Big Returns From The World’s Most Worthless Coin


Perhaps I need to be a little more ambitious in my efforts to raise more than the face value of coins I hold.
So far I am doing reasonably well in that those coins I have sold have produced a return of between an extra half to two-thirds of their face value (before deductions for auction costs and money transfer fees).
One welcome aspect of my new-found interest in the variety of currency in circulation has been my increased awareness of numismatics, as the study of coins is called.
While in the past I may have been curious enough to read this BBC report about the world coin with the lowest value, I wouldn’t have taken the time to research just how much this same coin is selling for among collectors.
The article reveals that “The Coin Worth Less Than Any Other In The World” is Uzbekistan’s One Tiyin and that 3,038 of these would have the same value as a single UK penny (1,999 would have the same value as a US cent).
While my target has been to sell my coins for double their face value, this is not enough for Ashley Revell, who rose to international fame in 2004 by selling everything he owned and travelling to Las Vegas to gamble everything on a single spin of the roulette wheel.
His daring move was spotted by Simon Cowell and became the inspiration for the impressario’s current prime-time Saturday night show “Red or Black”. (Click here for national press coverage.)
While my reaction to news of the infinitesimally low value of the One Tiyin coin was simply to make a mental note to write something for the DoubleTheMoney blog, Ashley immediately hunted for an example of the coin he could buy.
He soon found an example on sale on eBay from GusWorldCoinsAndNotes of New Jersey in the United States and he was able to buy 11 of these for $2.25 each (plus $6.75 delivery) – equivalent to $2.86 per one tiyin coin or 5,724 times their face value.
No doubt aided by the BBC story on the coin, the same seller sold 27 at this price during the two days following the coverage online (but none in the fortnight since then).
Despite this, Ashley was undaunted and immediately listed his One Tiyin coins in his own eBay auction. Although you might assume that paying almost 6,000 times the face value of a coin would leave little scope to earn a profit, Ashley was undaunted and offered potential buyers the option of opening the bidding at 99 pence with the comment, “Pat yourself on the back knowing that for every £3.30 you bid, you are paying 1,000,000 times the face value. Yes that’s 1 million times what it is actually worth.”
A second option of securing a coin immediately for £33 came with the note: “Buy it now for £33, safe in the knowledge that you will have only paid 10 million times its face value.”
Now that’s the kind of ambition we could all do with!