A Story Spanning the Centuries
Although the modern £1 coin has only been in circulation for 33 years, it is part of a story that is more than five centuries old.
The pound made its first appearance in Tudor times, when Henry VII ordered the officers of his Royal Mint to ‘produce a new money of gold’. His Sovereign, struck in 1489, had a value of one pound sterling.
The familiar ‘round pound’ was first introduced in 1983, when Her Majesty’s Treasury realised that £1 notes, issued by the Bank of England, were becoming too expensive to produce and had a short lifespan. A more practical alternative was needed and the new round pound coin entered circulation on 21 April 1983, Her Majesty The Queen's birthday. It featured a Royal Arms design by Eric Sewell and bore the Latin inscription DECUS ET TUTAMEN – ‘An ornament and a safeguard’ – from Virgil’s Aeneid, on its milled edge.