The Royal Mint have released 1.4 billion brand new £1 coins into circulation in what is the single biggest change to the UK’s coinage since decimalisation.
It is, of course, a much anticipated day for coin collectors keen to own one of the first coins. But with enough £1 coins entering circulation for everyone in the population to own more than £20’s worth, the standard circulation coin will be two a penny – well at least two a pound.
That’s why serious collectors are looking to mark this numismatic milestone with something a bit more special – one of the collector editions being released by The Royal Mint, several of which have edition limits that seem certain to sell out quickly.
Here’s your guide to the most collectable versions of the new 12-sided £1 coin.
Perfect Quality. Very Affordable.
Of course, quality is everything for coin collectors, which is why The Royal Mint is producing a collector quality base metal version of the new 12-sided £1 coin. Unlike the coins you’ll find in your change, these pieces have been specially struck and carefully handled to ensure that they remain free of the scratches and chips found amongst their circulating counterparts.
Known as Brilliant Uncirculated (BU), they are available for £9.99 in a Royal Mint Presentation Pack or £5.99 in a Change Checker Certified Brilliant Uncirculated Collector Card.
Silver Proof – the Collector’s Favourite
Perhaps the most important of the Collector Editions is the Silver Proof £1 Coin. Silver Proof coins have all of the qualities that collectors really desire.
- Precious metal content – struck from 925/1000 Sterling Silver with 24 Carat Gold-plate to create the outer ring.
- Strict Limited Edition – just 25,000 individual coins. That’s HALF the number of Silver Proof £1 Coins that were issued for the original Round £1 Coin in 1983.
- Perfect Proof Finish – even better than Brilliant Uncirculated, Proof coins are struck several times using specially polished dies to create a flawless finish with a perfect mirrored background and frosted design. The ultimate in coin quality.
Double the thickness. More than five times as limited.
For silver collectors looking for something even more collectable, the double thickness Piedfort edition is likely to be the first of the £1 sell-outs.
That’s because collectors not only own a rare double-thickness new £1 coin but there are just 4,5000 of them – less than five times the maximum mintage for the standard £1 silver proof.
The Gold Standard
For the ultimate limited edition, you can own the Gold Proof £1 Coin. Struck from 22 Carat Gold with a red gold outer ring, just 2,017 single coins have been authorised for issue.
Due to its very limited nature, we will contact you directly to discuss owning the Gold Proof £1 Coin if you are interested – please complete the form below.
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If you’re interested…
You can own one of the special Collector Edition 12-Sided £1 Coins today, click here to view the full range.
I expect that, like me, you were brought up to “check your change”. But it has never meant more than now.
Last year, the Royal Mint launched twenty-nine 50p coins into circulation, one for each of the Olympic disciplines. The result: a nation suddenly keen to check the coins in their pocket, hoping to build a complete collection.
In 20 years in the coin business, it was the very first time I had seen people of all ages genuinely interested by the coins in their change.
But the story should not stop with the Olympic 50p coins.
In fact the Royal Mint has been varying £1 coin designs since the coin was very first issued 30 years ago. Remarkably the 50p first saw a commemorative design in 1973, before they became a regular feature of the UK’s coinage during the 1990s. Similarly, £2 coins were used for commemorative coins as early as 1986, well before the current bi-metallic coin, which went into circulation in 1997, with its first commemorative design being released in 1999 for the Rugby World Cup.
The only collection that will cost you nothing
Of course the joy of change collecting is that it is totally free. Simply keep an eye on the coins in your change and very quickly you’ll own an historic collection of some the UK’s finest coin designs.
But now it is even easier to collect the coins in your pocket with the launch of www.changechecker.org. This completely FREE site is available for mobiles, tablets and PC to help you collect your pocket change wherever you are.
Simply identify your coin by denomination and year to keep track of whether you already own it or not. Plus, if it’s a spare, you can quickly and easily find someone to swap your coin with. All without spending a penny (or any other denomination come to that).
Discover more about Change Checker with your 60 second guide.
Whether routing through our purses, pockets or piggy banks, the one coin we’re always pleased to see is the £1. Incredibly, despite our reliance on plastic, phone payments and online banking, the £1 coin still plays a part in our daily lives, just as it did 30 years ago.
Why do most of us like it so much?
Introduced on 21st April 1983, the new £1 coin was an instant hit (although the Iron Lady herself, then PM, was said to dislike it). Big, bright and reassuringly chunky, it was built to last a lot longer than the paper pound note. A whole 40 years compared to a paltry nine months. It was also considered more practical for supermarket trolleys, parking meters and vending machines.
Not the real deal
Today there are an estimated one and a half billion £1 coins in circulation in the UK, according to The Royal Mint who struck them all. True to their word, original 1983 coins still turn up regularly in our change. On the down side, they’re easy to fake. It’s estimated that as many as 1 in every 35 are counterfeits.
Less for your money
During the last thirty years, the coin itself has had no less than 21 new reverse designs and 3 different portraits of the Queen. What it can actually buy you has also changed over time. According to the Office for National Statistics, a loaf of bread cost on average 38p in 1983. Thirty years later, that same loaf costs over three times as much. A pint of milk that was 21p back in ’83 has now more than doubled to 46p.
There have been changes to the way people pay for their shopping too. According to figures from the Payments Council, in the 1980s, cash accounted for 86% of payments in the UK, but by 2011 this had dropped to just 55%.
Whether the £1 coin will still be with us in another 30 years remains to be seen. For the time being though, it looks set to stay – a true British numismatics treasure.