Penny (British decimal coin)
|Value||1 penny sterling|
|Thickness||(Bronze) 1.52 mm
(Steel) 1.65 mm
Copper-plated steel (1992–)
|Years of minting||1971–present|
|Design||Queen Elizabeth II|
|Design||Segment of the Royal Shield|
The British decimal one penny (1p) coin, produced by the Royal Mint, was issued on 15 February 1971, the day the British currency was decimalised. In practice, it had been available from banks in bags of £1 for some weeks previously. The coin, known at first as a "new penny", was initially minted from bronze, but since 1992 it has been minted in copper-plated steel. As this is less dense than bronze, post-1992 coins have been slightly thicker, as well as becoming magnetic. The coin weighs 3.56 grams (approximately one eighth of an ounce) and has a diameter of 20.3 millimetres.
One penny and two pence coins are legal tender only up to the sum of 20p; this means that it is permissible to refuse payment of sums greater than this amount in 1p and 2p coins in order to settle a debt.
As of 31 March 2013 there were an estimated 11,293 million 1p coins in circulation.
Soaring copper prices in the mid-2000s caused the value of the copper in the pre-1992 coins (which are 97% copper) to exceed the coins' face value. For example, in May 2006, the intrinsic metal value of a pre-1992 1p coin was about 1.5 pence. During 2008, the value of copper fell dramatically from these peaks.
The original reverse of the coin, designed by Christopher Ironside, and used from 1971 to 2008, is a crowned portcullis with chains (an adaptation of the Badge of Henry VII which is now the Badge of the Palace of Westminster), with the numeral "1" written below the portcullis, and either NEW PENNY (1971–1981) or ONE PENNY (1982–2008) above the portcullis.
To date, three different obverses have been used. In all cases, the inscription is ELIZABETH II D.G.REG.F.D. year. In the original design both sides of the coin are encircled by dots, a common feature on coins, referred to in numismatics as beading.
The words NEW PENNY were used up until 1981. From 1982 the inscription changed to ONE PENNY.
This version was minted in bronze.
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This version was minted in bronze until 1992. From 1992 copper plated steel has been used.
In August 2005 the Royal Mint launched a competition to find new reverse designs for all circulating coins apart from the £2 coin. The winner, announced in April 2008, was Matthew Dent, whose designs were gradually introduced into the circulating British coinage from mid-2008. The designs for the 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p and 50p coins depict sections of the Royal Shield that form the whole shield when placed together. The shield in its entirety is featured on the £1 coin. The 1p coin depicts the left section between the first and third quarter of the shield, representing England and Northern Ireland. The coin's obverse remains largely unchanged, but the beading (the ring of dots around the coin's circumference), which no longer features on the coin's reverse, has also been removed from the obverse.
Machin portrait; Bronze composition
- 1971 ~ 1,521,666,250
- 1972 ~ In proof sets only
- 1973 ~ 280,196,000
- 1974 ~ 330,892,000
- 1975 ~ 221,604,000
- 1976 ~ 300,160,000
- 1977 ~ 285,430,000
- 1978 ~ 292,770,000
- 1979 ~ 459,000,000
- 1980 ~ 416,304,000
- 1981 ~ 301,800,000
- 1982 ~ 100,292,000
- 1983 ~ 243,002,000
- 1984 ~ 154,759,625
- 1985 ~ 200,605,245
- 1986 ~ 369,989,130
- 1987 ~ 499,946,000
- 1988 ~ 793,492,000
- 1989 ~ 658,142,000
- 1990 ~ 529,047,500
- 1991 ~ 206,457,600
composition changed to copper-plated steel
- 1992 ~ 253,867,000
- 1993 ~ 602,590,000
- 1994 ~ 843,834,000
- 1995 ~ 303,314,000
- 1996 ~ 723,840,060
- 1997 ~ 396,874,000
- 1998 ~ 739,770,000
- 1999 ~ 891,392,000
- 2000 ~ 1,060,364,000
- 2001 ~ 928,802,000
- 2002 ~ 601,446,000
- 2003 ~ 539,436,000
- 2004 ~ 739,764,000
- 2005 ~ 378,752,000
- 2006 ~ 524,605,000
- 2007 ~ 548,002,000
- 2008 ~ 180,600,000 (Ironside reverse)
- 2008 ~ 507,952,000 (Dent reverse hereafter)
- 2009 ~ 556,412,800
- 2010 ~ 609,603,000
- 2011 ~ 210,404,000
- 2012 ~ 227,201,000
- Bignell, C P. "Post decimalisation". Retrieved 2006-05-23.
- "1p Coin". British Royal Mint. Archived from the original on 2006-04-27. Retrieved 2006-05-23.
- Royal Mint Frequently Asked Questions
- Estimated Coins in Circulation, Royal Mint
- Your small fortune: 2p coins that could be worth 3p each, Telegraph, 12 May 2006
- London Metal Exchange copper price graphs
- Clayton, Tony. "Decimal Coins of the UK - Bronze". Retrieved 2006-05-24.
- "Royal Mint seeks new coin designs", BBC News, 17 August 2005
- "Royal Mint unveils new UK coins", 2 April 2008
- Royal Mint official Mintage Figures, Royal Mint
- Coincraft's Standard Catalogue English & UK Coins 1066 to Date, Richard Lobel, Coincraft. ISBN 0-9526228-8-2
- The Royal Mint - 1p coin from the official Royal Mint website
- British Penny Pictures
- Coins of the UK - Decimal One Penny on www.coins-of-the-uk.co.uk
- Pictures of Coins of the UK - Decimal One Penny on www.ukcoinpics.co.uk
- Decimal_Pennies - on www.coinwiki.co.uk
- British Coins - information about British coins (from 1656 to 1952)