Change Checkers are not ready to say farewell to the British Penny…

Last week, we asked Change Checkers if it was time to scrap the British penny.


The penny has been in existence for 1,200 years!

The majority of you said no!

Although it’s fair to say that pennies are rarely used to buy anything anymore, it looks like the sentimental value of the penny is important to us Brits.


53% of Change Checker want to keep the penny.

53% of Change Checkers are in favour of keeping the penny and there are a host of economic, pragmatic, charitable and nostalgic reasons in defence of the penny. 

In 1992, all 1p and 2p coins intended for circulation changed from bronze to copper plated steel as a result of the rising price of base metals. Although the Royal Mint does not disclose how much it costs to produce pennies, it is thought that it costs significantly less than face value to produce. The changes to the metal content in 1992 has been key to the future of the penny and allowed it to live on.

Coins are tangible and people do enjoy using them. Most transactions below £10 are still done in cash and it’s likely that it will be a while before it is common for small transactions to be done digitally.

Britain’s traditions run deep and the 1 penny coin is an expression of this tradition. It will be a very sad day if and when they British penny ceases to exist.

Is it time to scrap the Penny?

Pennies have been around in Britain for over a thousand years, but is it now time for the penny to be dropped?

Mark Carney, Bank of England Governor,  thinks it is inevitable that Britain will follow countries such as Canada, New Zealand and Australia and scrap the penny.

As Governor of the Bank of Canada he oversaw the withdrawal of the 1p coin equivalent and claims the process was really successful among Canadians. 

Not only was the 1 cent coin unmissed by Canadians and reduced the cost of transactions for both businesses and the Government, a massive $11m was saved in the first year by discontinuing the production of the coins.

But are we ready to say farewell to the British Penny?


The Penny has been around for over 1,200 years.

The Penny was one of the earliest British coins, first minted in the 8th century AD.

The silver penny became universal throughout Britain in 959 and until the reign of Henry III in 1234 it was one of the only denominations minted.

The Penny even survived decimalisation in 1971 making it one of the only denominations that was kept during the changeover.

Although it’s fair to say that pennies are rarely used to buy anything, it’s thought that an estimated 11.2 billion pennies are currently in circulation. 

What about Ireland’s ‘Rounding’ Initiative?

In October 2015, Ireland lauched its ‘Rounding’ initiative. It aimed to reduce the use of 1 cent and 2 cent coins by rounding the total amount of any bill paid by cash on a voluntary basis up or down to the nearest 5 cent mark.

So far, 126 million coins have been taken out of circulation. So could Britain follow in the same footsteps as Ireland?

As with any coin, the loss of the penny would be a blow to coin collectors everywhere.  But we must remember that these changes are part of what makes coin collecting so interesting.  Designs change, new coins come into existence and some coins will inevitably disappear.

So should we get rid of the Penny? Let us know in our poll:

Who needs the 2 pence piece?

A survey by Gocompare recently found that as many as 21% of Britons would like to scrap copper coins, leaving the 5p as the lowest circulating denomination.

Coppers 2

Coppers are becoming unpopular

In fact, out of the 2,000 adults who participated in the survey, 68% claimed they prefer to empty their pockets of copper coins rather than carry them around or spend them.

And who can blame them?

To all intents and purposes, 1p and 2p coins are worthless because you can’t use them to buy anything.

Matt Sanders of Gocompare commented: “Our survey suggests that for many people, copper coins have had their day. In a world of higher prices, plastic cards and contactless payments, copper coins seem increasingly worthless and irrelevant.”

Other developed nations such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada have all taken steps to remove their minimum denominations, so why has Britain not yet followed suit?

Retaining the penny makes some sense because of the tendency for businesses to use a 99 pence pricing tactic. But why do we need a 2p coin? Would it be a problem if we were never to see it again?

Shield jogsaw missing 2p

Scrapping either the 1p or 2p would break up the Royal Arms Shield

The missing jigsaw piece

The answer is: probably not.

However, it would pose a problem for collectors.

The famous Royal Arms Shield jigsaw puzzle which has been a quirky design feature of British coins since 2008 uses the reverse design of every coin from the penny to the 50p – including the 2p.

Could this be the reason that the Royal Mint have been reluctant to scrap it?

What do you think should happen? Have your say in our poll below: