Can You Make Money By Selling Coins And Banknotes?

Isle of Man TT Rally 20p. Text reads: can you make money by selling coins?

I’m much better at collecting than I am at selling, but even I have been tempted to try to make money by selling coins and banknotes.

Despite the proliferation of Trinity Mirror group newspaper articles on rare 50p coins would seem to indicate, the truth is you’re not likely to become an overnight millionaire after finding a rare 50p in your change; however, you can still sell money for more than its face value, and sometimes, for much more.

Coins and banknotes are practical works of art

Coins and bills have always fascinated me, and I remember as a kid in Barbados playing with a few pre-independence coins that my mother had kept. They were so strange and special, and they had this mystical queen’s face on them – crazy!

Nowadays, I’ve gotten used to all the coins in my pocket having this same lady’s face on them, and sadly it’s not mystical or crazy at all.

Whilst I’ve traded flying fish on my dollars for Lincoln on my cents, and later for Liz on my 50 pence, I still feel intrigued by money, especially coins.

There’s a lot of artistic merit in their designs and in their reach: different times in my life were defined by the visual language of the currency I used, and especially by that weird transition period when I wasn’t used to it yet.

As my husband is a window cleaner, he brings home huge amounts of loose change to be sorted and later banked. It seems as though most of his customers have never heard whispers of the oncoming cashless society.

Sorting through the coins and bagging them up for the bank, we’ve often come across different, unusual (and sometimes dodgy) coins, and I’ve always been the one to set them aside for my stash.

Eventually, he convinced me to try to sell my tiny collection on eBay.

This coincided with the release of the new polymer £5 notes, and in one day, I sold 6 coins and one note. All of them showed a significant return on their value – sure, on small amounts, but the profit shows a return you’d never achieve via a bank.

Tips for selling coins and notes on eBay

Remember to factor in your:

  • Postage costs – don’t underestimate your postage costs – on low-value items, they could wipe your profit entirely. You’ll probably want to send cash via recorded delivery.
  • PayPal fees – these fees can cut into your profit more than you realise.
  • Competition – are there lots of other sellers offering the same coin? Is it worth competing on price?
  • Catalogue – the other coins you have on offer at the same time, to tempt more sales.

Do your research, and just remember, don’t get carried away by what people are asking for on eBay; it’s what the items have sold for that matters!

Here are the coins and banknotes I sold for more than face value:

2011 WWF 50p – sold for £2.70

I sold a WWF 50p for £2.70 – a profit of 440%.

Even better was the 2012 London Olympics offside rule 50p – sold for £3.20, a profit of 540%.

The biggest hit was an Isle of Man 20p featuring the Manx TT rally. The opening bid was 99p, and it ended at £8.59. That’s a 4195% profit!

1997 Isle of Man TT Rally 20p

I made £33.49 from selling £10.70 – a profit of £22.79, or in other words, 213% in one week.

The smaller denominations did phenomenally well, whilst the only £5 note I sold went for £9.50, which is still almost twice its face value.

I thought the notes with AA serial numbers would be popular with collectors, but in the end, it was AK47 that did it… that really surprised me, and I wouldn’t have listed it if I hadn’t come across news articles about these serial numbers being sought after.

The AK47 serial number outperformed AA serial numbers on eBay.

If it’s easy to make money by selling money, why aren’t I still doing it?

First of all, it’s possible to make money by selling coins and banknotes, but it’s not exactly easy.

Many interesting and collectible coins in circulation aren’t exactly rare, and don’t command as much as you might expect.

I’m more interested in the artistic side of money, so I’ve been working on designing my own banknotes and coins.

if you’re interested in collectible 50 pence coins, you’ll probably know about that rare Kew Gardens 50p – and you’ll know my pain when I say that it turned up in my husband’s change… but got sent off to the bank.

Spare a sob for me and the 50p that got away!

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