Spot the difference! Variations in the 12 sided £1 explained.

A common query we’ve been hearing at Change Checker HQ comes from people asking about variations in their 12 sided £1 coins.

Having read David Groom’s fascinating articles in the April and May issues of Coin News, we’ve found the key facts which explain these variations, what to look for and why they might have occurred.



We know that of the 1.5 billion 12 sided £1 coins struck to replace the old round pound, roughly half a billion are dated 2016.

Of course, having such a high mintage figure must lead to varieties in design and quality of striking, however in the Coin News examination of just 40 randomly selected 12 sided £1 coins, an extraordinary number of varieties appeared…



Perhaps the most talked about variation with the 12 sided £1 is the milling on the edge of the coin, with ‘lefties’ being a common error in the milling process.


Variations showing milling to the right. Credit: Coin News

Variations showing milling to the left. Credit: Coin News



Groom’s article suggested four clear variations can be found on the obverse of the coin, including position of the design and text.


Variations in the gap of the ‘T’ relative to the edge of the inner ring. Credit: Coin News

Variations in the position of the truncation relative to the edge of the inner ring. Credit: Coin News

Variations in the tip of the diadem relative to the edge of the inner ring. Credit: Coin News

Variations in the gap of the ‘D’ relative to the inner ring. Credit: Coin News



Groom also highlighted the four clear features of difference for the reverses of the new £1 coins.


Variations in the gap of the ‘D’ relative to the inner ring. Credit: Coin News

Variations in the gap of the ‘DP’ relative to the inner ring. Credit: Coin News

Variations in the position of the leek relative to the edge of the inner ring. Credit: Coin News

Variations in how the rose is intersected. Credit: Coin News



One of the most common variations seems to be misalignment of the coins, particularly where the outer and inner sections do not align properly.


Variations in alignment. Credit: Coin News



We have spoken before in our blog about the dual-dated £1 coins, with one such coin being valued at £3,000.

Groom also mentions that many examples of the 2016 pound coin have the date numbers very poorly struck, making the date hard to read.


The date on some 2016 £1 coins have been poorly struck. Credit: Coin News


Royal Mint trial coins

Trial coins are issued when new coin specifications are being tested, but they should not enter circulation.

These feature the words ‘The Royal Mint’ and ‘Trial Piece’.


Credit: eBay: Rare £1 coin – new 12-sided trial coins sold for £500


Whilst there are clearly a number of variations to be found in the 12 sided £1 coins, Coin News suggests that these may arise from off centre striking, or be due to the different characteristics from the two metals of the bimetallic coin.

Auction sites such as eBay may have sellers claiming these as ‘error’ coins, with listed prices rising to hundreds or even thousands of pounds, but for us Change Checkers, finding these variations in our coins is what makes collecting that much more interesting.

Many of you have been in touch telling us about the difference in your 2016 and 2017 12 sided £1 coins. Have you spotted any of the above variations in your coins?

– Credit ‘Up close, the new 12 sided £1 coin’ – David Groom, Coin News, April and May 2018

If you’re interested in coin collecting, our Change Checker web app is completely free to use and allows users to:

– Find and identify the coins in their pocket
– Collect and track the coins they have
– Swap their spare coins with other Change Checkers

Sign up today at:


  1. Brian on June 22, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Hi. been looking at the list of noted error coins, most just seem to be minting quality which to me me is not an error . left and right milling is a variety and not an error, if i collected every slight mint press id soon run out of money and space. the quality of mass produced coins seems to be poor. the T spacing is so minute im guessing you need tools to see it. the only errors id look for are die rotation, missing detail, and die cracks. anything else is just quality and starts a different type of collection . noted one detail on the list of coins that i will look for as a detail variant.. happy collecting

    • Rachel Hooper on June 25, 2018 at 2:28 pm

      Hi Brian, the variations shown in this blog are mis-strikes and show the huge variety of 12 sided £1 coins that were struck. These don’t represent errors and won’t mean the coin is worth more, but it does make for more interesting collecting. Thanks, Rachel

  2. Mr Thomas Wenban on June 21, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    Hi i have been looking out for a 2016 one pound where apparently they were let out with 2017 stamped on the outer edge of the reverse side,still yet to find one, do you know how many were released please.

    • Rachel Hooper on June 25, 2018 at 2:32 pm

      Hi Thomas, unfortunately it is impossible to say how many of these coins have been released as they would have been mis-struck and accidently entered into circulation. Do let us know if you find one though!

  3. Annonnymous on June 20, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    Hi, I was wondering if, as with the round pound coin. Will there be different designs annually on the 12 sides coin, Thanks

    • Rachel Hooper on June 21, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      Hi, as there are so many in circulation already we don’t expect to see any design changes for at least three years. Thanks, Rachel

  4. David on June 20, 2018 at 11:58 am

    Sorry Rachel, but that is incorrect. Because of the way the coins are struck, it isn’t possibly.
    It is people trying to cash in by making ‘error’s. You simply knock the centre out, polish it smooth and pop it back in.
    The same as these coins where the centre is reversed

    • Rachel Hooper on June 21, 2018 at 2:13 pm

      Hi David, whilst there are certainly people out there incorrectly claiming ‘error coins’, there are also numerous variations within the 12 sided £1 coins that are not errors, but could be due to mistrikes/worn out dies/issues with the coin being bimetallic, which is understandable considering the large amount of coins that were minted.

  5. Terrence Emmett on June 20, 2018 at 9:52 am

    What about the 12 sided £1 coin with a blank side? I have 2 of these are they Royal mint Errors???

    • Rachel Hooper on June 20, 2018 at 10:38 am

      Hi Terrence, yes another error that has been spotted is inner blanks being bonded to engraved outers. Due to the way bimetallic coins are struck, this error can be fairly common.

      • Thomas Shields on June 20, 2018 at 7:39 pm

        Out of 15 coins in my wallet I have found many of the above ‘errors’. Some coins have more than one. Very interesting.

      • Rachel Hooper on June 21, 2018 at 2:06 pm

        Hi Thomas, how interesting! We’ve heard a lot of people talking about errors in their £1 coins and whilst with such a high mintage figure you would expect some variations, it seems as though a lot of the new coins differ from one another.

    • Steve B Red on June 20, 2018 at 4:11 pm

      • Rachel Hooper on June 21, 2018 at 2:09 pm

        Hi Terrence, unfortunately there are some people out there claiming to have ‘error coins’ and these may very well be man made, however it is also clear that there are numerous differences among the 12 sides £1 coins due to mistrikes and variations in the 1.5 billion coins minted, but these are not necessarily errors.