of euro.

Whyte’s Auctioneers are selling a rare trial coin, now worth up to €6,000, which was issued in advance of production to various companies and organisations to facilitate calibration of vending machines and other coin-operated devices such as telephones, meters etc.

Sources in the Central Bank said less than 50 pieces of the 500 or so issued were not returned. To date, about ten examples in private hands have been recorded, making it one of the rarest Irish modern coins, even scarcer than the 1943 florin.

Since announcing the sale six days ago the auction house has been swamped with people thinking they have hit the jackpot.

A Whyte’s Spokesperson said: “It’s been non-stop with people contacting us not only in Ireland but from abroad as well saying they have such a coin. In fact we’ve been dealing with queries on this since we announced our Eclectic Collectors auction for next month.

“In one day alone we received at least a hundred phone calls and scores of emails. There has been little time to deal with anything else such is the amazing amount of interest in the coin and other possible coins from the same year being still out there.

“However, some people are getting carried away with themselves in so far as they think any of the 20p coins from 1985 onwards are worth thousands of euro which they aren’t.

They specifically have to be the year 1985.

“We just don’t want members of the public to be disillusioned and disappointed when they make contact us to say they have such a coin. We would urge them to look closely at the year on the coin before they jump for joy.

“We believe that the most accurate figure regarding how many of these coins are still out there to be between 15 and 20.

“So excited have the public become that they are now asking us about other coins they have which they are hoping are worth a lot of money too.”

Lot 545, is an old £20 ‘Lady Lavery’ Central Bank note dating back to March 1943 and World War II. It also is valued at €6,000.

The auction takes place on April 6 at 11am in the Free Masons’ Hall, Molesworth St, Dublin.

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