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!


Secure the UK Royal Arms Shield Circulation £1 with FREE p&p!

Secure the UK Royal Arms Shield Circulation for JUST £5 with FREE p&p to your collection by clicking here >>

Are you a collector of Isle of Man coinage?

The island has released some truly beautiful coins in recent years, and as their mintage figures are typically much lower than UK coins, they are often highly sought-after by collectors…

The recent release of a second Christmas themed £2 coin has got everyone at Change Checker HQ talking, and so in this blog I’ve decided to take a look at some of our favourite Isle of Man coins!

1) 2019 Santa £2

2019 Isle of Man Santa £2

The Isle of Man is renowned for their Christmas themed coins.

Traditionally the island release Christmas themed 50ps most years, however last year an incredibly popular Christmas £2 coin was released for the very first time, and this has now been followed by a second £2 this Christmas.

This year’s magical design features an enchanting portrait of Old St. Nick and bears the inscription ‘Nollick Ghennal’ which is Manx for ‘Merry Christmas’.

At the top of the coin, the distinctive Isle of Man Triskelion (three armoured legs) can be seen.

2) 2019 Peter Pan Set

2019 Isle of Man Peter Pan 50p set

This year, collectors were swept off their feet by this set of 6 commemorative Peter Pan 50p coins.

These are the very first coins to feature ‘the boy who never grew up’ and the set has been issued to commemorative the 90th anniversary of Peter Pan author, JM Barrie, gifting the rights to the story to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The first coin in the series features an engraving of Peter Pan from David Wyatt’s illustration from the Oxford University Press edition and includes the iconic quote from the book, ‘Second to the right and straight on till morning’.

25,000 of each design entered circulation, but only on the Isle of Man so you’d be incredibly lucky if you managed to come across one in your UK change!

3) 2017 Triskelion £5 Coin

2017 Isle of Man Triskelion £5

This £5 coin from 2017 features the Triskelion (three armoured legs) which is arguably the most recognised symbol of the island (featured on both the coat of arms and the flag).

The Isle of Man is the only country that circulates £5 coins, which means you could actually spend this coin in shops on the island!

But if you were lucky enough to have one I doubt you’d want to spend it, as it’s so unusual to have a circulation £5 coin in your change!

The coin is reasonably light when compared to our UK £5 coins. In fact, its size is 6mm smaller than the traditional UK commemorative £5 coins – so light enough to carry in your pocket!

4) 2003 Christmas 50p: The Snowman

2003 Isle of Man Snowman 50p. Credit: Numista

2003 marked the very first time The Snowman featured on circulating coinage.

The Isle of Man released a limited-edition coin to mark the 25th anniversary of the release of the ‘The Snowman’ by Raymond Briggs.

Only 10,000 of these coins were ever minted, which makes it incredibly sought-after. In fact, this coin sells for well over face value on the secondary market, often fetching more than £200!

Since 2003, the Snowman has featured on a number of Isle of Man Christmas coins, and has even made two appearances on UK coins, which have been incredibly popular with collectors.

5) 1997 TT Races 50p

1997 Isle of Man TT 50p. Credit: Numista

This highly sought-after 50p commemorates the 1997 TT races on the island – 90 years since the very first race in 1907.

The Isle of Man has become synonymous with the legendary TT races and each year since 1981 coins have been issued on the island to celebrate the occasion.

The 1997 coin celebrates eleven-time TT race winner Philip McCallen and is one of the most popular TT 50ps released by the Isle of Man.

Whilst there are many Isle of Man TT 50p coins in circulation, this isn’t the only denomination issued for the event…

6) 2018 TT £2 pair

2018 Isle of Man TT £2 pair

£2 coins such as these have also been issued to celebrate the Isle of Man TT races.

These particular coins from 2018 mark 60 years since fan favourite ‘Mike the Bike’ first raced the International Isle of Man TT and 40 years since he returned to the event. They were officially licensed by the Isle of Man TT & Mike Haliwood foundation.

