One pound (British coin)

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One pound
United Kingdom
Value 1 pound sterling
Mass 8.75 g
Diameter 23.03-23.43 mm
Thickness 2.8 mm
Edge Alternately milled and plain
Composition (Outer ring)
Nickel-brass
(76% Cu, 20% Zn, and 4% Ni)
(Inner planchet)
Nickel-plated alloy
Obverse
British 12 sided pound coin.png
Design Queen Elizabeth II
Designer Jody Clark
Design date 2016
Reverse
British 12 sided pound coin reverse.png
Design Rose, leek, thistle, and shamrock encircled by a coronet
Designer David Pearce
Design date 2016

The British one pound (£1) coin is a denomination of the pound sterling. Its obverse bears the Latin engraving ELIZABETH II D G REG “Dei Gratia Regina” meaning, “Elizabeth II, by the grace of God, Queen” and F D meaning Fidei defensor,[1] Defender of the Faith.[2] It has featured the profile of Queen Elizabeth II since the original coin's introduction on 21 April 1983.[3] Four different portraits of the Queen have been used, with the latest design by Jody Clark being introduced in 2015, the design on the reverse side of the current, 12-sided coin features four emblems to represent each of the nations of the United Kingdom – the English rose, the leek for Wales, the Scottish thistle, and the shamrock for Northern Ireland – emerging from a single stem within a crown.

The original, round £1 coin replaced the Bank of England £1 note, which ceased to be issued at the end of 1984 and was removed from circulation on 11 March 1988, though still redeemable at the Bank's offices, like all English banknotes. One-pound notes continue to be issued in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, and by the Royal Bank of Scotland, but the pound coin is much more widely used. A new, dodecagonal (12-sided) design of coin was introduced 28 March 2017 [4] and both new and old versions of the one pound coin circulated together until the older design was withdrawn from circulation on 15 October 2017, after that date, the older coin could only be redeemed at banks,[5] although some retailers announced they would continue to accept it for a limited time.[6] Meanwhile, the original round pound remains legal tender on the Isle of Man.[7]

The main purpose of introducing the new 12-sided £1 coin was to counter counterfeiting, as of March 2014 there were an estimated 1,553 million of the original nickel-brass coins in circulation,[8] of which the Royal Mint estimated in 2014 that 3.04% (i.e. about 47 million) were counterfeit.[9][10] The new coin, in contrast, is bimetallic like the current £2 coin, and features an undisclosed hidden security feature called 'iSIS' (Integrated Secure Identification Systems).[11][12]

Design[edit]

Original round pound coin with Dent's 2008 obverse design

To date, five different obverses have been used, for the first three of these, the inscription was ELIZABETH II D.G.REG.F.D. 2013,[13] where 2013 is replaced by the year of minting. The fourth design, unveiled in March 2015,[14] expanded the inscription slightly to ELIZABETH II DEI.GRA.REG.FID.DEF. 2015. The fifth design, introduced in March 2017, reverted to D.G.REG.F.D.

In summary:

In August 2005 the Royal Mint launched a competition to find new reverse designs for all circulating coins apart from the £2 coin,[18] the winner, announced in April 2008, was Matthew Dent, whose designs were gradually introduced into the circulating British coinage from mid-2008.[19] The designs for the 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p and 50p coins depict sections of the Royal Shield that form the whole shield when placed together, the shield in its entirety was featured on the £1 coin. The coin's obverse remained unchanged.

The design of the reverse of the original coin was changed each year from 1983 to 2008 to show, in turn, an emblem representing the UK, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and England, together with an appropriate edge inscription. This edge inscription could frequently be "upside-down" (when obverse is facing upward),[20] from 2008, national-based designs were still minted, but alongside the new standard version and no longer in strict rotation. The inscription ONE POUND appeared on all reverse designs.


