Hoping to cash in at coin and stamp fair

 

IF YOU have a 10p coin from 1992, it is worth a whopping €5,000 today. A €500 note (the purple ones) is valued at €800.

And if you have a Barack Obama badge, on sale these days for about €5, hold on to it because it will be a collector’s item, according to the experts.

Unfortunately, only two of the 10p coins from 1992 are known to exist and the €500 note has to have been made for Ireland – and they are rare as hens’ teeth. “Probably only drug dealers have them now,” says Mike Kelly, coin collector and an organiser of the Spring Stamp and Coin Fair at the RDS over the weekend.

Normally about 100 people attend the fair, one of three held during the year for about 300 diehard collectors in the State. However more than 500 people turned up yesterday, he said. Many, inspired by the recession and the offer of a free valuation, brought coins, stamps and medals to see if what they had lying around was rubbish or riches.

They included 13-year-old Seán Kennelly from Rathgar, Dublin, who arrived with a box of coins that had been his grandfather’s.

And he struck, not quite gold, but some silver: a silver dollar was valued for him at €15. “It’s a real silver coin and they’re made out of nickel now.”

Not previously a collector, he “probably will” become one now, he said as he left, holding on to his dollar and other coins including predecimalisation pennies, a farthing and a Reichstag five pfennig coin with a swastika on the back. Asked its value, Mr Kelly told him with a smile, “absolutely priceless – actually 10 cents”.

One elderly woman who had two of the old £5 notes and two old 10-shilling notes, was offered just €20 for her haul because the notes were crumpled.

She was not a collector but wanted to see “if I’ve a whole load of rubbish or anything of value”. She came to a fair in February.

“I had three old £1 notes with a plough on them and got €500.” A Lavery £100 note in pristine condition is worth about €600.

Collector Séamus O’Connor has been doing a brisk trade in Barack Obama badges, selling for €5. “I’ve had people from Moneygall ordering them,” he said. “I’ve sold 50 in the last couple of weeks. They obviously want to put on a show for Barack.”

He insisted they “will definitely be collector’s items. I started collecting JFK badges in the

1960s and they’re now worth between $50 and $100.”

He added that “Sarah Palin badges were very popular here”, and he sold a lot of them.

He has some 10-shilling Pádraig Pearse coins minted to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Rising.

“The public didn’t like them and wouldn’t use them. Two million were made but 1.25 million were melted down and the Central Bank made a fortune because they were silver,” and its value rose. The coins are worth €40 to €80.

A lot of people with stamp collections sought the opinion of stamp dealer Pádraig O’Shea, but “it’s rare to get anything of value. Maybe one in 100 people will have something.”

Generally, unless money was invested in a collection, it will not have major financial value. “If you bought 1,000 one penny stamps in 1960, paying £10 for them, they’re worth about €15 now, but if you paid £10 for a stamp in 1960, it’s worth about €500 now.”

COLLECTOR'S ITEMS HOW TO CASH IN

10-PENCE COIN:They may be less than 20 years old but in fact just two 10p coins from 1992 are known to exist. According to collector Mike Kelly, a new 10p coin came out in 1993, but the 1992 coin came out ahead of time “for people to organise their slot machines”.

The large-sized 10p coin was being replaced with a smaller version and model ones were sent to merchandisers so they could adjust vending machines to take the new coin. A collector who had it in his collection has offered it for sale with an estimated value of €5,000. It will go under the hammer at the Dublin coin auction on Wednesday at 6pm at Herman Wilkinson’s rooms at 161 Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin.

€500 NOTE:There are few of them around so an Irish issue €500 is worth up to €800.

The Irish issue of all euro bank notes begins with the letter T, followed by the serial number. The prefix for a German-issued note, for example, is X.

At least 1.4 million €500 notes were printed for Ireland between 2002 and 2003, but “they weren’t popular”, says Kelly, because of their high value.

“You never get one in mint condition,” he says. In general when they were brought to a bank, the top and bottom were cut in the middle at the watermark to ensure they were authentic. That however made them worthless for collectors and they were withdrawn.

There are exceptions, including one at the stamp and coin fair in the RDS yesterday. It was in almost perfect condition, with slight “crimping” at the top, and is worth between €750 and €800. It too goes for auction on Wednesday along with a €100 note from 2002, valued at €400.