Mike Haliwood secured 14 Isle of Man victories during his racing career and his triumphant return to the TT has been described as ‘one of the most emotional moments of 20th century sport’.

Only 3,000 of each coin entered circulation on the Isle of Man, making them very hard to come by and practically impossible to find in your UK change.

7) 2011 Tosha Cat £2

2011 Isle of Man Tosha Cat £2

In 2018, this coin caused a stir on Facebook coin groups and was even voted ‘Coin of the Year’ by the coin collecting community.

The £2 was actually issued in 2011 to commemorate the fourth Commonwealth Youth Games, held on the Isle of Man for the very first time.

However the coin seemed to be overlooked for the next 7 years until it piqued the interest of collectors on Facebook and prices on the secondary market started to skyrocket!

Sold prices for the coin vary and buyers must beware of fakes, however in some cases you’d be looking at parting with over £100 to get hold of one.

8) 2017 Round £1

In 2017, when the UK welcomed the brand new 12-sided £1 coin, the Isle of Man confirmed they would be keeping the familiar round pound coin – making them the only British Isles country to do so.

However, their round pound was to feature a complete redesign. It now featured a Falcon and a Raven which are symbolically associated with the Island and feature on the Coat of Arms.

The new round pound features Jody Clark’s sixth effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II, which also features on coins from Crown dependencies and Commonwealth countries.

You might recognise the portrait from the £5 coin mentioned earlier as both look fairly unusual due to the inclusion of the Queen’s shoulders on the design.

9) 1978 Definitive £1

1978 Isle of Man £1. Credit: Numista

When it comes to pound coins, the Isle of Man were ahead of the game…

In fact, the world’s first base-metal circulating £1 was actually issued on the Isle of Man – five years ahead of the first £1 coin issued in mainland Britain.

It features the Three Legs of Man against a map of the island on the reverse and was issued as part of the Isle of Man £1 coin series.

These old style £1 coins were withdrawn from circulation in 1983, but would certainly make for an interesting addition to any collection.

10) 1990 ‘Penny Black’ Crown

1990 Isle of Man Penny Black Crown. Credit: Numista

In 1990, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first postage stamp – the ‘Penny Black Stamp’ – the Isle of Man released this striking Crown coin.

The coin features an image of the stamp which was designed by Henry Corbould in 1840, showing the profile of the young Queen Victoria.

Struck in ‘pearl black’ Copper-Nickel, this highly innovative coin was awarded with three Coin of the Year Awards – Best Crown, Most Innovative Coinage and overall Coin of the Year.

A reissued version of this coin was struck in 2015 to celebrate the 175th anniversary.

Do you collect British Isles coinage and are you luck enough to have any of these beautiful Isle of Man coins in your change? Let us know in the comments below!


Celebrate the festive season with the BRAND NEW 2019 Isle of Man Christmas Santa £2 coin

The 2019 Isle of Man Christmas Santa £2 coin is a truly unique festive addition to any collection this Christmas season, or could even make the perfect Christmas gift or stocking filler for a friend or relative!

Click here to secure yours in Brilliant Uncirculated quality.

We’re celebrating the unsung heroes of the coin collecting world by taking a deep dive into the UK’s definitive coin designs.

From the 1p to the £2 coin, find out all you need to know about the definitive coins that have been issued over the last 51 years…

£2

1997-2015: History of Technology £2

In 1997 a new type of £2 coin was introduced which featured an innovative bi-metallic design and was the first in the history of British coinage.

Previously, £2 coins had been issued as commemoratives only and featured a single metal design.

The reverse of the new bi-metallic coin shows Bruce Rushin’s representation of mankind’s technological evolution from the Iron Age. The concentric circles each denote a different technological milestone, including the Industrial Revolution, the computer age and the age of the Internet.

The obverse features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley.

2015 – Present: Britannia £2

In 2015, the “History of Technology” design, which featured on the £2 coin since 1997, was replaced by the introduction of an iconic Britannia design by Anthony Dufort.

