The British decimal one penny (1p) coin, usually simply known as a penny, is a unit of currency equalling one one-hundredth of a pound sterling. The penny’s symbol is p. Its obverse has featured the profile of Queen Elizabeth II since the coin’s introduction in 1971, the year British currency was decimalised. Three different portraits of the Queen have been used on the coin, 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.
The correct plural form for multiple 1p coins is pennies, and the correct term for monetary sums less than £1 is pence (often pee informally), e.g. fifty pence.
One penny and two pence coins are legal tender only up to the sum of 20p; this means that it is permissible to refuse payment of sums greater than this amount in 1p and 2p coins in order to settle a debt.
The penny was originally minted from bronze, but since 1992 it has been minted in copper-plated steel due to the increasing price of metal. Soaring copper prices in the mid-2000s caused the value of the copper in the pre-1992 coins (which are 97% copper) to exceed the coins' face value. For example, in May 2006, the intrinsic metal value of a pre-1992 1p coin was about 1.5 pence. During 2008, the value of copper fell dramatically from these peaks.
As of 2013/14 the penny is the lowest value coin ever circulated (and used) in the United Kingdom.