COIN collectors can use a free online calculator to work out how much old change is worth.Pre-decimal coins, such as shillings and sixpences, are no l
COIN collectors can use a free online calculator to work out how much old change is worth.
Pre-decimal coins, such as shillings and sixpences, are no longer made and can’t be spent in stores – but that doesn’t mean you can’t sell them.
Before decimalisation – the switchover to the currency system we use now – many British coins were made of precious metals.
This means pre-decimal coins are worth much more than their face value.
This week marked 50 years of the decimal currency since the changeover took place on February 15, 1971.
Before this happened, under the British currency there were 12 pennies to a shilling and 20 shillings in a pound.
How to safely store valuable coins
HERE are some tricks to keep your valuable coins safe from toning:
- Store your coins in individual containers
- Put it in a clear, air tight holder that lets you see the coin from both sides
- Avoid putting them in clear plastic sandwich bags because they can still rub against each other an may cause scratches or marks
- Store your collection in a folder or album, although tarnishing may occur quicker than in an airtight container
- Keep them out of a damp environment. You can use silica gel to help prevent damp
- Wear clean, white gloves when handling the coins
- Steer clear of using PVC materials as it traps moisture and releases acidic gases which can damage the collection.
The system we use now is based on 100 pennies to the pound, while the some coins, like the shilling, are no longer used.
But if you still have old coins lying around, the Britannia Coin Company has a calculator that gives you a price for them.
The value it gives you is based on live silver prices – this means their worth according to the calculator does fluctuate on a day-to-day basis.
However, you should still shop around for the best price and seek expert advice if you think you have a rare coin in your collection.
In the past year alone, the Britannia Coin Company has processed just under three metric tons of pre-1947 silver coins, with a value of just over £2million.
How does the calculator work?
The coin calculator, which is free to use, lets you check your change by weight, denomination or face value.
By weight: If you want to value your change by weight, you first need to work out if you’ve got pre-1947 or pre-1920 coins.
Separate the two into piles, then weigh them on a pair of scales.
Once you’ve got your weight, you can input this figure into the calculator and it will give you an estimated value.
If you don’t have a set of scales, we’ve put how much each coin should weigh in the box below.
The Britannia Coin Company is able to estimate their worth based on weight as the silver content in coins varies depending on when they were minted.
Pre-1920 coins are more valuable as they have a silver content of 92.5%, compared to 50% in ones dated to 1947.
How much do old coins weigh?
IF you don’t have a pair of scales, you can estimate the weight of your silver coins because each one has a standard weight.
- Crown – 28.28g
- Half crown – 14.14g
- Florin – 11.31g
- Shilling – 5.65g
- Sixpence – 2.38g
- Threepence – 1.4g
By denomination: This is the simplest way to work out how much your coins are worth, as you just input how many you have of each type.
For example, you would let the calculator know exactly how many shillings, crowns or florins you have.
There is also the option to say how many half crowns, double florins, sixpences and threepences are in your collection.
Again, you’ll also need to say if your coins are pre-1947 or pre-1920.
By face value: Another option is to check your change based on the stated value of your silver coins in pounds, shillings and pence.
For example, four crowns or eight half crowns would equal one pound.
Or if you have sixpences, 40 of these would make up a pound, or two shillings.
Like the above options, you’ll need to make sure your change is separated into pre-1947 and pre-1920.
The Britannia Coin Company has a handy chart on its website telling you how to convert your coins into face value.
How much can I get for my old coins?
This first depends on whether your coin is dated pre-1920 or from 1920 to 1947.
We did the math and had a play around with the Britannia Coin Company calculator to give you some estimates.
Again, these are based on live silver prices at the time of writing.
- Crown (x1) – £13.72
- Half crown (x1) – £6.88
- Florin (x1) – £5.51
- Double florin (x1) – £10.96
- Shilling (x1) – £2.73
- Sixpence (x1) – £1.36
- Threepence (x1) – 71p
- Crown (x1) – £7.24
- Half crown (x1) – £3.63
- Florin (x1) – £2.91
- Double florin (x1) – £5.80
- Shilling (x1) – £1.44
- Sixpence (x1) – 72p
- Threepence (x1) – 37p
It’s worth noting that these are just guide prices based purely on the information you’ve inputted into the calculator.
If you think you’ve got a rare or extremely old coin, you should get in contact with the Britannia Coin Company for a more tailored quote.
Jon White, who runs the business, told The Sun that each coin gets checked over and if a rare one is spotted, it gets pulled out for an individual evaluation.
While the Britannia Coin Company will buy your coins for the price they give you, you can also use it as a guide for how much they’re worth if you want to sell elsewhere.
We explain more about other ways to sell your coins below.
The quotes Britannia Coin Company give are free, but you will need to pay postage to send your coins.
Alternatively, you can hand your coins over in person, once lockdown restrictions are lifted, at their base in Royal Wootton Bassett.
Where else can I sell old coins?
Always shop around to make sure you get the best price for your coins.
As well as getting quotes from experts, it is worthwhile checking recent eBay listings to see how much a similar coin has sold for.
For example, an 1888 Crown recently sold for £45 with five bidders – this is £31.18 than the calculator price for a pre-1920 coin.
We also saw one half Crown from 1875 that fetched £36 after being bid on 22 times.
How much you’re likely to get through an auction site will depend on the condition of your coin, how old it is, and ultimately how much someone is willing to pay for it.
If you don’t want to put them on eBay, there are other websites that specialise in buying pre-decimal change.
For example, Gold Traders has a similar pre-decimal calculator that you can use.
But before you part ways with your change, talk to experts to make sure you haven’t got a super rare coin that could be worth more than you’re being offered.
Coin Hunter lists experts and buyers who you can speak to.
Jon White, who runs the Britannia Coin Company, told The Sun: “The calculator is useful because it allows a customer to generate an up-front, accurate valuation for their coins.
“This then allows them to make an informed decision as to whether they’re being offered a fair price.
“Many dealers simply value old silver coins based on multiples of their face value, which can be confusing.”
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