The first UK £1 coin was issued in 1983 to replace the £1 banknote, which only lasted a few months in circulation! The £1 coin quickly became a hit with collectors, with everyone trying to hunt down the different designs…

£1 coins were initially issued in recurring five year programmes including series of designs representing the UK and the home nations.

After more than 30 years in the nation’s pockets, the familiar round £1 coin was replaced with an all new, 12-sided £1 coin in 2017 and it lost its legal tender status at midnight on 15 October 2017.

Despite this, some round pounds remain incredibly popular with collectors, due to their designs and their low mintages!

In this blog, we guide you through all of the round pound designs over the years…

Royal Coat of Arms

1983 Royal Arms Round £1

The first £1 coin design features the Royal Coat of Arms designed by Eric Sewell, a chief engraver at the Royal Mint. It also features the edge Inscription: DECUS ET TUTAMEN.

This coin was issued in 1983, 1993, 2003, 2008 and has a circulating mintage of 623,304,510.

Floral Emblems

Floral Emblems Series

The first reverse design series of £1 coins took floral emblems as its theme to represent the United Kingdom and its four constituent countries.

They were designed by Leslie Durbin – one of the most highly-regarded silversmiths of the 20th Century. 

This series (pictured left to right) featured designs of a Scottish Thistle (1984 & 1989), Welsh Leek (1985 & 1990), Northern Ireland Flax (1986 & 1991), and the English Oak Tree (1987, 1992).

Of these coins, the Northern Ireland Flax has the lowest circulating mintage of 48,853,076.

1988 Royal Coat of Arms Crowned Shield

1988 Crowned Shield

For the 6th year of the £1 coin, a Royal Coat of Arms design was introduced.

The first Royal Arms of England are attributed to King Richard I whose crest depicted three gold lions. Since then, the Coat of Arms has been adapted over centuries, and the reverse design of this coin displays the most modern version.

All coins dated 1988 feature this design, and 1988 was the only year it was used, making its mintage particularly low (just 7,118,825 were issued!)

Heraldic Emblems

Heraldic Emblems Series

The second series of £1 coin designs, by Norman Sillman used heraldic emblems to represent the United Kingdom and its four constituent countries. 

From left to right, the series includes the Scottish Lion Rampant (1994), Welsh Dragon Passant (1995 & 2000), Northern Ireland Celtic Cross (1996 & 2001), and English Three Lions (1997, 2002).

The Scottish Lion Rampant has the lowest mintage in this series of £1 coins, with 29,752,525 entering circulation.

Bridges

Bridges Series

The third series of £1 coin designs depicts bridges from each of the four constituent countries in the United Kingdom.

These coins were designed by Edwina Ellis (who later went on to design the incredibly popular 2019 Stephen Hawking 50p!) Pictured left to right, this series included the Scottish Forth Railway Bridge (2004), the Welsh Menai Bridge (2005), the Northern Ireland Egyptian Railway (2006), and the English Millennium Bridge (2007).

The English Millennium Bridge round pound has the lowest mintage of this series, with 26,180,160 entering circulation.

Royal Arms Shield

Royal Arms Shield

In 2008 a new reverse design for the £1 was issued featuring the Royal Shield of Arms – designed by Matthew Dent.

The edge inscription in Latin reads DECUS ET TUTAMEN which translates as; An Ornament and a Safeguard. This dates back to the first machine struck coins minted in 1662 and refers to the inscription itself which was intended to prevent people scraping valuable metal off the edge of the coin – a process known as ‘clipping’.

This coin was issued for eight consecutive years from its introduction in 2008.

This coin has a circulating mintage of 189,687,930.

Capital Cities

Capital Cities Series

The fourth series of £1 coins used the capital cities of the four constituent countries as the basis of the reverse design.

They were designed by Stuart Devlin, who was also the Goldsmith and Jeweller to the Queen!

The designs of these coins (pictured left to right) feature Belfast City (2010), London City (2010), Cardiff City (2011) and Edinburgh City (2011).

These round pounds have lower mintages than any previous series, with the Edinburgh City £1 having a circulating mintage of JUST 935,000! The Cardiff City £1 is close behind with a mintage of 1,615,000.

Floral Emblem Pairs

Floral Emblem Pairs Series

The fifth series of £1 coin designs uses pairs of floral emblems, designed by Timothy Noad to represent the United Kingdom and its four constituent countries.

The coins in this series featured designs of (pictured left to right) English Rose and Oak Branch (2013), Welsh Daffodil and Leek (2013), Scottish Thistle and Bluebell (2014), and Northern Ireland Flax and Shamrock (2014).

The coin in this series with the lowest mintage is the Scottish Thistle and Bluebell, with 5,185,000 entering circulation.

The Floral Emblem Pairs were to be the last round pound series, with the final two round pounds being issued independent of each other.

2015 Royal Coat of Arms

2015 Royal Coat of Arms

In 2015 the Royal Mint revealed a new design for the Royal Arms £1 coin.

Timothy Noad’s contemporary adaptation of the traditional Royal Arms design is one of last commemorative designs to feature on the pound coin, as the newly shaped coin entered circulation in 2017.

