Thursday, 9 July 2009

20p mule, eBay, gullibility, greed

My partner sent me a text the other day suggesting that I look through my coins to see if I had a twenty pence coin that was undated. His newspaper was running an article on a "mule" 20p coin which had inadvertently been sent out from the Royal Mint.

A mule is formed when an obverse and reverse sides of a coin are incorrectly married together. In this case the new "shield" reverse with the old obverse, neither of which has the date on, as when the new designs came out, the date was moved from the reverse to the obverse. There was a web site where you could register your coin and receive £50 for it.

David was lucky enough to have found one such mule in his change after he'd bought his newspaper. I hunted through my stacks of change, but fortune did not smile on me that day.

When David next came over to see me, he logged on to the internet, and looked at eBay, where these "mules" were selling for hundreds of pounds. Not only that, but many people were selling the "shield" ordinary 20p pieces, and these were also fetching far more than their worth.

I decided that if people are so gullible as to pay more than 20p for a 20p coin, I would list one on an eBay 24 hour auction. I listed it in much the same words that others had used, "undated shield side", but quite clearly stating "2008 on head side", threfore making it obvious that it was not a mule. Imagine my amazement when I discovered that someone had bid over £20 for my 20p coin!!!!!

I had listed it as a joke, really, and was truly surprised to see it sell. However, the joke is on me, really, as the "buyer" hasn't paid up, and I will now have to go to the trouble of contacting eBay and claiming an unpaid strike against the "buyer". Serves me right, I hear you say. Yes, I should have known better, I suppose I was greedy!

When I told David what I'd done, he listed a similar coin. His sold for just over £2, he was paid and he's posted the coin. It's a funny old world :-)

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