The Gunpowder Plot £2 coin minting error
What is the Pemember Coin?
In 2005 the Royal Mint issued a commemorative £2 to mark the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, referred to as the “Pemmeber Coin“. It took six years for anyone to notice an apparent error.
The letter P is substituted for one or more of the Rs, reading Pemember instead of Remember in the phrase ‘Remember Remember the Fifth of November’ which is stamped into the milling on the edge of the coin.
There have been errors from the Royal Mint before. Recent years have seen the 2008 20p ‘mule’ and the Isaac Newton £2 coins with Gants instead of Giants.
This Pemember though implies that the dies which imprint the letters have been used wrongly. A close inspection of the supposed faulty coins suggests that this is open to question.
The discovery is attributed to Albi Pinnion, a coin collector in Suffolk who habitually checks his change and received his first one at the local pub. Since then he has collected more than twenty.
A normal £2 coin. It can easily be seen that, due the style of the letter’R’, the tail is fairly short.
A ‘pemember’ coin. The lower image shows how the coin appears to the naked eye. Above is a magnification from the same photograph.
The magnification, on the right, shows clearly that the letter is an R not a P. But, because the diagonal of the R coincides with a groove in the milling, the indentation is weak and badly-defined.
It is indistinct, especially to the naked eye, but it is definitely there, indicating that these ‘Pemember’ coins are minor imperfections rather than errors. Of course, it cannot be said from this that all supposed ‘pemember’ coins are mis-hits and that there are absolutely none where a die for a letter ‘P’ has been used in place of an ‘R’, but just keep this in mind:
- The Royal Mint denies issuing any. A spokesman said: “It’s likely to be a consequence of the production process … It’s very, very infrequent that we issue coins with an error. “
- There are no authenticated magnified photographs of a Pemember coin with no trace of the tail on the P.
- The substitution has been said to appear on the first Remember, on the second, and on both. This would indicate three separate errors in the setting up of the dies for striking this coin. Just how many times are the dies re-set in one edition of a coin?
So, what is it worth? Well, the value – financially – of anything is measured by what someone is prepared to pay for it. Stories in the press initially said that the coins were changing hands for ‘under £10’. Within a matter of days this had risen to as much as £40 but it quickly settled to less than half of this.
The value will probably drop much further when it is realized that this is not a mint error, just a very minor fault, and when everyone who wants one, already has one (or more).
It is the scarcity which puts up the value and these coins are not really rare.