This coin has a circulating mintage of 129,616,985.

2016 The Last Round Pound

2016 The Last Round Pound

This 2016 £1 coin is the final ‘round pound’ issued by the Royal Mint, calling time on a coin which was first issued more than thirty years ago.

The reverse design features the animals that represent each of the four constituent UK countries and was designed by Gregory Cameron.

This coin did not enter general circulation and is only available to buy in a Brilliant Uncirculated quality.


So hopefully our guide to Britain’s round pounds will help you along the way to expanding your collection!

What’s most exciting about these coins is that they’re not used in circulation anymore, which makes them particularly sought-after by collectors!

Do you have any of these coins in your collection already? Let us know in the comments below!


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35 Comments

  1. LORD Dave L. Chance on August 29, 2020 at 9:34 am

    I have every yearly set of coins issued since my birth year 1957 to date. Anyone know what that is worth. They are all in BUNC condition issued by the Royal Mint.



  2. LORD Dave L. Chance on August 29, 2020 at 9:25 am

    I have the complete set of round pound coins in really good condition. Anyone know what the complete set is worth?. The cities collection is in BUNC condition, so is the Flowers collection and the Last Round Pound. These are my pride and joy, so I need a valuation for insurance purposes.
    My coin collection spans four centuries and BUNC coins from all over the world, plus BUNC Bank Notes from almost every Country in the World. I collect the rarest limited editions from every Mint House on the Planet, even the very First Russian Gold Sovriegn ever Minted I own.
    The last time I had my collection valued, it was worth 3.6 Million Pounds, that was two years ago.



    • Pat Eltringham on September 3, 2020 at 3:18 pm

      Gosh that must be a huge collection hope you have them insured



    • Les kent on September 5, 2020 at 7:34 pm

      Hi Dave
      Do you have every 50p coin from 69 to 2020 , I ask because I can’t find any other collector who has.
      kent@lesandbarbara.plus.com
      Regards
      Les.



  3. Jim on August 28, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    Designer of the reverse of the the Royal Arms shield one pound was actually Matthew Dent (who designed the whole 2008 new series 1p to £1), and for completeness it was Derek Gorringe (a member of the Royal Mint engraving department) who designed the one-off 1988 shield reverse.



    • Alexandra Siddons on September 3, 2020 at 12:19 pm

      Hi Jim,

      Great spot!

      Thanks,
      Alex



  4. Les kent on August 28, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    Hi Rachel
    I know you only do the circulated coins but thak you to Phillip Bell and Steven Davistalking about the
    2016 last pound I had forgotten to add that one to the list which is now 45 coins or 90 with the opposit
    Inscriptions
    Les.



  5. Nick on August 28, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    Hi Rachel,
    Is there a mintage figure for the “last round” pound coin ?
    Thanks
    Nick



    • Rachel Hooper on August 28, 2020 at 2:33 pm

      Hi Nick, as this coin never entered circulation we don’t have the mintage figures unfortunately.



      • LORD Dave L. Chance on August 29, 2020 at 9:29 am

        I think it was only 500,00 minted for collectors only. Had that helps.



  6. Les kent on August 28, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    Hi Rachel
    I have all the round pound coins and I also built a set of shields with the shield £1 coin on top. I now have the 8 sets, in a way it is a shame you can’t do that with the new £1 coins.
    Has any one else done that ?.
    Regards
    Les.



    • Rachel Hooper on August 28, 2020 at 2:26 pm

      The fact you can create the shield using the definitive coins is really cool and it was definitely a bonus being able to include the round pound to show the complete shield design on one coin. It will be interesting to see if the new £1 is redesigned and whether the shield will ever return…



  7. Mervyn Hood on August 28, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    Hi Rachel,

    I collected all 44 coins mentioned plus a secondary set of the 26 different types (about to advertise for sale) in a type of “book” folder. I also collected several Piedfort silver £1 coins including the 1988 Royal Arms, 1999 to 2002 “National Symbols” and the 2003 Royal Arms. These six make a nice little set of their own but unfortunately I have no idea as to the value of them as a set. I would be interested if anybody can give me a clue, remembering Piedfort coins are struck to PROOF standard in .925 sterling silver and are twice the thickness (and consequently weight at 19.00 grams) of a standard coin. They are also struck in very low numbers, 1988 – 15,000 and the other years 10,000 each, each with their own presentation box and COA.



    • Rachel Hooper on August 28, 2020 at 1:43 pm

      Hi Mervyn, that sounds like an incredible collection you’ve got there! Silver Piedfort coins are particularly sought-after, so I’m sure they would make a very welcome addition to a collection. Unfortunately we are unable to offer valuations, but you could try looking at secondary market sites to see how much they currently sell for, or contact a dealer form the British Numismatics Trade Association who could help with this. Best of luck!



