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Moneysupermarket - The Story of the Pound

The pound coin turns 30 years old this month.
Moneysupermarket.com takes a look back at the story of the pound,
from its 80s origins to the present day.

Scroll Here Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound

1983

It's the 80s, the decade of Margaret Thatcher, blue mascara and only four TV channels. Bonnie Tyler was experiencing a Total Eclipse of the Heart, CITV had just been launched and Terry Pratchett published the very first Discworld novel. Inflation had reduced the value of the British pound, so a new coin was produced to replace the pound note...

VS
2013

Fast forward 30 years, and Britain is recovering from the excitement of the Jubilee, London 2012 and are waiting with bated breath for the birth of the Royal Baby and the chance of another Bank Holiday. Kids are dancing to Rihanna rather than Rick Astley and everyone is Harlem Shaking. And the pound coin? Well, it's still around...


But What Would One Pound Buy You?

THEN

NOW

Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound
1.4
Pints
0.3
Pints
Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound
5.6
Bricks
12.5
Bricks
Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound
5.9
Bars
1.7
Bars
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34
Minutes
3
Minutes
Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound
29
Miles
34
Miles
Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound
6
Hours
55
Minutes

The Difference in Price between 1983 and 2013

The graph below illustrates how much the cost of everyday items has increased in the last thirty years


Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound

Coin Designs Over the Years

Click the coins below to find out more about the design

Year of Issue

1983, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008

Design

The Royal Arms, representing the United Kingdom

Inscription

DECUS ET TUTAMEN
(An Ornament and A Safeguard)

Designed By

Eric Sewell

Did you Know

The designer of the Queen's portrait used on the first pound coins, Arnold Machin, also designed the portrait of the Queen which has appeared on all British definitive postage stamps since 1967.

Year of Issue

1984, 1989

Design

A Thistle and a Royal Diadem, representing Scotland

Inscription

NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT
(No One Provokes Me With Impunity)

Designed By

Leslie Durbin

Did you Know

The thistle was adopted as the emblem of Scotland during the reign of Alexander III. Legend has it that an invading army, who had taken their footwear off in order to spring a surprise attack, accidentally alerted the sleeping Scots to their presence when a soldier stepped on a thistle - allowing the Scottish clansmen to claim victory.

Year of Issue

1985, 1990

Design

A Leek and a Royal Diadem, representing Wales

Inscription

PLEIDIOL WYF I'M GWLAD
(True I am To My Country)

Designed By

Leslie Durbin

Did you Know

It is unknown the exact origins of the leek as the Welsh national symbol, but it is believed that Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, ordered his soldiers to identify themselves by wearing the vegetable on their helmets during a battle against the Saxons which took place in a leek field.

Year of Issue

1986, 1991

Design

A Flax Plant and a Royal Diadem, representing Northern Ireland

Inscription

DECUS ET TUTAMEN
(An Ornament and A Safeguard)

Designed By

Leslie Durbin

Did you Know

The flax plant is chosen as a symbol of Northern Ireland due to its role in the successful linen industry of the area.

Year of Issue

1987, 1992

Design

An Oak Tree and a Royal Diadem, representing England

Inscription

DECUS ET TUTAMEN
(An Ornament and A Safeguard)

Designed By

Leslie Durbin

Did you Know

The oak tree is the national tree of Germany, Estonia, France, Moldova, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the US, Wales, Galicia, Bulgaria and Serbia as well as England.

Year of Issue

1988

Design

Shield of the Royal Arms, representing the United Kingdom

Inscription

DECUS ET TUTAMEN
(An Ornament and A Safeguard)

Designed By

Derek Gorringe

Did you Know

The inscription on many pound coins, such as this one, is taken from a poem by Virgil, The Aeneid. The Aeneid was commissioned by the first emperor of Rome, Augustus Caesar, and tells the tale of Aeneas, the legendary ascendant of Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome. The line 'viro decus et tutamen in armis' describes a breast-plate interwoven with gold.

Year of Issue

1994, 1999

Design

Lion Rampant, representing Scotland

Inscription

NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT
(No One Provokes Me With Impunity)

Designed By

Norman Sillman

Did you Know

The inscription on coins representing Scotland is also the motto of The Order of The Thistle, a Royal order set up by James V in the 16th Century and revived by James VII in 1687. The current version consists of the Sovereign and sixteen Knights and Ladies; Prince William was awarded membership in 2012.

Year of Issue

1995, 2000

Design

Dragon Passant, representing Wales

Inscription

PLEIDIOL WYF I'M GWLAD
(True I Am To My Country)

Designed By

Norman Sillman

Did you Know

The dragon has been a symbol of Wales for many centuries, dating back to the Roman invasion, and features on the Welsh flag. It is one of only three national flags to display a mythological creature.

Year of Issue

1996, 2001

Design

A Celtic Cross with a Pimpernel Flower, surrounded by an Ancient Torc, representing Northern Ireland

Inscription

DECUS ET TUTAMEN
(An Ornament and A Safeguard)

Designed By

Norman Sillman

Did you Know

The pimpernel flower is also the emblem of fictional hero The Scarlet Pimpernel, who inspired the characters of Zorro and Batman.

Year of Issue

1997, 2002

Design

Three Lions Passant, representing England

Inscription

DECUS ET TUTAMEN
(An Ornament and A Safeguard)

Designed By

Norman Sillman

Did you Know

The song 'Three Lions' was rereleased in 1998 and 2002 for the World Cup - the same year that this coin design was also reproduced.

