The Battle of Britten
[ 'I say! You expect me to swallow that old hogwash??' Mr Benjamin Britten - image reblogged from bbc.co.uk ]
A few years back stupid rumours were doing the rounds about how scarce (and super valuable) a Benjamin Britten fifty pence was. Just who created this ludicrous myth is unclear, but I am hoping they went on to receive the spanking they so desperately deserved.
Unfortunately, some folk were gullible enough to swallow this story and a few unscrupulous sellers on eBay took full advantage of the situation. Yup, before you could say Jack Robinson (whoever he is), ‘ultra rare’ Benjamin Britten coins were selling for completely nutty amounts of money online. But it always pans out this way in the wake of ‘coin fairy tales’.
Of course, Benjamin Britten fifty pences are not in the least bit scarce at all. In fact, they are as common as doggy doo-doos (which are thankfully a little less common these days thanks to stricter ‘Doggy-Doo-Doing Regulations’ being in put in place). A mintage of 5,300,000 is in no way low, irrespective of how one chooses to dress it up!
However, whilst we can now all have a damn good chortle at the absurdity of all this….. it is Mr Britten who gets the last laugh. Why? Well, because BUNC coins have an entirely different mintage to that of their circulated counterparts. And brilliant uncirculated Benjamin Britten really are low in number - 13,337.
If you have a look for Royal Mint Packs of Benjamin Britten on eBay then you are in for a bit of a shock. As surprising as it is, this common-old-garden fifty pence fetches a nice tidy sum in this packaged format. And if you are on the lookout for one then you will probably have to pay a minimum of £80!
No, I couldn’t quite believe it either. It sounds like a lot of old baloney (rather like the original rumour itself) but it also happens to be true.
Go check it for yourself.
© Article and images (except where stated) copyright Mik Smith 2019