  8. David Ashford on August 28, 2020 at 12:36 pm

    Years ago I was given a large collection of coins, just over 2000 altogether. They ranged from Ancient Greek right up to the house of Windsor. I foolishly sold them about ten years later, something that I have regretted ever since. Just before the round pound was withdrawn I saw that there were 24 different reverses so I decided that I would get them all, hopefully with the different obverse too and with the help of friends managed it. This rekindled my interest in numismatics and I am now rebuilding another collection.
    Thank you round pounds



    • Rachel Hooper on August 28, 2020 at 1:37 pm

      What a fantastic story, thanks for sharing David. I’m so pleased to hear your interest in coin collecting has been rekindled. It sounds like you had some amazing coins in your collection. Happy collecting and best of luck as you build it up once more.



    • Roger on August 28, 2020 at 6:43 pm

      I reckon there are 24 circulated designs and 42 unique circulated coins



  9. Steven Davis on August 28, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    I managed to get all the coins for make up one of each of the one pound coins and then managed to get all 42 in date order, however I am still searching for the 2016 Royal arms Shield.



    • Rachel Hooper on August 28, 2020 at 12:26 pm

      Congrats Steven! Unfortunately the 2016 £1 was only available in sets and never entered general circulation.



  10. john donkin on August 28, 2020 at 11:37 am

    Completed the set including the non circulation coin



  11. lee on August 28, 2020 at 10:48 am

    I have the complete set 👍



  12. Les kent on August 28, 2020 at 10:44 am

    Hi.
    I have collected the pound coins for a long long time and if you have done the same then you should have 44 pound coins in your collection , plus another 44 if you have collected all the opposite edge inscription as well given you 88 round pounds in total, thankfully you don’t have to do that with the new pound coins.
    Les.



    • Alan Marshall on August 28, 2020 at 3:20 pm

      But you do get lefties, where if you hold the coin with queen up and look at the edge at the bottom of the coin and because the grooves are alternate some are on the left and some are to the right.



      • Les kent on September 7, 2020 at 8:43 pm

        Hi Alan
        You see it is good to talk I heard something about that but didn’t know for sure, but I don’t think
        I will go down that road, could you imagine what it would be like trying to explain what you are looking for. It was hard enough trying to get all the round pounds.
        Thank you anyway.
        Les



    • Chris Goulder on August 30, 2020 at 7:44 am

      I am quite new to coin collecting – my ambition is to collect the whole decimal currency. To date I’ve just Developed my collection using coins I get in my change and with the help of friends. I’ve just made one purchase on eBay of some old half pence coins.
      I’ve read all the comments here and it seems lots of people are a long way ahead of me! So I thought I’d post a comment asking for some tips or advice on how to develop my collection further. I’m really enjoying it but my success is starting to decline as my collection builds. Any advice would be gratefully appreciated.



      • Alexandra Siddons on September 1, 2020 at 9:20 am

        Hi Chris,

        Welcome to the hobby and a personal hello from us at Change Checker 🙂

        It sounds like you’re off to a great start! A really helpful way to build your collection is by swapping with other collectors. We have our swap centre on our web app: https://www.changechecker.org/swaps.aspx or our Community Group on Facebook where you can make like for like swaps: https://www.facebook.com/groups/changecheckercommunity/

        We’ve also got a really helpful video on our Youtube channel that runs through our top tips on how to build your collection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewCCJ461G_E

        Best of luck in building in your collection and happy swapping!

        Thanks,
        Alex



      • Les kent on September 5, 2020 at 8:27 pm

        Hi Chris
        I am by no means an expert but I have been Collectng for a long time, and I have quite a collection now, I can only assume you are / have collected all the 1 2 5 10ps and so on , you get a lot of time where nothing seems to be happening so try collecting all the shield sets there are 19 to collect, 2 sets for 2015 but a few of the 50p coins you will have to buy and they will cost you quite a bit, however you have to decide exactly what type of collection you are going for and try to stick to it but be warned IT GROWS ON YOU, and if you try to go for every date run then you will have to buy a lot of sets and proof coins, But in my opinion don’t go for the rare coins to make a fortune because that’s a whole new ball game and will cost a lot of money.
        I hope it helps.
        Regards amd good luck
        Les.



  13. A.R.Marchant on August 28, 2020 at 9:37 am

    I have the complete set of the pound coins



    • Rachel Hooper on August 28, 2020 at 9:54 am

      That’s a great achievement, well done!



    • glyn wilde on August 28, 2020 at 11:30 am

      I also have a full set plus a spare complete set of the cities and the bridges



  14. Philip Bell on August 28, 2020 at 9:24 am

    What about the 2016 Royal Arms Shield £1 coin which was only issued in sets?
    How many of these were produced?
    Everyone has forgotten about these coins, yourself included.



    • Rachel Hooper on August 28, 2020 at 9:56 am

      Hi Philip, we’ve only included the circulation coins in our blog, but thanks for sharing about the 2016 Royal Arms Shield £1 coins in sets as it’s always good to hear about these too.



      • john donkin on August 28, 2020 at 11:36 am

        I also have the complete set of £1 rounds



      • Rachel Hooper on August 28, 2020 at 12:19 pm

        Great work John! It’s a fantastic set to have in your collection.