Be sure to check the change in your pocket

News Letter reporter Stephen Gamble with his rare '2016' �1 coins
News Letter reporter Stephen Gamble with his rare '2016' �1 coins

If, like me, you have been one of the first to get hold of a new £1 coin, you might want to give it a close inspection – it could be worth more than the price of a bottle of fizzy mineral.

The freshly minted currency, which was introduced into circulation on Tuesday, is said to be the most sophisticated and secure coin in the world, boasting hi-tech features such as a hologram.

The new 12-sided coins were introduced in a bid to tackle the rampant counterfeit problem which has plagued the old pound.It is estimated that about 3% – one in every 30 of the old £1 coins – are fakes.

On Tuesday morning, my news editor suggested I should try and get my hands on the new coin and ask some people on the street for their thoughts and impressions of the currency.

So my first stop was my loacl high street bank, where the cashier informed me they did not have any of the coins and only selected branches would be receiving them.

Disheartened, I thought I would try my luck one more time, so I crossed the street and visited another bank.

I was surprised to learn that this branch had an abundance of the new coins, so I exchanged a £10 note for five of the new coins and a five pound note.

In retrospect, I should have asked for more.

I briefly glanced at the shiny new coins on my way back to my car and spotted that they had the year ‘2016’ stamped on them.

I noted that this was strange, but thought nothing more about it and went about my day.

I set about interviewing some local shoppers, handing over the coins and asking for their opinion.

I had no idea at that time that the change in my pocket was in any way special.

It was only several hours later when I received a text message from my brother, who warned me not to spend the coins as ones containing the 2016 stamp were in fact rare and collectable.

This message couldn’t have been more timely, as at that moment I was in a queue about to foolishly spend the coins on petrol.

Intrigued, I put them back in my pocket and hurried home to do a bit of research online (using my debit card to pay for the fuel instead).

It turns out that the five coins I had been carrying around in my pocket all day were indeed rare and possibly quite valuable.

It appears these 2016 coins have somehow slipped through the net. Die errors and mistakes made during production make these quids worth a lot more than face value.

Some coins have been dated 2016, while others carry the 2017 stamp.

Internet users have been listing their rare, uncirculated coins on eBay, in many cases for a huge profit.

On Tuesday, some optimistic sellers listed of these coins for sale on eBay for a whopping £200.

Sadly for this reporter, these sellers didn’t appear to have any takers, and many have since revised their listings to much more modest asking prices.

Still, you might want to check your change when you get your hands on the new pound.

The legal status of the old round £1 coin will be withdrawn on October 15.