A RARE old coin collection has sold for a whopping £2million at auction – could you be sitting on a hidden goldmine?
Robert Puddester has amassed an incredible 1,246 coin collection relating to the historic British East India Company.
Robert collected the rare coins over 45 years but really "struck the gold mine" when his work posted him to India in 1983.
It saw him establish contacts with numismatic societies and dealers all over the country.
The savvy collector paid up to £250 for some of the rarer coins, but the value of East India Company coins has shot up over the last 30 years.
Robert has now decided to sell his collection with London-based auctioneers Noonans and the stash sold for a hammer price of £1.57m – totalling £1.95m with fees.
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His wife Norma also collected coins, focusing on the Sikh coinage, between them they covered everything of a metallic numismatic nature during the British period in India.
The top selling lot was a Bombay half-mohur from 1765 which sold for £117,800.
A 1765 Bombay gold mohur sold for £99,200, as did a rare 1770 Bombay gold 15 rupees, which was one of only four known examples.
The East India Company coins were sold in 905 lots and covered coins from the inception of the EIC in London in 1600, from the Madras, Bombay and Bengal presidencies and the regal coinages issued by British India down to independence from Britain in 1947.
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The East India Company was a global force for the best part of two and a half centuries and has always been a fascinating subject for historians and economists.
Peter Preston-Morley, from the coins department at Noonans who helped Mr Puddester amass his collection, said: "This is undoubtedly the finest and most complete group of coins of the English East India Company, and British India, ever assembled.
"It has been an honour for me to relive a professional and personal relationship with Bob while cataloguing his unrivalled collection of EIC coins.
"This is the first of a historic series of auctions that will be references in their own right for decades to come.
"This is the most spectacular sale of its kind that has ever been held.
"Those who acquire Puddester coins will own pieces to be rightly proud of, in the knowledge that they rank among the finest, if not the best known.
"Many pieces in this collection only appear in the marketplace once in a generation, if that."
How do I check if my coin is rare?
Rare coins and valuable notes can be worth tens of thousands of times their face value.
But sometimes it's just tiny differences which make them so lucrative.
The most valuable coins tend to be ones with low mintage numbers or an error.
Those qualities typically make them valuable to collectors.
For example, "New Pence" 2p coins from 1983 often sell for hundreds of pounds due to a mintage mistake – they stopped being called "New Pence" in 1981.
Meanwhile a 50p Olympic coin, which was released to celebrate the London 2012 Olympics, has a small error where the water passed directly over the swimmers face.
Perhaps the safest way of selling rare coins is to sell them at auction – to do this, contact The Royal Mint's Collectors Service.
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It has a team of experts who can help you authenticate and value your coin.
You'll need to enquire via email, and a member of the valuation team will contact get back to you.
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