Red-faced bosses at the Royal Mint today admitted producing a £2 – with a SPELLING MISTAKE.
The coin – made to mark the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder plot – has the words ‘Pemember the fifth of November’ engraved around the outer rim.
Eagle-eyed collector Albi Pinnion, 46, noticed the mistake after being handed a £2 coin in change at his local pub in Ousden, Suffolk.
Remarkably, the coin was produced in 2005 and the mistake has gone un-noticed for five years.
The misprinted currency has now become hot property among coin collectors and are selling for over £10 on eBay.
Mr Pinnion said: ”When looking at the coin I just happened to notice the incorrect spelling.
”It is not the sort of thing most people would go out of their way to check so that may be why it has taken so long for one to come to light.
”I originally emailed and wrote letters to the Royal Mint but they did not want to acknowledge the coin for some reason.
”I noticed on eBay that a few more of them have now been found.”
The Royal Mint has admitted the mistake but refused to disclose how many might be in circulation.
A spokesman said: ”It’s likely to be a consequence of the production process.
”It’s very, very infrequent that we issue coins with an error. We have quality control to detect any defects.”
Coin mint error coins are commonly the result of deterioration of the minting equipment, accidents or malfunctions.
In 2008 a batch of undated 20p appeared in circulation in the UK, some of which were sold for thousands of pounds each on internet auction sites.
Mr Pinnion discovered his first faulty £2 at The Fox pub in Ousden, Suffolk in June and has now amassed 20 of the coins.
He said: ”The Royal Mint issues around a coin a year with a fault. It’s common to have between 50,000 and 20,000 with a mistake.
”They offered £50 for every 20 pence piece returned to them so you can see why they don’t want to admit mistakes. If they were all returned it could have cost them 10 million pounds.
”I do check all the change I get everywhere I go, at the pub, supermarket, everywhere.
”I’ve been a collector since I was a boy and have my father’s collection too because he was an enthusiast.
”My favourite coins are of King Henry VIII from the sixteenth century because of their history.”
Three of the misprinted £2 coins, all baring the same mistake, were sold on December 28 on eBay for £41.
Bachelor Mr Pinnion has identified other faults with £2 coins in recent years.
In 1999 a version of the coin made for that year’s Rugby World Cup he found read 999 on the rim with the numeral one missing.
Another coin issued reads with the inscription ‘standing on the shoulder of gants’ with the final word missing an i in the word for what should be giants.