Britannia first appeared on British coins in 1672 and subsequently featured on a British coin in one way or another for more than 300 years. In 2008 she was surprisingly dropped from the 50 pence piece despite a Daily Mail campaign to save her, and so her appearance on the definitive £2 coins in 2015 was a triumphant return.

The obverse features Jody Clark’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, which is the 5th portrait of Her Majesty to appear on a coin.

So far there have only been issues of this coin in 2015 and again in 2016, however just 650,000 Britannia £2s were issued in 2015, making it the joint 3rd rarest £2 in circulation.


£1

2008-2016: Royal Arms

The first UK £1 coin was issued in 1983 to replace the £1 banknote, which was only lasting a few months in circulation.

It was struck from Nickel-brass, making it yellow in colour, and it was much thicker than the other coins in our change.

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

It wasn’t until 2008 that the first official definitive £1 coin was issued.

The reverse design was created by Matthew Dent, who won a public competition to redesign the UK’s definitive coinage.

His concept was based on the Royal Shield of Arms and this £1 coin features the complete shield – representing the United Kingdom as a whole.

The obverse design featured the 4th portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, by Raphael Maklouf until 2015, when this was replaced by Jody Clark’s design.

2016 – Present: Nations of the Crown

To combat counterfeiting, a new bi-metallic, 12-sided £1 coin was introduced in March 2017.

Billed as the most secure circulating coin in the world, the new £1 coin was designed by 15-year-old David Pearce following a public competition in 2015.

The new design is made up of the English rose, the Welsh leek, the Scottish thistle and the Northern Irish shamrock emerging from one stem within a royal coronet to represent the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom.

The obverse features the 5th portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Jody Clark.


50p

1969-1981: Britannia 50 New Pence

October 1969 saw the entrance of the 50 New Pence coin into circulation and its revolutionary heptagonal shape was the first of its kind.

Its reverse design, by Christopher Ironside remained traditional however, featuring the familiar and iconic image of Britannia.

Arnold Machin’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II features on the obverse and this was the second portrait of Her Majesty to appear on a coin.

1982-1997: Britannia 50 Pence

In 1982 the UK’s definitive coin designs were updated, as they were no longer considered ‘new’.

The lettering of this 50p differs from its predecessor, changing from ’New Pence’ to ‘Fifty Pence’.

The 1982-1997 50p features Christopher Ironside’s image of Britannia, the allegorical female figure that symbolizes Britain on the reverse.

The obverse of this coin featured the 2nd portrait of the Queen by Arnold Machin until 1985 when it was replaced with the new portrait by Raphael Maklouf.

1997-2008: Britannia Fifty Pence

In October 1994, the Government reviewed the United Kingdom coinage and a requirement for a smaller 50 pence coin was revealed.

On 1st September 1997 a 27.3mm diameter 50 pence was issued; a 2.7mm reduction from the previous 50 pence.

The traditional image of Britannia remained on the reverse, designed by Christopher Ironside, as did the obverse portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, by Raphael Maklouf.

2008 – Present: 50p Royal Arms

In 2008, the UK’s previous definitive coin designs were replaced by Matthew Dent’s winning competition entry which saw all the definitive coins form a complete image of the Royal Shield of Arms when pieced together.

The 50p coin design completes the lower section of the Royal Shield and features the denomination in the lower segment.

In 2015, the obverse design was changed to feature the 5th portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II by Jody Clark, replacing Ian Rank-Broadley’s portrait.

This design was issued every year from 2008 to present, excluding 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2016.

The rarest Royal Shield 50p was issued in 2017 and has a mintage of 1,800,000 – making it the second rarest 50p in circulation. Mintage figures for 2018 and 2019 coins have not yet been revealed.


20p

1982-2008: The Royal Badge of England

Introduced into circulation in June 1982, the 20 pence coin was giving the same curved heptagonal shape as the 50p but is much smaller, measuring at 21.4mm in diameter.

The reverse design of the Royal Badge of England was designed by William Gardiner and it features a royally crowned double rose in between the dated year.

From 1982 the obverse features the design of Queen Elizabeth II by Arnold Machin. This changed to Raphael Maklouf’s 3rd portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1985 and Ian Rank-Broadley’s 4th portrait in 1998.

