20-year-old U.K. man quits job to sell coins, now earns upwards of £70,000 a year

After growing tired of his low-earning, high-intensity labourer job, James Grear began selling coins with his best friend, Henry Bishop, at the age of 18.

According to a story published in The Sun Online last month, the duo’s business began after Grear noticed an odd-looking 50-pence coin in his change while buying lunch. He checked what the coin—a rare 2011 piece commemorating the World Wildlife Foundation—was worth on eBay, where it sold for eight times its face value.

Soon after, the pair of friends, who were located in Bristol, started an eBay store they dubbed “The Coin Supplier.” In the two years since starting their business, the duo has earned between £50,000 and £70,000 (about $87,530 Cdn.-$122,535 Cdn.) a year.

Grear, who doesn’t consider himself a collector, told The Sun Online: “I’m not really into it. I just do it to give myself a living.”


Initially, Grear—who now operates the business by himself after Bishop left the U.K. to travel—struggled to find a sufficient amount of coins to pore over in hopes of finding rarities. The duo was limited to withdrawing £100 in change a day from various banks, and they lacked the necessary finances to back up their business. They eventually established contracts with suppliers and soon after decided to quit their jobs to sell coins full time.

Grear will also sell on any valuable coins that he finds in his spare change.

“I will literally sit and sort through all the coins,” he told The Sun Online. “Since we started, I’ve learnt which coins are good and got much quicker at it.”


Grear likely works longer hours than he did when he was a labourer, he admitted to The Sun Online, but he added he’s determined to be a success.

“It’s a 24/7 business,” he told The Sun Online. “I have to be available to answer questions at all hours of the day.”

Last year, The Coin Supplier was one of two recipients of a £5,000 grand prize as part of eBay’s Business Awards.

This year, Grear is aiming to move his business into an office space.

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