The Sovereign of the Month
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  • The Royal Mint has released a special collectable set celebrating one of the UK’s most recognised coins – the £1 – ahead of the 40th anniversary of the modern pound next year
  • The presentation set includes an original ‘round pound’ coin, a 12-sided £1 coin, and a Bank of England £1 banknote, showing the evolution of the £1 coin over the years.

The Royal Mint has released a special collectable set celebrating one of the UK’s most iconic coins: the £1. The set celebrates the rich coinage history of the £1 ahead of the 40th anniversary of the modern pound next year.

The collectable set includes a UK ‘round pound’ dated 1983 featuring a reverse design by Eric Sewell, a 12-sided UK £1 coin dated 2016 featuring a reverse design by David Pearce, and a Bank of England £1 Series D banknote featuring a design by Harry Eccleston.

11 facts about the £1

  • The earliest ancestor of the £1 can be traced back to 1489, when Henry VII introduced the Sovereign - made of solid gold and worth 20 shillings, this is considered England’s very first £1 coin
  • The Sovereign, nominally valued at £1, was devalued and revalued several times in the medieval period. It was replaced in the reign of James I by another gold coin called the unite, and again in the reign of Charles II by the guinea. Each of these coins is part of the ancestral tree of the modern £1 coin.
  • By the end of the eighteenth-century, and in reaction to wartime hoarding, gold was needed to finance wars with France, leading the Bank of England to introduce an alternative to the gold coins in 1797: the £1 banknote.
  • The Sovereign returned in 1817 following a review of Britain’s coinage after the Battle of Waterloo, with its well-known St. George and the Dragon design by Italian designer Benedetto Pistrucci.
  • By 1915 gold was no longer a part of the nation’s circulating coinage. £1 banknotes were again issued in its place, and the government encouraged people to use them in place of gold coins, which were needed for the war effort.
  • Over 443 million ‘round pound’ coins were minted in 1983, the first year the modern pound coin was introduced.
  • The first design to feature on the ‘round pound’ introduced in 1983 was The Royal Arms of the United Kingdom.
  • Four bridges have featured on the reverse designs of the round pound: the Forth Railway bridge, the Menai bridge, the Egyptian Arch bridge and the Millennium bridge.
  • The 12-sided £1 introduced in 2016 saw almost 650 million coins minted in its first year
  • The current 12-sided coin is a symbol of cutting-edge technology and includes a hidden high-security feature to prevent counterfeiting. It is considered the most secure coin in circulation today.
  • 2023 will mark the 40th anniversary of the modern £1 coin and a new reverse (tails) design by Kenyan artist Michael Armitage will be released into circulation to mark the occasion. The design will celebrate the people of Britain and our diverse culture.

Rebecca Morgan, Director of Collector Services at The Royal Mint said, “There is something truly special about the £1; its ancestor, the sovereign, is one of our collectors’ favourites and as the original maker of coins, The Royal Mint has had the pleasure of seeing the £1 evolve over the years. The £1 coin is a symbol of Britain that is recognised around the world as well as being one of the nation’s most iconic coins. This collectable set captures three different iterations of the £1 and showcases its fascinating history and evolution over the years.”

For more information, please visit The Royal Mint’s - The £1 Coin & Banknote Set | The Royal Mint





The £1 Coin & Banknote Set


First Round Pound

First New £1

£1 Bank Note





Issuing Authority





Cupro nickel

Nickel-plated nickel brass/Outer - Nickel Brass









134.5mm x 66.7mm

Obverse Designer

Arnold Machin

Jody Clark


Reverse Designer

Eric Sewell

David Pearce






Additional Features


Micro/Latent + more






About The Royal Mint

With a history spanning more than 1,100 years, The Royal Mint is Britain’s oldest companies and the original maker of UK coins.  Today The Royal Mint is a premium British maker, providing carefully crafted coins and precious metal products for the UK and overseas.  Based in Llantrisant, South Wales it has three main focuses as a business: Currency, Consumer (collectable and rare, historic coins) and precious metals investment.

Collecting with The Royal Mint:

Every coin tells a story, from a rare gold Sovereign to a Peter Rabbit™ 50p coin. The Royal Mint aims to inspire collectors young and old, and nurture a love of collecting through unique designs and popular themes. As the maker of UK coinage, we have unparalleled knowledge about coins, from the historic coins of our past, through to the collectable commemorative coins of today.  Sourcing and authenticating pre decimal coins is a natural fit for The Royal Mint as we struck each one.

Investing with The Royal Mint:

As a world authority on precious metals, The Royal Mint has traded and made products in gold and silver for centuries. Since launching its designated precious metals investment arm six years ago, The Royal Mint has grown rapidly to become the home of gold in the UK – increasing its market share and becoming the largest producer of bullion coins in Britain. As well as offering physical precious metal investment options in the form of bars and coins, The Royal Mint also offers a range of digital investment options including DigiGold, Little Treasures, designed for children, and Gold for Pensions

Celebrating with The Royal Mint:

For over a thousand years The Royal Mint has marked the moments that changed the world on coins - from coronations to conflict, from commemorations to celebrations. The designs are captured on commemorative coins, minted in a range of metals.  Commemorative coins do not always enter circulation but give collectors the chance to purchase coins to keep and cherish.  Recent themes have included David Bowie, Winnie the Pooh, Decimalisation and Team GB. Each commemorative coin is carefully struck up to three times in order to create a superbly detailed finish, and ensuring each one meets the standards The Royal Mint is famous for. 

The Royal Mint Experience

The Royal Mint opened its popular visitor centre, The Royal Mint Experience, at its home in Llantrisant, South Wales in 2016. The award-winning attraction welcomes around 200,000 visitors a year and is the place to explore the 1,100-year history of coins.


The Royal Mint retains copyright ownership © of all images. These may only be used for editorial purposes and cannot be sold or used for other marketing purposes without the permission of The Royal Mint.

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