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Collectors bank on royal wedding

Barry Cooper, of Coopers Book Exchange in Ballina, with the newly-released 50-cent commemorative coin celebrating the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Barry Cooper, of Coopers Book Exchange in Ballina, with the newly-released 50-cent commemorative coin celebrating the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Jay Cronan

THE arrival of the Prince William and Kate Middleton engagement coin was bitter-sweet for Barry Cooper.

Even though the limited edition commemorative 50-cent coin isn't dripping in royalty, the veteran coin trader needn't have worried – his entire stock of the anxiously-awaited collector's item sold like hotcakes.

Mr Cooper, of Coopers Book Exchange in Ballina, ordered 60 additional coins from the Royal Australian Mint yesterday after his first order of 40 sold out within 24 hours.

“To put it in perspective, they put out a number of commemorative coins like this and we usually get 30 and that will do us,” he said.

The uncirculated coin, dated 2010 to mark the couple's engagement, was designed by the Queen's jeweller, Stuart Devlin, who has designed a number of Australia's circulating coins.

It features Prince William and Catherine Middleton's names around the perimeter of the coin and a floral design in the middle.

Despite the coin's popularity, Mr Cooper was not overly impressed with the design.

“I thought they could have done it better and there could have been at least some photos on the packaging,” he said.

“However, there is another one coming out for the wedding which may include that or a better design.

“A lot of people are going on about us being a monarchy, but anything with royalty that comes out is always popular.

“Everyone who came in must have been a big fan, why else would they buy them? Coins like these very rarely end up being an outstanding investment and people just want it as a memento.”

Most of the coin purchasers were from the Northern Rivers area, including one Ballina resident who bought five of the coins at $9 a pop.

Asked to be identified only as Ken, the keen coin collector inherited his hobby from his father and now has an impressive collection “well and truly locked away.”

Ken said he bought the coins as a collector's item rather than an investment.

“In about 10 years I could probably sell them for no more than $15 each,” he said.


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