DAD-of-three Matthew Hemingway had no idea that his coin collection, gathering dust in his loft, was worth a small fortune.
He made the decision to sell his stash two weeks ago, and he's made a whopping £277 so far just from selling loose change.
Plasterer Matthew, 36, from West Yorkshire, started collecting coins 10 years ago.
Regularly combing through the spare change in his pocket, he always set aside ones he didn't spot often.
"My dad used to be a bus driver so got change all the time – he’d give me the collectable ones," he said.
"Whenever I picked up a 50p in my change, I’d put it in a jar to save."
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Over the years his collection grew and he has hundreds of rare and collectable coins that he paid nothing for – but is now making a mint from them.
Valuable coins he's found include the Kew Garden 50p, Jemima Puddleduck 50p and the £2 Gunpowder Plot coin.
These coins are valuable because there's not as many of them, and they're in demand.
For example, Change Checker's latest scarcity index shows the 2009 Kew Gardens 50p is the rarest coin, with only 210,000 in existence – and buyers are willing to pay hundreds for them.
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The pandemic put a stop to Matthew's collecting, when shops stopped accepting cash to avoid the spread of Covid.
With his big stash of coins taking up space in the loft, Matthew decided to do a clear out and sell the lot.
He joined coin collecting Facebook groups and advertised his coins.
The UK Coins – Buy – Sell – Swap Your 50p £1 £2 £5 Coins For Free Facebook group was where he was able to find most of his buyers.
But he had no idea just how much his collection was worth.
So far, he's sold eight coins he originally found in his spare change, raking in £277 in total.
The biggest sale he made was his Kew Gardens 50p, which went for £167.
Other big deals were a Peter Rabbit 50p which went for £25, and a Jemima Puddleduck 50p for £10.
"I listed my coin collection on Facebook and my phone went mad with messages," Matthew said.
"I sold a Kew Gardens 50p for £167 alone. It wasn't perfect by any means, it had a few scratches on.
"It’s a lot of money. I’m surprised by how much people actually pay for coins they want."
He reckons he'll make around £1,800 to £2,000 selling all his coins.
Matthew said he'll dish out the cash he's made among his three sons – Finley, 13, Riley, 13, Harley, 7.
"Rather than them pestering me for my own money, they can have it," he said.
He also bought collectable uncirculated coins over the years- ones which you won't find in your spare change.
He's sold a number of these too making another £350, though as he spent money on them in the first place that's not pure profit.
Do you have a rare coin in your spare change?
Rare coins and valuable notes can be worth tens of thousands of times their face value.
The most valuable coins tend to be ones with low mintage numbers or an error.
Those qualities typically make them valuable to collectors.
But other rare and valuable coins could be in your change – ones that contain small and subtle minting errors.
For example, "New Pence" 2p coins from 1983 often sell for hundreds of pounds due to a mintage mistake – they stopped being called "New Pence" in 1981.
Meanwhile a 50p Olympic coin, which was released to celebrate the London 2012 Olympics, has a small error where the water passed directly over the swimmers face.
This was quickly rectified – but a small number were produced and entered circulation.
These coins have sold for up to £1,000.
Look at what your coin has recently sold for on eBay.
Experts from Change Checker recommend to look at "sold listings".
That's because anyone can list a coin on eBay and charge whatever amount they wish and doesn't mean they have been sold for that amount.
By checking the recently sold items you will get a more accurate indication of what people are willing to pay for a particular coin.
How to sell a rare coin
There are lots of ways to sell your coin – you can sell it on eBay, through Facebook, or in an auction.
But be wary of the risks.
For example, there are a number of scams targeting sellers on Facebook.
Crooks will say they're planning to buy the item, and ask for money upfront for a courier they'll be sending round.
But it's all a ploy to get you to send free cash to them – and they never have any intention of picking your item up.
It's always best to meet in person when buying or selling on Facebook Marketplace.
Ensure it's a public meeting spot that's in a well-lit area.
Avoid payment links and log in directly through the payment method's website.
Most sellers prefer to deal with cash directly when meeting to ensure it's legit.
Perhaps the safest way of selling rare coins is to sell it at auction – to do this, contact The Royal Mint's Collectors Service.
It has a team of experts who can help you authenticate and value your coin.
You'll need to enquire via email, and a member of the valuation team will contact get back to you.
Take a picture of your coin and attach this to the email – you can find the details on The Royal Mint's website.
Be aware that you will be charged for this service though – the cost will vary depending on the size of your collection.
You might choose to use eBay to sell your rare coin.
But take into account that if you manage to sell your item then eBay will charge you ten per cent of the money you made – this includes postage and packaging.
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Always keep proof of postage to protect yourself from dodgy buyers who may claim they never received their item.
Send the parcel by tracked delivery if you can.
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