The British decimal twenty pence (20p) coin - often pronounced twenty pee - is a unit of currency equaling twenty one-hundredths of a pound sterling. Its obverse has featured the profile of Queen Elizabeth II since the coin’s introduction in 1982. Three different portraits of the Queen have been used, with the latest design by Ian Rank-Broadley being introduced in 1998. The second and current reverse, featuring a segment of the Royal Shield, was introduced in 2008.
Twenty pence coins are legal tender only up to the sum of £10; this means that it is permissible to refuse payment of sums greater than this amount in 20p coins in order to settle a debt.
As of March 2013 there were an estimated 2,704 million 20p coins in circulation with an estimated face value of £540.889 million.
Since 1998 the portrait by Ian Rank-Broadley has been used, again featuring the tiara, with a signature-mark IRB below the portrait.
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 20p coin depicts the meeting point of the second and fourth quarter of the shield, showing the Lion Rampant of Scotland and the Lions Passants of England. The date no longer appears on the reverse of the coin, and has instead been added to the obverse, where the lettering has been adjusted so as to fit the date in.
An unusual accidental dateless version of the 20 pence was reported to be in circulation in June 2009, the first undated British coin to enter circulation in more than 300 years. This was the result of the production of a mule, i.e. a version of the coin with a non-standard combination of obverse and reverse face designs. The fault occurred as a result of the 2008 redesign of UK coinage, which moved the date on a 20 pence from the reverse to the obverse (Queen's head side), and a batch of coins were produced using the tooling for the obverse of the old design and the reverse of the new design. The Royal Mint estimated that between 50,000 and 200,000 entered circulation before the error was noticed. The Royal Mint stated these coins were still legal tender, although due to their rarity they are traded above face value by collectors. Following publicity about the coins they were initially traded on eBay for several thousand pounds, although an eBay spokesman was unable to confirm if an accepted winning bid of £7,100 for one coin had actually been transacted. In June 2011 they trade at around £100.