As we celebrate the arrival of the New Year, at Change Checker HQ we’re also celebrating the arrival of new coins – The 2021 Annual Coins!
We can’t wait to reveal to you the new 2021 coin designs and I’m sure you’ll agree that there are some really fantastic coins to look forward to.
So let’s kick off the year with the coins we’ve all been waiting for, the 2021 Annual Set…
Decimal Day 50p
This year marks the 50th anniversary since Decimal Day on the 15th February 1971 and to celebrate the biggest change our UK coinage has ever seen, a brand new 50p has been issued.
In commemoration of the anniversary, this brand new 50p, designed by Dominique Evans, features the original Machin portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, which featured on the very first 50p back in 1969.
The 50p has become the most-collected and best-loved decimal coin since its introduction and given the significance of this anniversary, I’m sure this 50p will prove very popular with collectors.
John Logie Baird 50p
It’s hard to imagine life without television but back in the 1920s, it was a complete unknown.
That was until John Logie Baird successfully produced televised objects in outline in 1924, transmitted recognizable human faces in 1925, and demonstrated the televising of moving objects in 1926. This was the very first-time that television had become a reality and it shaped the world that we live in today.
This brand new 50p, designed by Osborne Ross, celebrates the life and works of this remarkable British inventor, electrical engineer, and innovator.
H. G. Wells £2
Herbert George Wells was an English novelist, journalist, sociologist, and historian best known for his science fiction novels The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds.
In the year marking the 75th anniversary of his death, this brand new £2 coin has been issued, feature a design which pays a fitting tribute to his famous novels, with a depiction of the Invisible Man and a Martian encircled by clock numerals.
The inscription also reads one of his famous quotes, “GOOD BOOKS ARE THE WAREHOUSES OF IDEAS”. We love Chris Costello’s design and we hope you do too!
Sir Walter Scott £2
2021 commemorates the 250th anniversary of the birth of novelist, historian, and poet, Sir Walter Scott.
He is considered both the inventor and the greatest practitioner of the historical novel.
The coin, designed by Stephen Raw, features the text: “SIR WALTER SCOTT NOVELIST HISTORIAN POET” encircled by the inscription “250TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS BIRTH” and the year date.
Excitingly, this coin also features the edge inscription, “THE WILL TO DO, THE SOUL TO DARE”, a quote from his epic poem, ‘Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field’.
Queens Elizabeth II 95th Birthday £5
This year, our Queen will celebrate her 95th birthday and to celebrate, The Royal Mint has issued this £5 coin.
The coin features a design by Timothy Noad, of the Royal Cypher and the inscription “MY HEART AND MY DEVOTION” alongside the date of the Queen’s birth and the year 2021.
In 2016, a £5 coin was issued to celebrate Her Majesty’s 90th Birthday and it proved incredibly popular with collectors, as she became the first British monarch to reach their 90th birthday. As she reaches another significant milestone, I’m sure this celebratory coin will prove just as, if not more popular!
The announcement of the new annual coins is always an exciting moment for Change Checkers, particularly when the anniversaries are as significant as these.
Do you have a favourite coin from the set? Let us know in the comments below!
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Coin collecting is a hobby that spans across generations, but did you know it also spans across centuries?
In this blog, we talk you through the different phases of coin collecting!
The Hobby of Kings
Historically, only very wealthy people or royals could afford to collect coins rather than use them as a daily necessity.
This high-level collecting peaked in about the 14th century and there is evidence that coins were even collected in ancient times!
In the late 18th century, at the time of the industrial revolution, factories, mills, and other private enterprises were set up, opening up a new avenue of wealth creation. This meant more people were in possession of a disposable income and many became interested in coins and began collecting them as a hobby.
This demand was noticed by Matthew Boulton and James Watt, who began making specially designed coins in various metal specifications, to sell on.
In 1887, ahead of the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria, The Royal Mint produced commemorative gold and silver florins for the first time, a new Double Florin denomination featuring a Jubilee bust of the Queen.
This was to start a tradition of producing ‘special’ coins to mark particular historic or royal anniversaries that carried through to the 20th century.
Decimalisation and Coin Collecting
In 1971, the UK switched its currency to a decimal based system from the previously used system dating back to ancient Roman times.
Whilst a few old coins remained legal tender, it saw the phase out of others, including the large penny, which hadn’t changed much since 1860!
This restructure inspired a world-wide interest in coins! Mints all over the world started producing coins and sets to issue to the public in a way that had never been seen before.
With an increasing of exciting numismatic issues, came an influx of coin stories, each one hoping to shed light on a ‘rare’ or ‘error coin’ that could be found in your change.
Fast-forward to 2020 and the hobby of checking your change for that special coin is still alive with plenty of interesting coin stories still surfacing!
Collecting to Sell
As the opportunity for people to both collect and sell coins increased (e.g. with the introduction of secondary market sites, etc.) so did the volume of people collecting.
All too often we are bombarded by press articles citing eBay listings of ‘rare’ or ‘error’ coins and, naturally, interest is piqued when we hear about the coin we’ve just come across in our change ‘selling for thousands’. These stories often encourage people to collect and hoard coins, purely in the hope of making a ‘buck’ when selling them on.
Unfortunately though, these tabloid articles can often sensationalise the actual value of the coin and when taken out of context we can forget that anyone can list anything they like on eBay, for whatever price they choose, regardless of whether or not the item is genuinely worth it. To avoid the pitfalls of buying coins eBay, Change Checker created our top 5 eBay buying tips.
However, many collectors do continue to check their change in the hope of finding coins to add to their collections just for the pleasure of the hobby, or even to build a meaningful gift or heirloom to a loved one.
As we navigate a climate where less cash is being used and therefore the opportunity of finding those special coins in our change is reduced, could this push us into a fifth phase of coin collecting?
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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
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.
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.
Of these coins, the Northern Ireland Flax has the lowest circulating mintage of 48,853,076.
1988 Royal Coat of Arms 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!)
The second series of £1 coin designs, by Norman Sillman used heraldic emblems to represent the United Kingdom and its four constituent countries.
The Scottish Lion Rampant has the lowest mintage in this series of £1 coins, with 29,752,525 entering circulation.
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
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.
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!
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
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
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
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!