Parishioners counting the contributions at St Mary's Church, Dalmahoy, Edinburgh were delighted to find that one of the 20 pence pieces in the collecting jar lacked a date.

 As most Britons now know, these coins were printed in error by the Royal Mint, and are valuable.

The error was caused by a fumbled changeover. It had been decided that the coins would have the date on the obverse ('heads') rather than the reverse ('tails'), but somehow a strange combination took place putting an old head on young shoulders, leaving the date nowhere.

Future numismatists are unlikely to have any difficulty working out which year these coins were created for, however, as the 2008 oddity is thought to be the first for 300 years.

Up to 200,000 of the coins were released into circulation. They remain legal tender, although much greater offers than the coins' face values have been made.

The London Mint has offered £50 per coin and the parishioners took them up on the offer, duly receiving a £50 cheque.

Much more has been offered for such examples, however, notably on eBay.

Exactly how much has been paid for one is so far unconfirmed, but is certainly in region of thousands of pounds, and one kept in good condition is likely to be worth a great deal at some point in the future. 

 **update** Ed - these are nowing selling for up to £7,000 on eBay


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