£18.9bn worth of paper banknotes and round pounds remain in circulation, with over 113 million of these being £5 notes! Despite it being nearly five years since the paper £5 note lost its legal tender status*, it seems people are holding on them.
In fact, you might just have one in your pocket/wallet/down the back of the sofa right now!
Whilst the paper £10 and £5 notes have been withdrawn from circulation, the £20 and £50 paper banknotes will hold their legal tender status until 30 September 2022.
According to the Bank of England, 775 million paper banknotes remain in circulation:
- Paper £5 notes in circulation: 113 million
- Paper £10 notes in circulation: 73 million
- Paper £20 notes in circulation: 360 million
- Paper £50 notes in circulation: 209 million
That’s a lot of banknotes!
*Whilst the paper £5 and £20 notes are no longer legal tender, they will always be exchanged by the Bank of England for their face value.
There are also supposedly £105m of old round pound coins in circulation, according to the Royal Mint.
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, in a bid to crack down on counterfeiting.
It lost its legal tender status at midnight on 15 October 2017 and the Royal Mint asked the public to return their round pounds as they phased in the new 12-sided coin.
However, out of 1.6 billion round pounds to be returned, about 1.45 million were counterfeits!
The UK’s 12-sided £1 coin is described by the Royal Mint as the ‘most secure in the world’, with a string of anti-counterfeiting details. Find out more about the security details of this coin here!
Round pounds can still be deposited at high street banks – but can no longer be spent in shops.
Have you held on to your round pounds or paper notes? Let us know in the comments below!
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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.