Everyone is being encouraged to check their change, their wallets and down the back of their sofas after a rare 20p coin sold for almost 600 times its face value.

The 20p piece is a “mule” coin dating from 2008 and was minted without a date on the coin due to an error.

The mistake means the coin is considered a collector’s item.

A batch of coins was issued without dates in 2008 due to an error in the minting process.

Prior to November of that year, the date on 20p coins would be found on the tail side. However, the Royal Mint switched it so that the date would now be next to the Queen’s head.

A mistake in 2008 led to the old format being used on the Queen’s side and the new format being used on tails side. As a result, the first batch of British coins with no date on them was released into circulation for the first time in more than 300 years.

Around 250,000 20p coins minted in November 2008 are believed to have entered circulation with no date.

And now one has gone up for sale on eBay, attracting a winning bid of £116, 580 times its face value.

What makes a coin valuable?

The 50 pence piece has become the most valued and collected coin in the UK, with many collectable designs appearing on its heptagonal canvas.

Its 27.5mm diameter makes it the largest of any British coin, and allows space for decorative pictures. It has often been used to celebrate big events over the past 50 years of British history.

The rarest coins tend to be of the greatest value, with the mintage (number of coins with each design made) being the fundamental attraction for collectors.

Along with the design, other aspects of the coin which increase value are the condition of the coin and whether it has an error in its design.

The way in which it is sold can also determine the coin’s value - while some coin collectors will bid vast amounts of money on ebay or at auction, others opt for more robust valuations by selling via a coin dealer.