In common with non-commemorative £2 coins, the round £1 coin (except 2004–07 and the 2010–11 'capital cities' designs) had a mint mark: a small crosslet found on the milled edge that represents Llantrisant in South Wales, where the Royal Mint has been based since 1968.[21]

The reverse of the new 12-sided, bimetallic pound coin, introduced on 28 March 2017,[4] was chosen by a public design competition,[22] the competition to design the reverse of this coin was opened in September 2014.[23] It was won in March 2015 by 15-year-old David Pearce from Walsall, and unveiled by Chancellor George Osborne during his Budget announcement, the design features a rose, leek, thistle and shamrock bound by a crown.[14]

Mintage figures[edit]

Round coin[edit]

Images: Royal Mint
Year Design Nation represented Edge inscription Translation Mintage[24]
1983 Ornamental royal arms United Kingdom DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 443,053,510
1984 Thistle and royal diadem Scotland NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT No one attacks me with impunity 146,256,501
1985 Leek and royal diadem Wales PLEIDIOL WYF I'M GWLAD True am I to my country 228,430,749
1986 Flax plant and royal diadem Northern Ireland DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 10,409,501
1987 Oak tree and royal diadem England DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 39,298,502
1988 Crown over the Royal Coat of Arms United Kingdom DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 7,118,825
1989 Thistle and royal diadem Scotland NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT No one attacks me with impunity 70,580,501
1990 Leek and royal diadem Wales PLEIDIOL WYF I'M GWLAD True am I to my country 97,269,302
1991 Flax plant and royal diadem Northern Ireland DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 38,443,575
1992 Oak tree and royal diadem England DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 36,320,487
1993 Ornamental royal arms United Kingdom DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 114,744,500
1994 Lion rampant within a double tressure flory counter-flory Scotland NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT No one attacks me with impunity 29,752,525
1995 Dragon passant Wales PLEIDIOL WYF I'M GWLAD True am I to my country 34,503,501
1996 Celtic cross, Broighter collar and pimpernel Northern Ireland DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 89,886,000
1997 Three lions passant guardant England DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 57,117,450
1998 Ornamental royal arms United Kingdom DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard not circulated
1999 Lion rampant within a double tressure flory counter-flory Scotland NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT No one attacks me with impunity not circulated
2000 Dragon passant Wales PLEIDIOL WYF I'M GWLAD True am I to my country 109,496,500
2001 Celtic cross, Broighter collar and pimpernel Northern Ireland DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 63,968,065
2002 Three lions passant guardant England DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 77,818,000
2003 Ornamental royal arms United Kingdom DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 61,596,500
2004 Forth Railway Bridge surrounded by railway tracks Scotland An incuse decorative feature symbolising bridges and pathways N/A 39,162,000
2005 Menai Suspension Bridge surrounded by railing and stanchions Wales 99,429,500
2006 Egyptian Arch Railway Bridge surrounded by railway station canopy dags Northern Ireland 38,938,000
2007 Gateshead Millennium Bridge surrounded by struts England 26,180,160
2008 Ornamental royal arms United Kingdom DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 3,910,000
2008 The shield from the Royal Coat of Arms United Kingdom DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 43,827,300
2009 The shield from the Royal Coat of Arms United Kingdom DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 27,625,600
2010 The shield from the Royal Coat of Arms United Kingdom DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 57,120,000
2010 Coat of arms of the City of London England DOMINE DIRIGE NOS Lord, guide us 2,635,000
2010 Coat of arms of Belfast Northern Ireland PRO TANTO QUID RETRIBUAMUS For so much, what shall we give in return? 6,205,000
2011 The shield from the Royal Coat of Arms United Kingdom DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 25,415,000
2011 Coat of arms of Cardiff Wales Y DDRAIG GOCH DDYRY CYCHWYN The red dragon will give the lead 1,615,000
2011 Coat of arms of Edinburgh Scotland NISI DOMINUS FRUSTRA In vain without the Lord 935,000
2012 The shield from the Royal Coat of Arms United Kingdom DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 35,700,030
2013 The shield from the Royal Coat of Arms United Kingdom DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 13,090,500
2013 Oak and rose England DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 5,270,000
2013 Leek and daffodil Wales PLEIDIOL WYF I'M GWLAD True am I to my country 5,270,000
2014 Shamrock and flax plant[25] Northern Ireland DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 5,780,000
2014 Thistle and bluebell[25] Scotland NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT No one attacks me with impunity 5,185,000
2014 The shield from the Royal Coat of Arms United Kingdom DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 79,305,200
2015 The shield from the Royal Coat of Arms (4th portrait)[26] United Kingdom DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 29,580,000
2015 The Royal Coat of Arms (5th portrait)[27] United Kingdom DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 131,250,000[27]
2016 The shield from the Royal Coat of Arms (5th portrait)[28][29] United Kingdom DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard 30,000 (only in BU sets)
2016 Four heraldic beasts[30] United Kingdom DECUS ET TUTAMEN An ornament and a safeguard not circulated

