Sep 10, 2011

Strike gold with pre-decimal silver

Do you have some old shillings and half crowns stashed away in boxes or bottles? They might be worth rather more than you thought.

The rocketing price of silver (it has doubled over the past year) means that coins minted before 1947 – which had real silver in them – are now worth 40 times their face value. Dealers will give you £1 for a sixpenny bit, popularly known as a "tanner" which, on decimalisation in 1971, turned from a 6d into 2½p coin. The old shilling coin, which became the 5p piece, is now worth £2 – actually beating the rate of inflation since 1971.

Unfortunately, "silver" coins minted after 1947 contain no silver and are worth no more than their face value. A reader recently contacted us after helping an elderly friend declutter her home and coming across a 2kg box of pre-decimal English coins, mostly small denomination coppers and silver coins from the 50s and 60s. In an age where we are encouraged to recycle, and where thousands of "more mature" people are likely to have old coins gathering dust, what, she asked, can be done with them? Read More.