For those of you collecting date runs, you might have noticed that in 2017 The Royal Mint didn’t strike a single £2 or 20p coin for general circulation.
In 2016, nearly 29 million £2 coins and almost 213 million 20p coins were struck for circulation, however the next year that number dropped to 0.
From the graph above, you’ll notice that whilst most denominations had relatively few coins struck in 2017 compared to 2016, the mintage figure for £1 coins for both years is comparatively very high.
Introduction of the new £1
It’s thought that the introduction of the new 12 sided £1 coin to replace the old round pound in 2017 affected the demand for the other coins in circulation.
This could be down to the fact that the public were emptying their piggy banks and checking their loose change to make sure their old pound coins were used up before shops stopped accepting them. In doing so, they also ended up spending other coins in their change, meaning there was plenty of cash to re-circulate, and not as much demand for new coins to be struck for circulation.
This coupled with the growth of card payments and the decline of cash transactions, as well as the impressive 25-30 year lifespan of UK coins meant that enough £2 and 20p coins could be re-circulated in 2017 and new coins weren’t needed.
The Royal Mint had been expecting this drop in demand, as had been seen in similar cases overseas when coins were withdrawn.
Where does demand for cash come from?
The Royal Mint does not actually have any real control over how and when coins go into circulation, as this is based on demand.
HM Treasury and the large cash distribution services run by the Post Office and some banks, as well as private operators handle, sort and distribute the billions of coins in circulation, even swapping stocks between themselves.
The Royal Mint and cash distribution services regularly review the amount of coins in circulation and it’s only when they are short of a particular denomination that stocks will be called from The Royal Mint, who act as the manufacturer of the coin on behalf of the Treasury.
Surplus coins will be re-circulated before new coins are released.
Rare 50p coins from 2017
Whilst more 50p coins were struck in 2017 than 2016, two 2017 designs in particular actually have some of the lowest mintage figures of any 50p coins in circulation, excluding the Olympic 50p series.
The 2017 Royal Shield actually comes in as the second rarest 50p in circulation, closely followed by the 2017 Sir Isaac Newton 50p.
Where can I find the 2017 £2 and 20p coins?
Whilst no £2 or 20p coins were issued for circulation in 2017, brilliant uncirculated commemorative coins were still issued, including the Jane Austen and First World War Aviation £2 coins.
These coins, along with the 2017 Britannia £2 and the 2017 20p which weren’t issued for circulation were also featured in brilliant uncirculated quality within the 2017 Annual Coin Set, which has now sold out at The Royal Mint.
This means that the only way to get hold of these coins is to purchase the set on the secondary market, with prices typically around £65, although some sets have sold for over £100.
So far the 2018 £2 coins haven’t been released into circulation and whilst the 2019 Royal Shield 50p has been seen in circulation, we’re yet to hear if any of the other 2019 coins will turn up in our change.
Do you think the move towards a cashless society could be on the horizon, or are we still recovering from the surplus cash flow in 2017? Let us know in the comments below!
Secure the commemorative coins from 2017 for your collection!
Today you can own all 4 of the United Kingdom’s commemorative coins from 2017 with the Change Checker Commemorative Coin Pack, including the rare Sir Isaac Newton 50p and the Jane Austen and First World War Aviation £2 coins that can’t be found in circulation.
*** UPDATE 03.05.19 ***
This week, the UK Treasury confirmed that 1p and 2p coins will continue to be used “for years to come”.
A year after Chancellor Philip Hammond declared these lower denomination coins ‘obsolete’, their safety has now been secured.
There was much discussion regarding the future of 1p and 2p coins following the Treasury’s doubts over the validity of these coins, as well as the £50 note in the 2018 Spring Statement.
Now that the result of the review has been announced, what do you think about the decision and do you think the pennies should be dropped?
Following the 2018 Spring Statement, a spokesman for Theresa May said that there are no current plans to abolish the coins, however with the increased move towards digital payments, questions still remain as to whether it makes economic sense to continue producing these less frequently used coins and notes.
The Treasury consultation document revealed that The Royal Mint is currently issuing more than 500m 1p and 2p coins each year in order to replace those falling out of circulation.
In fact, six in ten UK 1p and 2p coins are only used once before being saved in a jar or thrown away!
