1983 £1 Coin
Current Decimal Coinage of the UK
This is the 1983 One Pound Coin and since decimalisation on 15 February 1971, we have £1 = 100p, that is One Pound = 100 pence. (Prior to that the currency was more-or-less unchanged since Victorian days. While the Pound Sterling was the same, the breakdown was very different in the pre-Decimal era: One Pound = 20 shillings = 240 pennies).
All decimal coins carry the head of the monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. Inscriptions are in Latin and will contain various phrases such as Regina (Queen), Dei Gratia or D.G. (by the grace of God) and Fidei Defensor or F.D. (defender of the faith).
The reverse has many different designs, some change frequently and may show national, the regional variations or emblems of England (3 lions), Scotland (lion or thistle), Wales (dragon or leek) or Ireland (harp).
The Pound is still colloquially called a ‘quid’. In the early days of decimalisation we added the words ‘New Pence’ or ‘New Penny’ although since 1982 we no longer do this. Some coins have been reduced in size since their original launch.
The basic coins are:
One Penny: The least denomination coin currently in circulation. Copper (actually copper plated steel).
Two Pence: A larger copper coin.
Five Pence: a small cupro-nickel coin. Resized in 1990.
Ten Pence: cupro-nickel coin. Resized in 1992.
Twenty Pence: heptagonal (7-sided) cupro-nickel coin
Fifty Pence: larger heptagonal cupro-nickel coin. Resized in 1997. The reverse design changes frequently and some have become very collectable.
One Pound: made in nickel-brass and introduced in 1983 to replace the £1 banknote (as coins last longer than notes), although Scotland made £1 notes for a while after this. Diameter 22.5mm, weighs 9.5g. A new 12-sided bi-metallic one-pound coin was released in 2017 to counter forgeries (which were estimated to be as high as 1 in every 30 pound coins).
Two Pound: a bi-metallic coin introduced in 1998 (although the first are dated 1997). Many reverse designs are in circulation and they are very popular with collectors.
Half Penny: launched in 1971 but demonetised in 1984 and taken out of circulation when inflation made it near worthless.
Crown (or £5): not in circulation but it is legal tender. Crowns are released as commemorative issues at random times. Originally 25p, the crown was re-denominated to £5 in 1990.
The higher denomination values are covered by Banknotes: £5, £10, £20 and £50.