Value & Validity – The Virtues of St Peter (Rabbit)
[The Tale of Peter Rabbit - 1903 - Scarecrow and Blackbirds - © Beatrix Potter]
So, as all of the excitement of The Great British Coin Hunt’s #WatchOut4TheWabbit unique publicity stunt continues, the inevitable begins to unfold. Several ‘circulated’ 2019 Peter Rabbits are beginning to appear on eBay…..
For most of us, the first two questions which first spring to mind are–
- How much are these coins actually worth?
- Have these actually been found in general circulation?
1) When it comes to the value of one of these super-elusive fifty pence pieces, the jury is still very much out. Ian Lambert, head of Dorset based The Great British Coin Hunt, guessed that they would change hands for around a £100 each. And this seemed like a jolly lot of dollar…. until several tabloids started throwing numbers around in the region of £840. It didn’t take many more days for things to get sillier still with some publications quoting figures in the thousands. Of course, they could be right… but this does sound a little far-fetched.
At the time of writing, the rumours are continuing to circulate, rather like the four hundred wayward bunnies themselves. You don’t have to go Googling very far before you find several sources estimating that each coin will be worth a whopping two and a half thousand pounds. Apparently (according to these sources) that is how much they are selling for on eBay. However, whilst researching this article, the most expensive one I came across was £500 (but this did have a bid on it I might add). Sure, someone may have listed an Uncirculated 2019 Peter Rabbit for an uber high price in recent days, but that doesn’t mean it will succeed in finding a buyer. This is something a lot of people seem to forget whilst they are writing newspaper articles. In fact, we see it done time and again with just about any coin you wish to name, even common old garden ones.
2) Some 2019 Peter Rabbits on eBay are being sold with a Letter of Provenance which has been signed by Mr Lambert. Now, whilst this does not provide absolute proof, it does go some way to reassuring people of the said coins’ authenticity. After all, as well as unleashing four hundred of these coins into our everyday change, Ian Lambert went on to distribute a further one hundred himself. These were mainly given away to volunteers, to friends and to family. The small amount remaining went on to be sold on his website – along with a Letter of Provenance.
As far as any other migrating Peter Rabbits are concerned (who lack this important travel document), who knows? They may well be the real thing. Or it could just be down to someone out to make a quick buck by ripping open a £10 brilliant uncirculated one and slapping it on eBay for a far higher price. Personally I would have thought that anyone lucky enough to find one of these rare coins would want to squirrel (Nutkin) it away somewhere safe and brag about it for many years to come. But perhaps that is just me!
© Article and images (except where stated) copyright Mik Smith 2019