In March 2015, the UK treasury confirmed that 1p and 2p coins will continue to be used “for years to come”. However, it has recently been suggested that due to a cash usage slump, The Royal Mint is set to go ten years without producing anymore 2p coins!

But it’s not just our coppers at stake.. The same applies for £2 coins, as it has been revealed that in March 2020, The Royal Mint was sitting on 26 times as many £2 coins as it needed to.

According to the National Audit Office’s report into Britain’s cash usage, the number of coins produced each year by The Royal Mint fell by nearly two-thirds between 2011 and this year.

Less than a quarter of all payments were made by cash last year, according to figures released in June by the banking trade body UK Finance.

It’s fair to assume that even less cash has been used since the start of 2020 due to the coronavirus leading to fears of cash usage and a move to more contactless payments.

However, The Mint told Britain’s spending watchdog that there had been ‘sharp increases in demand’ for change ‘as many businesses and consumers hoarded coins in the early months of the pandemic’.

As a result, the Treasury ordered The Royal Mint to strike 60 million additional 1p coins over the summer to meet this new demand. So make sure you keep your eyes peeled for these new 1p coins, especially if you’re collecting dateruns!

The Royal Mint are required to forecast the demand for small change to ensure it keeps enough coins in stock without striking too few or too many, but with significant fluctuations in consumer behaviour in recent years, this has no doubt been a challenge.

Round Pounds

In 2017, after the introduction of the new 12-sided £1, The Royal Mint saw a swell in its coin stocks as people rushed to return their round pounds, ending up returning loose change of other denominations at the same time.

Source: National Audit Office

According to the NAO, at the end of March, The Royal Mint aimed to hold 700,000 £2 coins, but actually held 18.7million. And rather than holding its target of 15.9million 2p coins, it held 127.1million.

As a result, in March of this year, The NAO said The Royal Mint had estimated ‘it did not envisage producing any new 2p or £2 coins for at least 10 years’.

We haven’t seen a £2 enter circulation since 2016, so, could this mean that those 2016 dated £2s and 2017 dated 2p coins are the last of their kind? We certainly hope not.

But what about our coppers? Do you think we still need 1p and 2p coins in circulation? Have your say by voting in our poll on Facebook.

And what could the future for Britain’s definitive coinage be if the 1p and 2p coins were removed? Currently the definitive coins from 1p to 50p come together to create The Royal Shield, but with two key pieces missing, could this lead to a complete re-design?

We’d love to hear what you think about the use of cash vs card and the demand for our smaller denominations, so leave us a comment below to share your thoughts.


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

January 2019 eBay Tracker Update

Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app

*** 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