Which coins are valid in the UK?
The official currency of the United Kingdom is the British pound sterling (£). One pound is worth 100 pence. In 2023, the following coins that were in use at the time and are probably still in circulation are:
- 1 Penny (1p)
- 2 Pence (2p)
- 5 Pence (5p)
- 10 Pence (10p)
- 20 Pence (20p)
- 50 Pence (50p)
- 1 Pound (£1) – Various designs
- 2 Pounds (£2) – Various designs
The list above shows the regular coin denominations in the UK; however, certain coins may have different designs throughout time, and commemorative or special edition coins may also be released. Because the UK doesn’t usually demonetize previous coins when new designs are released, it’s crucial to keep in mind that older versions of coins can still be in use.
You can get information on the acceptability of specific coin designs or denominations from your local banks or financial institutions if you’re in the UK and have doubts regarding the legitimacy of a particular coin. It’s also a good idea to speak with a coin specialist if you think a coin could be rare or valuable because certain coins have collector’s worth.
What is an old British coin called?
The denominations and historical usage of old British coins frequently lead to their distinctive names. The names of a few common ancient British coins are as follows:
- Farthing: At one-quarter of a penny in value, the farthing was the lowest denomination of British coinage. It was in operation up until 1960.
- Halfpenny: Up until 1984, the halfpenny was in use and was worth half of a penny.
- Penny: A popular British currency that is still in use today is the penny. Its value is one-hundredth of a pound.
- Threepence (Thruppence): There existed a three-penny coin that was called a “thruppenny bit.” Use of it lasted until 1971.
- Sixpence: A sixpence was worth six penny, and it was commonly referred to as a “tanner.” Up until 1980, it was still in use.
- Shilling: There were twelve pence in a shilling, which was known as a “bob.” Use of it lasted until 1971.
- Florin: There was a term for the florin, which was worth two shillings (or 24 pence): “two-bob bit.” It remained in use until 1993.
- Crown: A bigger coin, worth five shillings, was the crown. The crown coin is still made in collector’s and commemorative editions even though it is no longer used in regular transactions.
- Guinea: One pound and one shilling was the initial value of a gold coin known as a guinea. Although it is no longer in use, it is frequently connected to the acquisition of upscale goods and services.
The old British money denominations are reflected in these names. In 1971, the United Kingdom switched from pounds, shillings, and pence to the current pounds and pence system, adopting the decimal system. Many of these earlier coins are therefore no longer in use for regular transactions, though collectors may find value in them.
British coins are made to recognize and memorialize these important facets of British history and culture, and they frequently show a variety of well-known people, historical sites, and historical events. The following are some noteworthy instances of well-known causes, people, and ideas that have appeared on British coins:
- Monarchs and Royalty: To commemorate significant events like coronations, jubilees, and significant anniversaries, British coins have depicted a variety of British monarchs and members of the royal family, including Queen Elizabeth II, King George III, Queen Victoria, and Prince William.
- World War Commemorations: In recognition of the sacrifices made by the British military men and citizens during World Wars I and II, coins have been released to mark these events.
- Cultural Icons: Coins honoring notable figures from British culture—like Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, and William Shakespeare—for their contributions to the arts, sciences, and literature.
- Historical Events: A number of historical occurrences, such the Battle of Trafalgar and the Great Fire of London, have been honored on coins to symbolize their importance in British history.
- Social Causes: Certain significant social causes are commemorated on British coins, including the suffragette movement, which battled for women’s voting rights, and the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.
- Landmarks and Buildings: To honor the country’s architectural legacy, British monuments and architectural marvels including Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the Tower Bridge have been depicted on coins.
- Sports and Olympics: Coins honoring the spirit of sport and global unification have been struck to mark the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London in 2012.
- Innovations and Discoveries: British coins occasionally commemorate scientific breakthroughs and discoveries, like the discovery of DNA and Sir Isaac Newton’s contributions.
- Conservation and Environmental Causes: Recently, coins with images of animals and endangered species have been released to support environmental and conservation initiatives.
Coins honoring these well-known causes and figures are frequently released as collector’s items by the Royal Mint in the United Kingdom. Because of their historical and cultural value, these coins are prized by collectors and enthusiasts rather than being utilized in regular transactions. Over time, these coins’ themes may change to reflect the nation’s shifting objectives and interests.