You could be one of the many Numismatics who are fascinated and make a hobby out of studying and collecting coins, paper money and all related objects, and if so the tale of the missing British One Penny coin is one you are sure to find fascinating.
Back in 1933 it was decided that there would be no need for the Royal Mint to produce any one penny coins that year, as they had more than enough of them in circulation.
However, there was a need for a tiny number of them to be minted, for it was tradition that any new major buildings that were to be built, would have a one penny coin bearing the year of construction buried into the foundations of that building.
So, a small number of those coins were minted, with some going to the British Museum and the Royal Mint Museum, and it is thought that three of those coins were minted, to be buried under those soon to be built new buildings.
There have of course been films and books about heists on casinos and their similar alternatives such as the 2001 film Ocean’s Eleven, however the tale of the missing 1933 Penny is one that could spawn its own film or book, there is no doubt about that.
Those coins, due to the limited supply of them are of course highly valuable, and as such at the time it was known that one of them had been buried under the foundation stone of a church in Middleton which is near Leeds in the UK.
That church was the Church of St Cross, and in the dead of night someone or a group of thieves managed to dig up that coin and made off with it.
When word got out about that heist, the powers that be in the clergy became worried about another of those 1933 pennies that was buried underneath the foundation stone of another church, that being St Mary’s Church located in a place called Hawksworth Wood which is in Kirkstall also in Leeds.
It was decided, and rather quickly too, that that coin should be dug up for safe keeping, in fact the Bishop ultimately decided that coin should be sold, and that is what happened.
Rumours as to where the last known 1933 date stamped one penny coin is located and buried are commonplace, for that coin is now hugely valuable, and could tempt any number of people who feel they know where it is buried to go out and try and dig it up and steal it.
There is of course always the possibility the last missing coin, if there is actually one of them, could have already been stolen from its one-time resting place, and could be in the hands already of an avid collector.
Back in 2016 one of the known to exist 1933 pennies was sold at auction, and it raised a huge £72,000. Those coins are known as Pattern versions for whilst they were minted they never went into general circulation.
One thing that does intrigue me about this story, is that there are no official records of just how many of those coins were actually minted, so there could be a much higher number than thought in circulation, waiting to be discovered.
But due to no other ones turning up, and I can guarantee you everyone that comes across an old penny anywhere they happen to one does check the date, I am of the mind the tiny number of those coins thought to exist is correct.
I would also expect there are some people who have attempted to forge or counterfeit those coins, or even try and amend the date on coins minted around the time in other years, however the chances of success in doing so are negligible, but it will not stop people from trying.
Deep down, if the truth be known I would find it interesting if the owners of a building that was built back in 1933 suddenly reports their foundation stone has been dug up in the dead of night, and they are at a loss to explain why that is, for we will all know the most probable reason for that incident.
If this story has piqued your interest, please do take a look over the Royal Mint Museum website, for you will see pictures of one of those 1933 pennies and it is quite a good looking coin when compared to other coins of that era.