The History of the Pound

The History of the Pound

The new, twelve-sided £1 coin ushers in a new era; this is the first time the pound has been changed in thirty years. The Royal Mint claims the new coin to be “…the most secure coin in the world…” by boasting the following new features:

  • 12-sided – its distinctive shape makes it instantly recognisable, even by touch.
  • Bimetallic – it is made of two metals. The outer ring is gold coloured (nickel-brass) and the inner ring is silver coloured (nickel-plated alloy).
  • Latent image – it has an image like a hologram that changes from a ‘£’ symbol to the number ‘1’ when the coin is seen from different angles.
  • Micro-lettering – it has very small lettering on the lower inside rim on both sides of the coin. One pound on the obverse “heads” side and the year of production on the reverse “tails” side, for example 2016 or 2017.
  • Milled edges – it has grooves on alternate sides.
  • Hidden high security feature – a high security feature is built into the coin to protect it from counterfeiting in the future.*

Compared to its predecessor, the new £1 coin sounds very space age! Sophisticated and well thought out, the new £1 coin is likely paving the way for other currency changes. But the pound is an icon and has been around for a lot longer than many of us think…

When was currency established in England?
In the 8th century, the Anglo-Saxon King, Offa, was responsible for centralising a system of money in central and southern England. Silver pennies from this period have his name included on the coins.

When did the first pound arrive?
The pound itself was first established in 1489 when Henry VII was King; back then though it was referred to as a sovereign, another name for a monarch. Shillings were first minted in 1504 and banknotes came about shortly after the Bank of England was established in 1694. In 1971, the complex system involving shillings was replaced by decimalisation, a system we still have in place today.

Let us know in the comments below when you’ve seen the new coin!

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