All years except 1998 and 1999 have been issued into circulation, although the number issued has varied enormously – 1983, 1984 and 1985 in particular had large mintages to facilitate the changeover from paper notes, while some years such as 1988 are only rarely seen (although 1988 is more noticeable as it has a unique reverse). Production since 1997 has been reduced, thanks to the introduction of the circulating two pound coin.

The final round coins minted for 2016 did not enter circulation, as they were only available through commemorative sets,[31] these were the shield from the Royal Coat of Arms by Matthew Dent, and a design by Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St Asaph, of four heraldic beasts.[30][32]

12-sided coin[edit]

Year Design Nation represented Mintage[24]
2016 Nations of the Crown United Kingdom 300,000,000 (initial launch in March 2017)[33]
2017 Nations of the Crown United Kingdom TBA

Counterfeiting[edit]

Royal Mint surveys estimate the proportion of counterfeit £1 coins in circulation, this was estimated at 3.04% in 2013, a rise from 2.74%.[9][10] The figure previously announced in 2012 was 2.86%, following the prolonged rise from 0.92% in 2002–2003 to 0.98% in 2004, 1.26% in 2005, 1.69% in 2006, 2.06% in 2007, 2.58% in 2008, 2.65% in 2009, 3.07% in 2010 and 3.09% in 2011.[34][35] Figures have generally been reported in the following year; in 2008 (as reported in 2009), the highest levels of counterfeits were in Northern Ireland (3.6%) and the South East and London (2.97%), with the lowest being in Northwest England.[36][37][38] Coin testing companies estimated in 2009 that the actual figure was about twice the Mint's estimate, suggesting that the Mint was underplaying the figures so as not to undermine confidence in the coin,[39] it is illegal to pass on counterfeit currency knowingly; the official advice is to hand it in, with details of where received, to the police, who will retain it and investigate.[40][41] One article suggested "given that fake coins are worthless, you will almost certainly be better off not even looking",[39] the recipient has recourse against the supplier, as in any such case.

Counterfeits are put into circulation by dishonest people, then circulated inadvertently by others who are unaware; in many cases banks do not check, and circulate counterfeits. A 2011 BBC television programme withdrew 1,000 £1 coins from each of five major banks and found that each batch contained between 32 and 38 counterfeits; the Mint estimated that about 31 per 1,000 £1 coins were counterfeit.[40] Some of the counterfeits were found by automated machinery, others could be detected only by expert visual inspection.

In July 2010, following speculation that the Royal Mint would have to consider replacing £1 coins with a new design because of the fakes, bookmakers Paddy Power offered odds of 6/4 (bet £4 to win £6, plus the £4 stake back; decimal odds of 2.5), that the £1 coin would be removed from circulation.[37][42]

Real and fake pound coin, showing poor-quality edge inscription and milling

Some counterfeits are of poor quality, with obviously visible differences (less sharply defined, lacking intricate details, edge milling and markings visibly wrong). Many better counterfeits can be detected by comparing the orientation of the obverse and reverse—they always match in genuine coins, but very often not in counterfeits,[40][41] the design on the reverse must be correct for the stamped year (e.g., a 1996 coin should have a Celtic cross).[43] It is difficult to manufacture coins with properly-produced edges; the milling (grooves) may be incomplete or poor and the inscription (often "DECUS ET TUTAMEN") may be poorly produced and sometimes in the wrong typeface.[40] A shiny coin with less wear than its date suggests is also suspect, although it may be a genuine coin that has rarely been used.[41]