This 20p was issued annually between 1982 and 2008, excluding 1986 and 2017 in which there was low demand.

2008 – Present: 20p Royal Arms

A new design for the 20p was introduced in 2008 as part of the re-design of UK coinage using Matthew Dent’s shield design.

When the six individual coins are placed together the designs join to form the complete image of the Royal Shield of Arms. The design of the 20p shows the far-right segment of the shield.

The 20p had previously included the date on the reverse, but the new design required the Royal Mint to produce a new die with the date on the obverse. However when the new coins were struck for circulation, the old die was accidentally used, meaning a batch was issued with no date on either side of the coin, making a very rare undated 20p error coin.

The obverse features the 4th portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley. In 2015, a 5th portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was designed by Jody Clark and the 20p obverse was updated to feature it.


10p

1968-1981: 10 New Pence

In 1968 the 10 New Pence coin entered circulation to replace the florin as part of Britain’s conversion to a system of decimal currency.

The public was uncertain about using this new coin to start with, after generations of pounds, shillings and pence, meaning the Decimal Currency Board still needed to reassure suspicious Britons to go decimal.

Featured on the reverse was Christopher Ironside’s design, incorporating part of the Crest of England; a lion passant guardant royally crowned.

The 2nd portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II by Arnold Machin is on the obverse.

1992-2008: 10 Pence (3rd portrait; small type)

On 30th September 1992 a reduced size version of the 10 pence coin was introduced into circulation and the older and larger version of the coin was withdrawn from circulation on 30th June 1993.

This 10 pence measured at 24.5mm, 4mm less than its predecessor.

Whilst the reverse design by Christopher Ironside, a lion passant guardian royally crowned, remained the same, the lettering changed from ‘New Pence’ to ‘Ten Pence.’

Raphael Maklouf’s portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II features on the obverse of the coin.

2008 – Present: 10p Royal Arms

In April 2008, Mathew Dent’s competition winning design was adopted on the 10p coin.

The 10p is designed to depict the top left quarter of the Royal Shield of Arms, showing the lions passant from the Royal Banner of England.

On the obverse, HM Queen Elizabeth II’s 4th portrait, by Ian Rank-Broadley is featured.

This 10p was issued consecutively from 2008 to 2017 but HM Queen Elizabeth II’s 5th portrait by Jody Clark, only features on coins issued after 2015.


5p

1968-1981: Five New Pence

In April 1968, 5p coins were issued as a replacement for shillings in preparation for decimalisation in 1971.

These were released into circulation at the same time as the very first 10p coins.

The reverse, by Christopher Ironside, shows The Badge of Scotland and a thistle royally crowned.

The obverse features the second crowned portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II, designed by Arnold Machin.

1990-1998: Five Pence- Reduced Size

In 1987 the Government announced its intention to issue a smaller 5p coin and on 27th June 1990 the new 18.00mm 5p was introduced.

The reverse design remained the same as the previous years’, with a royally crowned Scottish thistle, designed by Christopher Ironside but the words ‘Five Pence’ were written instead of ‘New Pence’.

From 1990 to 1998 the obverse design shows Raphael Maklouf’s portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and from 1998 to 2008 the obverse design shows Ian Rank-Broadley’s portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

2008 – Present: Royal Arms

A new design for the 5p was introduced in 2008 as part of the re-design of UK coinage using Matthew Dent’s Royal Shield design.

The 5p coin depicts the centre of the Royal shield, showing the meeting point of the four quarters.

The obverse from 2008 to 2015 features the 4th portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley and from 2015 to present features the 5th portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Jody Clark.


2p

1971-1981: Badge of the Prince of Wales – New Pence

On 15 February 1971, the United Kingdom adopted a new decimal currency system and the 2p was introduced into general circulation.

The reverse incorporates the wording ‘NEW’ so to avoid confusion between the old and new coinage and features the badge of the Prince of Wales, designed by Christopher Ironside.