Countries such as Canada, Australia, Brazil and Sweden have already scrapped lower denomination coins that are not in demand and it seems that the UK is also beginning to question the future of these coins as demand continues to fall. But how would you feel about removing 1p and 2p coins from circulation?
Only 15% of consumer spending in 2015 was accounted for by cash, with more and more people now turning to contactless and other digital payments – a trend which is forecast to become the most popular payment method in 2018.
On the other hand, the Treasury also suggested that cash is not obsolete. It’s estimated that 2.7 million people in the UK rely on cash and “It continues to play an important part in the lives of many people and businesses in the UK, whether as a budgeting tool or as a cheap and convenient method of payment”.
With regards to the £50 note, the Treasury says, “There is also a perception among some that £50 notes are used for money laundering, hidden economy activity, and tax evasion”. Despite rarely being used for “routine purchases”, there is still a demand for the £50 note overseas, alongside euros and dollars.
In our 2016 blog post, we asked Change Checkers if they thought it was time to scrap the penny and 53% of you believed we shouldn’t, as it is part of the British culture.
Has your view now changed and do you think we should make a move towards digital rather than cash payments?
Have your say by voting in our poll on Facebook:
Chris Boyce said, “We have had pennies since 785 AD. I believe it’s one of the oldest coins still being used today. English heritage is being lost everyday.. don’t let us loose the penny, 1233 years of history”.
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: www.changechecker.org/app
In a week when the brand new UK £10 bank note was been released, there has been much discussion about the future relevance of coins and notes in our society.
Does cash have a future in our society?
The vast majority of people living in the UK regularly make payments on their credit or debit cards and the number of people paying using technology on their phones is increasing rapidly.
At the same time, banks and major retailers are pushing for a move towards a cashless society, mainly due to the fact that payments made by ‘tap and go’ cards and mobile phones is significantly cheaper for them than handling cash.
According to The UK Cards Association, there are 108 million contactless cards in the UK and in April of 2017 there were 416 million transactions using contactless totaling £3.9 billion. That was a 147% increase from the previous year – the growth is staggering!
However, we are actually some way behind some countries in the EU. Take Sweden for example, last year only 20% of all in store transactions were made using cash.
In fact, in the country a number of retailers have banned cash payments all together.
In terms of overall value, payments using notes or coins in Sweden equated to just 1%.
Is this the end for coins and notes in the UK?
No, well not yet anyway. Retail analysts Mintel have revealed that the people of the UK are not in such a rush to get rid of their cash.
In a survey, Mintel found that only 28% of Women and 38% of Men would prefer a cashless society.
In particular, the older generation, aged 55 and above, are strongly opposed to the idea of losing cash as a means of payment. Just 20% said that they would be happy to move away from coins and notes.
So why the reluctance to change?
Firstly, there’s the issue surrounding security of card and phone payments; ‘tap and pay’ cards do not need a pin number. Instead, they have a tiny antenna that links with a till terminal through near-field communication, or NFC.
The technology means that a payment is taken if the card is placed on or hovered over the till terminal. However, consumer group Which? warned that a scanner held nearby can intercept this NFC data. It can read the card number and expiry date from the card, it said.
Its researchers tested ten cards – six debit and four credit – and found all of them had the security flaw.
It has also been reported that thieves can continue to use a ‘tap and go’ card for many months, even after it has been reported as stolen.
Secondly, there is likely a degree of scepticism within the older generation leading to a lack of trust towards new technology.
Is everybody in the UK opposed to a cashless society?
Interestingly, it is the younger generation, aged between 25-34, who are less worried about the idea of a cashless society.
Nearly half of those asked said they would embrace the shift towards more modern payment methods.
Could this be due to their increased exposure to technology compared to the older generation? Anybody under the age of 35 has grown up using mobile phones and has seen rapid developments in payment technology.
What does the future hold?
Some experts have suggested that the UK could move away from coins and notes within 10 years.
However, Patrick Ross, a senior financial services analyst for Mintel, suggests that this is greatly exaggerated.
“Many people still prefer using coins, while others simply like to have some cash with them just in case. Although card payments are almost universally accepted in urban areas, cash continues to play an important role in everyday life.”
At Change Checker we’re great advocates of cash, especially the many great commemorative coins that are released each year.
We’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on a cashless society. Let us know by taking part in our poll below.