Bank of England coins

Bank of England coins

The former Ford engineer bought them for £5 each from high street banks, hoping they would grow in value or at least be worth their stated, face value.

But no. Lloyds among other banks won't accept them. A spokesman said branch staff should tell customers who want to deposit the coins to go to their local Post Office.

Mr Owers eventually had the same answer from the Royal Mint.

Anyone looking to cash in their coins should try alternative banks. HSBC, The Co-op and Santander told The Telegraph that staff would accept commemorative coins – including the £5, £20, £500 and £1, 000 coins – at face value.

‘Money you can’t spend’

Mr Owers said that banks had been only too pleased to sell him the coins in the first place – but that now he found them to be “worthless”.

“On my way to the bank, I thought I had twenty five quid in my back pocket – but it wasn’t worth the effort of carrying them there."

Mr Owers tried to see whether they could be sold to specialist dealers, but quickly discovered there was no interest. “The trouble is that they were mass issued and there are millions of them so there’s no value, " he said.

He advised others to think twice about buying the coins. “At least if you buy a commemorative stamp you can stick it on an envelope and use it, ” he said.

Coin experts say such purchases are often disappointing from an investment angle. Phillip Cohen, a London-based dealer who pays £2 to £3 for these particular coins, said they offered little value - other than sentimental - and that banks were increasingly likely to turn them away.

He advised owners who wanted to cash in their coins to try several different banks.

Mr Cohen said: “Banks are suspicious of these coins, because in the past people passed similar-looking coins to bank staff who cashed them in, only to find out later on that their books didn’t balance."

Meanwhile in high street shops the coins tend to confuse staff unfamiliar with the currency. Officially, major stores say they will accept the coins, with John Lewis stating that staff are trained to recognise the currency and Tesco saying that - while they rarely see commemorative coins - staff should accept them.

High-value coins: do they fare better?

Royal Mint also sells £1, 000 'crowns', including a commemorative First World War outbreak coin that is on sale today for the inflated price tag £45, 000.

Dealers say it is unlikely that such coins will offer good returns – especially if the original investment costs forty-five times its face value.

But some commemorative coins attract interest from foreign investors. Mr Cohen said that he had previously sold seven £1, 000 coins to an overseas customer for an undisclosed profit.

Gerry Buddle, a specialist at the London Numismatics Club, advised budding investors to only buy modern coins if they are limited edition or made from precious metals.

“Any serious collector would not go for £5 coins because the Royal Mint churns them out by the sackful, ” he said.

Mr Buddle, who boasts fifty years of coin expertise, said £5 coins were only worth buying as souvenir or gift. “Most dealers will laugh at you if you take them in to sell on, ” he said.

Royal Mint making a mint from celebrations

With royal and national events coming thick and fast, Royal Mint has raked in £214m from commemorative coins this year alone.

Sales include coins celebrating the London Olympics, diamond jubilee, royal wedding and - most recently - to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. That coin is being sold at face value, £20.

We take a look at some of the coins they have sold over the years – and whether they have kept their value.

Struck gold? How coins have fallen

£500 Olympic silver coin (2012) – Royal Mint sold for £3, 000, dealer pays £1, 400

£5 royal wedding silver coin (2011) – Royal Mint sold for £82.50, dealer pays £75

Winston Churchill crown (1965) – Royal Mint sold for around £1, dealer pays 20p

£5 Queen Mother’s 90th birthday cupronickel coin (1990) – Royal Mint sold for £9.95, dealer pays £3

£5 Diana, Princess of Wales 1999 memorial gold coin – Royal Mint sold for £1, 745, dealer pays £1, 000

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