Legal tender has a very narrow and technical meaning in the settlement of debts. It means that a debtor cannot successfully be sued for non-payment if he pays into court in legal tender. It does not mean that any ordinary transaction has to take place in legal tender or only within the amount denominated by the legislation. Both parties are free to agree to accept any form of payment whether legal tender or otherwise according to their wishes. In order to comply with the very strict rules governing an actual legal tender it is necessary, for example, actually to offer the exact amount due because no change can be demanded.
In practice this means that although the silver UK coins we produce in denominations of £5, £20, £50 and £100 are approved as legal tender, they have been designed as limited edition collectables or gifts and will not be entering general circulation. As such, UK shops and banks are unlikely to accept them.
The amounts for legal tender are stated below.
In England and Wales the £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes are legal tender for payment of any amount. However, they are not legal tender in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Coins are legal tender throughout the United Kingdom for the following amount:
£100 - for any amount
£50 - for any amount
£20 - for any amount
£5 (Crown) - for any amount
£2 - for any amount
£1 - for any amount
50p - for any amount not exceeding £10
25p (Crown) - for any amount not exceeding £10
20p - for any amount not exceeding £10
10p - for any amount not exceeding £5
5p - for any amount not exceeding £5
2p - for any amount not exceeding 20p
1p - for any amount not exceeding 20p
Our popular silver commemorative coins:
We receive a lot of enquiries about our popular silver commemorative coins (including £5 crowns, £20, £50 and £100 coins) and their legal tender status. Each issue is authorised by Royal Proclamation in accordance with the requirements laid down by the Coinage Act 1971. This means that in common with coins in general circulation these coins have legal tender status.
Please note that whilst these coins are legal tender, they are not designed for general circulation, so banks and shops are unlikely to accept the coins. The Royal Mint cannot accept returns of such coins outside of the 14 days return policy.