Counterfeit coins are made by different processes including casting, stamping, electrotyping, and copying with a pantograph or spark erosion;[44] in a 2009 survey, 99% of fake £1 coins found in cash centres were made of a nickel-brass, of which three fifths contained some lead and a fifth were of a very similar alloy to that used by the Royal Mint. The remaining 1% were made of simple copper-zinc brass, or lead or tin, or both,[45] those made of lead or tin may have a gold-coloured coating; counterfeits made of acrylic plastic containing metal powder to increase weight have occasionally been found.[44]

The final "round coins" were minted in December 2015; the replacement, a new 12-sided design, was introduced in 2017.[46] The coin has a 12-edged shape, similar to the pre-decimal brass threepence coin; it has roughly the same size as the previous £1 coin, and is bi-metallic like the current £2 coin. The new design is intended to make counterfeiting more difficult, and also has an undisclosed hidden security feature called "iSIS" (Integrated Secure Identification Systems).[22][47]

Current two-pound coins are made from two metals of different colour, and are much harder to counterfeit; counterfeited coins are often easily seen to be the wrong colour.

Other pound coins in circulation[edit]

Also legally circulating but not legal tender in the UK, are some £1 coins of British Crown Dependencies, Gibraltar and UK South Atlantic Overseas Territories, being of the same size and composition as their UK equivalent and mostly bearing the same portraits of the UK monarch (as with most other coins of the same territories).[48][49]

Further reading[edit]