The obverse features Arnold Machin’s portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II; her second crowned portrait to appear on a coin.

1985-1992: Badge of the Prince of Wales – Two Pence

In 1982, the reverse inscription on the 2p coin was changed from ‘NEW PENCE’ to ‘TWO PENCE’.

The reverse of the coin features the badge of the Prince of Wales with his motto ‘Ich Dien’ (I serve), designed by Christopher Ironside.

From 1982 the obverse shows the third portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II, by Raphael Maklouf. This changed in 1998 when it was replaced by Ian Rank-Broadley’s 4th portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II.

Due to the increase in metal prices on world markets, in 1992 the composition of 2p coins was changed from bronze to copper-plated steel and as a result, they are magnetic.

2008 – Present: 2p Royal Arms

In 2008, the UK’s previous definitive coin designs were replaced by Matthew Dent’s winning competition entry which saw all the definitive coins form a complete image of the Royal Shield of Arms when pieced together.

The 2p coin design completes the upper-right section of the Royal Shield and features the denomination in the top segment.

From 2008 the obverse design featured the 4th portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley. In 2015, the obverse design was changed to feature the 5th portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II by Jody Clark.


1p

1971-1981 Portcullis and Chains: New Penny

On 15 February 1971, the United Kingdom adopted a new decimal currency system and the 1p was introduced into general circulation.

The reverse of the coin, designed by Christopher Ironside, features an adaptation of the Badge of King Henry VII and his successors; a portcullis with chains royally crowned.

To separate this coin from the previous coinage, the wording ‘NEW’ was incorporated.

The obverse shows the 2nd portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II, by Arnold Machin.

1982- 2008: Portcullis and Chains: One Penny

The reverse inscription on the 1p coin was changed from ‘NEW PENNY’ to ‘ONE PENNY’ in 1982.

The reverse of the coin continued to feature Christopher Ironside’s portcullis with chains design.

From 1982 the obverse shows the third portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II, by Raphael Maklouf. This changed in 1998 when it was replaced by Ian Rank-Broadley’s 4th portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II.

Due to the increase in metal prices on world markets, in 1992 the composition of 1p coins was changed from bronze to copper-plated steel and as a result, they are magnetic.

2008 – Present: 1p Royal Arms

Matthew Dent’s new design for the 1p was introduced in 2008 to create the Royal Shield of Arms using the UK’s definitive coins.

The 1p coin depicts the left segment of the Royal shield with the denomination in the far-left.

From 2008 the obverse features the 4th portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley. From 2015 the obverse features the 5th portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Jody Clark.


½ Penny

1971-1981: St Edward’s Crown: New Penny

This Half Penny coin was introduced in February 1971, to coincide with decimalisation, and was worth 0.5 of a penny.

Continued production of the coin was necessary due to the fact that the old sixpence (with a decimal face value of 2.5p) remained in circulation until 1980.

The reverse of the coin was designed by Christopher Ironside, featuring St Edward’s Crown.

The obverse of the Half Penny remained the same throughout its short time in circulation. This featured the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Arnold Machin.

1982-1984: St Edward’s Crown: Half Penny

In 1982 Christopher Ironside’s reverse design of the Half Penny was updated, as the coin was no longer considered ‘New’.

The inscription at the top of the reverse design now read ‘Half Penny’.

The obverse design by Arnold Machin remained unchanged.

As Britain’s smallest decimal coin, both in size and in value, the Half Penny unfortunately found itself becoming Britain’s least favourite coin and was demonetised and withdrawn from circulation in 1984 after just 13 years in circulation.


Now that we’re more than 10 years on since the last update of the reverse of the UK’s definitive coins, perhaps we could be due for a re-design…

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

And next time you check your change, make sure you spare a thought for the definitive coins in your pocket and the vital role they play in Britain’s numismatic history.


Have you joined the Definitive 50p Collecting Challenge?

17 Tips to Complete your Definitive 50p Collecting Challenge

The race is on to find and collect the definitive 50ps in your change in time for the 50th anniversary of the 50p!

Click here to find out how you can join the challenge >>