By Skyler Ash
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the modern British pound next year, the Royal Mint has announced a special collectible set of the iconic £1 coin.
The collection includes an original ‘round pound’ coin dated 1983 designed by Eric Sewell, a 12-sided £1 coin dated 2016 designed by David Pearce, and a £1 Series D Banknote that shows the evolution of the coin across the years, designed by Harry Eccleston. In addition, in 2023, a new reverse design of the £1 will be minted, featuring a design to celebrate Britain’s people and their cultures, designed by Kenyan artist Michael Armitage.
“There is something truly special about the £1,” said Rebecca Morgan, director of dollector services at The Royal Mint. “Its ancestor, the sovereign, is one of our collectors’ favourites and as the original maker of coins, The Royal Mint has had the pleasure of seeing the £1 evolve over the years.”
The pound has a rich history in the UK. What is said to be the first appearance of the pound was the Sovereign, which originated in 1489, when it was made of solid gold and worth 20 shillings. Throughout the years, the pound fluctuated in its value, and eventually the use of gold to make the coins was discontinued in the 1790s – the gold instead used to fund war efforts with France – and the £1 Banknote was created.
Centuries later in 1915, gold was no longer used in the production of coins, and £1 Banknotes were reissued. People were encouraged to use notes, as the gold coins still in circulation were needed for another war, this time with Germany.
The ‘round pound’ coin featured in the collection pays homage to the first ever modern pound as we know it today, introduced in 1983. Over 443 million round pounds were minted that year, and their faces were graced with the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom.
The 12-sided £1 in the collection was created in 2016, when 650 million coins were minted to celebrate its creation. The modern 12-sided coin is considered the most secure coin in circulation today due to a hidden security feature that prevents counterfeiting.
“The £1 coin is a symbol of Britain that is recognised around the world as well as being one of the nation’s most iconic coins. This collectable set captures three different iterations of the £1 and showcases its fascinating history and evolution over the years,” said Morgan.
The set includes a booklet of the coin’s history dating from the Tudor period to modern day.