The Royal Mint has been accused of a massive blunder after a college student found a Paddington Bear 50p coin that has not yet been released in her change – and the organisation demanded it back, This is Money can reveal.
The Mint, based in Llantrisant, South Wales, faces embarrassment after the Paddington Bear coin was found in change by a student via a shop in nearby Caerphilly.
This is Money reported on the coin earlier in the week after a bidding frenzy on eBay saw the price drive up beyond £15,000 – and the Mint has as good as admitted it is genuine.
Bidding frenzy: The coin is listed on eBay and with a day to go, has more than 100 bids on it
The seller – Jordan Mcilquham – described it as an ‘accidental release’ on the listing and its possible leak has made collectors keen on it.
However, shortly after Jordan listed the coin last Wednesday, the Royal Mint is said to have contacted her to ask for the listing to be taken down and the coin to be returned.
Jordan’s father Del claims the Royal Mint then attempted to obtain the coin by offering her a free visit and tour.
After seeking legal advice, Jordan decided to keep the coin on eBay. It is then claimed that a private seller offered £1,000 for the coin.
When this was told to Royal Mint, it too offered £1,000 for the coin over the phone Del says, which was accepted.
But Del claims it then changed its mind and put out a cryptic message on Twitter which said: ‘It seems a Paddington Bear 50p has been spotted.
‘We can’t bring you a picture right now however keep a look out for more information coming soon.’
Paddington Bear: This is believed to be the 50p, accidentally leaked ahead of circulation
Queen: The Privy Council released documents showing that the Queen wanted coins designed to honour Paddington Bear
The Royal Mint says at no point was any commitment given to purchase the coin.
Del also claims that the Mint said the likely leak of the coin is believed to be a photographer who accidentally pocketed one and spent it in a corner shop.
This theory could make sense, as if somebody had stolen it from the Mint for personal gain, they wouldn’t have spent it in a shop.
Del has sent over screenshots of the Royal Mint contacting Jordan via Facebook Messenger about the coin and wanting to get in touch, sent by Karen in customer services.
The Royal Mint told This is Money: ‘It has been reported to us that a commemorative 50p coin featuring Paddington Bear has been spotted.
‘We have undertaken our usual review when we are informed by the general public of such matters.
‘However we can confirm that at no point was any commitment given to purchase the coin.
‘The launch of the new Paddington Coins will proceed as originally planned.’
Facebook: The Royal Mint contacted Jordan on the Messenger service
This is Money has asked for confirmation of how it was leaked and about its attempts to get the coin back. We also asked for a date the coins are likely to hit circulation.
The Mint added: ‘At the moment we don’t have any more news to share and are not offering a further comment.’
Earlier in the year, Privy Council documents released online show the Queen had ordered new 50p coins to be designed to honour Paddington Bear.
According to the documents, Her Majesty requested a batch of thousands of the coins to celebrate the literary character. The coins mark the 60th anniversary of the British stories.
Paddington: The popular bear has recently been in two blockbuster movies
The documents also detailed what the potential coins would look like and what they would be made out of.
The coins will see the famous brown bear sitting in a suitcase at Paddington Station, or waving a British flag outside Buckingham Palace – and it appears the station version is the one that has been accidentally leaked.
It is unknown exactly how many of the coins will be created. The beloved bear has experienced a revival in popularity recently, with two movies released starring him. Paddington Bear author Michael Bond died last year.