In an April 1993 The New Yorker article 'Real Britannia', Julian Barnes describes the meetings to choose the 1994–1997 reverse designs,[50] this is reprinted in his book Letters from London as 'Britannia's New Bra Size'.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "No. 39873". The London Gazette (11th supplement). 26 May 1953. p. 3023.  Proclamation of 28 May 1953 made in accordance with the Royal Titles Act 1953.
  2. ^ "Project Britain-British Coins". 2013. Retrieved 2016-10-27. 
  3. ^ "One Pound Coin". Royal Mint. Retrieved 22 November 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "New 12-sided pound coin to enter circulation in March". BBC News. 1 January 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2017. 
  5. ^ Giedroyc, Richard (23 May 2017). "‘Most secure coin in world’ launched". numismaticsnews.net. Retrieved 24 May 2017. 
  6. ^ "Race on to spend old £1 coins as deadline looms". BBC News. 13 October 2017. Retrieved 14 October 2017. 
  7. ^ "Manx round pound coins to remain 'legal tender'". BBC News. 7 February 2017. Retrieved 6 October 2017. 
  8. ^ "Mintage Figures". Royal Mint. Retrieved 28 December 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "£1 Counterfeit Coins". royalmint.com. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "How can I spot a fake £1 coin?". London: The Telegraph. 19 March 2014. 
  11. ^ "New pound coin: Firms told to prepare for redesign". BBC News. 2016-10-31. Retrieved 2016-10-31. 
  12. ^ "Specification of the £1 coin: a technical consultation" (PDF). HM Treasury. September 2014. 
  13. ^ Clayton, Tony. "Decimal Coins of the UK – Bronze". tclayton.demon.co.uk. Retrieved 24 May 2006. 
  14. ^ a b Allen, Katie (17 March 2015). "New 12-sided pound coin to be unveiled ahead of budget announcement". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  15. ^ a b c "1p Coin". British Royal Mint. Archived from the original on 27 April 2006. Retrieved 23 May 2006. 
  16. ^ "Royal Mint unveils new coinage portrait of the Queen". BBC News. 2 March 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  17. ^ "The reveal of the Queen's fifth coin portrait". Royal Mint. 2 March 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  18. ^ "Royal Mint seeks new coin designs", BBC News, 17 August 2005
  19. ^ "Royal Mint unveils new UK coins", dofonline.co.uk, 2 April 2008
  20. ^ Royal Mint. "Why does the edge inscription on the £2 and £1 coins sometimes appear "upside down"?". Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  21. ^ "History of the Royal Mint". 24carat.co.uk. Retrieved 9 April 2008. 
  22. ^ a b "The New One Pound Coin". royalmint.com. 19 March 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  23. ^ New One Pound Coin Royal Mint
  24. ^ a b "Decimal coins issued £2 – 20p". The Royal Mint Limited. 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2016. 
  25. ^ a b "New coin designs for 2014 unveiled by The Royal Mint". BBC News. 31 December 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  26. ^ "Decimal coins issued up to 31 December 2015 £2 - 20p". The Royal Mint. Retrieved 2017-03-28. 
  27. ^ a b "Decimal coins issued up to 31 December 2015 £2 - 20p". The Royal Mint. Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  28. ^ "2016 One Pound | Check Your Change". www.checkyourchange.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-03-28. 
  29. ^ "2013 Dated UK Collector Coin Sales". The Royal Mint. Retrieved 28 March 2017. 
  30. ^ a b "The Last Round Pound 2016 United Kingdom £1 Brilliant Uncirculated Coin". The Royal Mint. Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  31. ^ "2016 One Pound". www.checkyourchange.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-03-28. 
  32. ^ Powell, Anna (16 May 2016). "Behind the design: the last 'round pound'". The Royal Mint blog. The Royal Mint. Retrieved 19 October 2016. 
  33. ^ Anthony, Sebastian (28 March 2017). "New “impossible” to fake £1 coin enters circulation today". Ars Technica. Retrieved 3 April 2017. 
  34. ^ Clive Kahn (17 December 2012). "43.5 Million Fake Pound Coins in Circulation". BusinessReport. 
  35. ^ [1] HM Treasury FOI response relating to a period 2008–2009. hm-treasury.gov.uk(PDF)
  36. ^ Josie Ensor (1 April 2012). "Three pound coins in every 100 are fake". London: The Telegraph. 
  37. ^ a b Rosie Murray-West and Harry Wallop (27 July 2010). "Record number of fake £1 coins could force reissue". London: The Telegraph. 
  38. ^ Chris Irvine (29 January 2009). "One £1 coin in 40 is a fake". London: The Telegraph. 
  39. ^ a b Ben Ando (8 April 2009). "Fake £1 coin estimate 'doubled'". BBC News. 
  40. ^ a b c d Fake Britain, Series 2 episode 1, first broadcast on BBC1 TV on 16 May 2011
  41. ^ a b c Hilary Osborne (2 April 2012) How to spot a fake £1 coin Guardian. Retrieved 24 January 2016
  42. ^ Sarah Preece (28 July 2010). "£1 coin under threat". London: Live Odds and Scores. 
  43. ^ [2][3][4] Three blog entries analyzing counterfeits the author has been passed. blog.alism.com
  44. ^ a b The types of counterfeit one-pound coins and identifying them. coinauthentication.co.uk. February 2006. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  45. ^ "Report on UK £1 counterfeit survey" (PDF). Royal Mint. May 2009. 
  46. ^ Royal Mint Presses Last Batch of Round Pound Coins The Guardian
  47. ^ Svenja O'Donnell (18 March 2014). "U.K. to Replace 1-Pound Coin With Secure 12-Edged Design". Bloomberg. 
  48. ^ Can I use coinage from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man?, Royal Mint. Retrieved 24 January 2016
  49. ^ Can I use coinage from United Kingdom Overseas Territories?, Royal Mint. Retrieved 24 January 2016
  50. ^ "Letter From London: Real Britannia". The New Yorker (paid registration required for the full article). 
  • Coincraft's Standard Catalogue English & UK Coins 1066 to Date, Richard Lobel, Coincraft. ISBN 0-9526228-8-2

External links[edit]