Coin fans across the country may be excited to hear that the fabled Paddington Bear 50p appears to have shown up in the change of a lucky shopper.
However, eager collectors who may want to snag one of the coins early face a hefty price to do so, This is Money can reveal.
Today, a bidding frenzy has broken out on one of the coins which the seller says was found in their change.
Currently, the coin – which shows the cuddly fictional character at Paddington station – is listed on eBay, with bidding surpassing the £15,000 mark.
Bidding frenzy: The Paddington 50p coin has racked up bids over the £15,000 mark on eBay
On the description of the coin, the seller says it is the only one currently in the UK after an accidental release.
It goes on to say it is super rare and it was found in change after a quick shop. Cheekily, it ends with ‘own it before the Queen.’
The seller has written his name on the backdrop of the coin with the date in a bid to show its genuine.
There are two other examples on the online marketplace, with bidding currently over the £500 mark on one of them.
However, as always with these types of story, the bidder might not necessarily cough up even if they win the auction.
It suggests though that the Paddington Bear 50p coins could be circulating – and those listing them online are attempting to cash in early.
It also makes it worthwhile checking your change in case you unearth one of the coins.
In detail: The seller says the Paddington coin landed in their change after an ‘accidental release’ – we have contacted the Royal Mint for clarity
Earlier in the year, Privy Council documents released online show the Queen had ordered new 50p coins to be designed to honour Paddington Bear.
According to the documents, Her Majesty requested a batch of thousands of the coins to celebrate the literary character. The coins mark the 60th anniversary of the British stories.
The documents also detailed what the potential coins would look like and what they would be made out of it.
The coins will see the famous brown bear sitting in a suitcase at Paddington Station, or waving a British flag outside Buckingham Palace – and it appears the station version has been released.
It is unknown exactly how many of the coins will be created, while a release date wasn’t set.
The beloved bear has experienced a revival in popularity recently, with two movies released starring him.
Paddington Bear author Michael Bond died last year, with stars such as Stephen Fry attending his funeral.
This is Money asked the Royal Mint whether the coin listed on eBay appears to be genuine and whether the coins have started circulating – we’ll publish its response when we get it.
The Royal Mint did cryptically use social media website Twitter on 8 June to say: ‘It seems a Paddington Bear 50p has been spotted.
‘We can’t bring you a picture right now however keep a look out for more information coming soon.’
Privy Council: A letter which circulated on social media earlier in the year shows that the Queen was keen on Paddington coins
The new Paddington coins come after Royal Mint released four new Beatrix Potter 50p coins which feature some of Britain’s most-loved children’s characters.
Peter Rabbit is one of four popular characters from the children’s author’s books to appear on the special coins.
He joined Flopsy Bunny – the mother of the captured rabbits – Mrs Tittlemouse and a helpful mouse from The Tailor of Gloucester.
The four designs will be added to the Mint’s Beatrix Potter collection, first launched in 2016 to commemorate 150 years since her birth.