Suspicion Of Unfamiliar Coin

1997 Isle of Man TT 50p
The 1997 Manx TT 50p

I had to laugh this week after I noticed a shop assistant acting suspiciously as she handed a disabled customer in front of me his change.

I’d no idea what she was up to until her clumsy attempt to hide one of the coins under a banknote led the customer, who had an obvious learning difficulty, to drop his change on the floor.

As I bent down to help him gather the scattered money, I suddenly saw why she had been keen to disguise one of the coins in his change. Instead of a normal fifty pence, it was a distinctive 1997 Isle of Man coin showing two motorbikes taking part in the island’s famous TT races.

Since I was annoyed that she seemed to be trying to take advantage of a vulnerable customer to get rid of a coin she didn’t recognise, I decided to play a trick on her in return.

Handing the 50p to her customer, I made sure my voice was loud enough for her to hear as I told him, “Now put that in your wallet and look after it. That’s one of those that sell for much more on eBay.”

I am happy to say the shop assistant’s expression seemed caught halfway between alarm and panic but I am less happy to report that I may have raised her customer’s expectations too high; I have listed and relisted one of my own examples of this coin numerous times over the past six months but never attracted even an opening bid for the £1.50 price I have sought.

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