Year of Issue

2004

Design

A representation of the Forth Railway Bridge, inside a border of railway tracks

Inscription

Decorative pattern symbolising
bridges and pathways

Designed By

Edwina Ellis

Did you Know

The Forth Bridge, a cantilever railway bridge which connects Edinburgh with Fife, was the first major structure in Britain to be constructed of steel.

Year of Issue

2005

Design

A representation of the Menai Suspension Bridge, inside a border of railings and stanchions

Inscription

Decorative pattern symbolising
bridges and pathways

Designed By

Edwina Ellis

Did you Know

The Menai Suspension Bridge connects the island of Anglesey and the mainland of Wales, and was the first modern suspension bridge in the world.

Year of Issue

2006

Design

A representation of the Egyptian Arch Railway Bridge, inside a border of railway station canopy dags

Inscription

Decorative pattern symbolising
bridges and pathways

Designed By

Edwina Ellis

Did you Know

All four of the bridge design pound coins were designed by Edwina Ellis, who won a Royal Mint design competition. The Egyptian Arch Railway Bridge is located in Northern Ireland.

Year of Issue

2007

Design

A representation of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, inside a border of struts

Inscription

Decorative pattern symbolising
bridges and pathways

Designed By

Edwina Ellis

Did you Know

The Gateshead Millennium Bridge is a pedestrian and cyclist tilt bridge across the River Tyne. It was lifted into place in one piece by one of the world's largest floating cranes, the Asian Hercules II.

Year of Issue

2008, 2012

Design

Shield of the Royal Arms, representing the United Kingdom

Inscription

DECUS ET TUTAMEN
(An Ornament and A Safeguard)

Designed By

Matthew Dent

Did you Know

When placed together, the back of the one penny, two pence, five pence, ten pence, twenty pence and fifty pence pieces also released in these years will create the design on the pound coin.

Year of Issue

2010

Design

A depiction of the official badges of the capital cities of the UK, with the badge of Belfast as the principal focus

Inscription

PRO TANTO QUID
RETRIBUAMUS (What Shall
We Give In Return For So Much)

Designed By

Stuart Devlin

Did you Know

The infamous RMS Titanic was built in Belfast.

Year of Issue

2010

Design

A depiction of the official badges of the capital cities of the UK, with the badge of London as the principal focus

Inscription

DOMINE DIRIGE NOS
(Lord Direct Us)

Designed By

Stuart Devlin

Did you Know

London has now hosted the Olympics three times, in 1908, 1948 and 2012. It is the first city in the world to do so.

Year of Issue

2011

Design

A depiction of the official badges of the capital cities of the UK, with the badge of Cardiff as the principal focus

Inscription

Y DDRAIG GOCH DDYRY CYCHWYN (The Red Dragon
Shall Lead)

Designed By

Stuart Devlin

Did you Know

Cardiff is home to the world's oldest record store, Spillers, which opened its doors in 1894.

Year of Issue

2011

Design

A depiction of the official badges of the capital cities of the UK, with the badge of Edinburgh as the principal focus

Inscription

NISI DOMINUS FRUSTRA
(It Is Vain Without The Lord)

Designed By

Stuart Devlin

Did you Know

JK Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book, The Philosopher's Stone, in an Edinburgh cafe.


2,084,692,054

One pound coins have been created by The National Mint since 1983

A £1
note in constant
use lasted nine months
on average, but a coin
can last as long as
FORTY
years

Dirty Money

It is estimated that as many as 1 in 35
pound coins in circulation are counterfeit

Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound
Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound
Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound
240

SILVER
PENNIES

were exactly one pound in weight
in Anglo-Saxon Britain. This later
evolved into the modern British
currency, the pound sterling.

A pound coin is 22.5mm in diameter,
3.15mm thick and weighs 9.5g

Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound
Coins in Production

The amount of coins released every year can vary
dramatically - in 1983 443,053,510 pound coins were
made (enough to buy the country of Dominica)
but in 2008 only 3,910,000 coins
were produced

The pound coin is the oldest currency still in use in the world

and is actually older than Great Britain (the unification of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Island) itself!


THE BEST THINGS BOUGHT FOR A POUND

(or just under!)

Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound Hover
Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound Hover
Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound Hover
Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound Hover
Moneysupermarket.com - The Story of the Pound Hover

Perrott's Folly

This iconic tower in Birmingham, said to have inspired J.R.R Tolkien in writing The Lord of the Rings, was sold for £1 in January 2013

The Independent

In 2010, The Independent was sold to Russian billionaire, and owner of the London Evening Standard, Alexander Lebedev for the exact cost of one newspaper

The Terminator franchise

James Cameron sold the rights to the Terminator Franchise for only $1, in exchange for the right to direct the first movie

Chelsea FC

Ken Bates bought Chelsea FC for £1 in 1982. He also took on the Second Division side's £1.5million worth of debt

Lotus Esprit Turbo

After Kerrang DJ Tim Shaw announced live on air that we would leave his wife and kids for glamour model Jodie Marsh, his wife sold his Lotus Esprit Turbo, worth £25,000, on eBay for just 50p


David Beckham - The Story of the Pound

In the time you have
spent on this page

David Beckham has earned...

0000
Pounds

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