For the first time since 2017, 1p coins were back in production last year, with the latest mintage figures revealing that 88,071,910 pennies entered circulation in 2020.
Previously on our blog we’ve posed the question, ‘What is the future for 1p and 2p coins?’ as the Treasury has doubted the validity of the smaller denominations.
However, it seems that during the covid pandemic, and particularly in lockdown, a pattern of cash hoarding has resulted in less loose change being circulated.
In fact, banks have recently been calling on people to donate any unused change to charities, as they have felt the impact of the pandemic on fundraising.
Demand for 1p coins increases
Earlier this week, the latest mintages figures were revealed for 2020 coins and it seems that the demand for 1p coins has now increased, as The Royal Mint have produced over 88 million of them for circulation last year.
Whilst this doesn’t quite reach the heights of 2016 when almost 250,000,000 1p coins were minted for circulation, it is still an improvement on the 2p and £2 coins which did not enter circulation at all last year.
The UK’s very first decimal 1p coin was minted in 1971 and since then more than 28 billion of the coins have been produced by The Royal Mint.
The biggest influx came at the turn of the millennium, when over a billion coins were produced were produced in the year 2000.
Could the rise of contactless payments kill cash?
Overall, it does appear that the general demand for cash may be falling, partly due of the rise of cashless payments and contactless cards.
A spokesperson from The Royal Mint said: “The volume and variety of coins which enter circulation is determined by demand from UK banks and Post Offices. When demand rises The Royal Mint consults with HM Treasury before manufacturing more coins.”
Currently, there are no plans to produce new £2 or 2p coins for circulation over the next 10 years, as The Royal Mint are sitting on 26 times as many £2 coins as it needs to.
But, as we covid affects our use of cash and leads to hoarding, we are already seeing greater demand for smaller denominations, as demonstrated by the production of the 2020 dated 1p coins.
Have you found yourself holding on to more small change during the pandemic and what are your thoughts on the use of cash vs contactless? Let us know in the comments below!
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