By 1980 it had become apparent that with the general decline in purchasing power, the £1 unit of currency was more appropriate to a coin than a banknote. After consultation with many groups including retailers and special interest groups, the Government announced on 31 July 1981 that a new £1 coin that was to be issued on 21 April 1983. Since its launch the £1 has always represented the United Kingdom and its constituent parts; England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The £1 coin in base metal (as opposed to the gold sovereign, which has a nominal face value of one pound too), nickel-brass was introduced in 1983, as a replacement for the £1 banknote. The reverse design of the first £1 coin showed a depiction of the Royal Coat of Arms, representing the United Kingdom as a whole. It was issued until 2015 in rotation with other designs representing Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, alternating each year in that order.
Initially, Wales was represented by the Leek and Diadem type of one pound coins.
According to the Royal Mint, "The strength, fire and spirit of the Welsh national character are expressed in the emblem of the dragon, the design selected for the 1995 £1 coin - the second in a series of four which featured the constituent parts of the United Kingdom. Modelled by Norman Sillman from a drawing provided by the College of Arms, the familiar dragon passant appeared on the reverse of the coin. The obverse showed Raphael Maklouf's portrait of Her Majesty The Queen, while on the coin’s edge were the words PLEIDIOL WYF I'M GWLAD, 'true am I to my country' taken from the national anthem of Wales." This design was issued only twice, in 1995 and 2000. Wales was later represented by the 2013 One Pound with the floral emblem of Wales.
The design was re-issued in 2008 as a collector coin (in silver and gold) as part of a 14-coin commemorative set marking the 25th Anniversary of the £1 coin.
The coin is made of Nickel-Brass, with composition of 70% copper, 5.5% nickel and 24.5% zinc.
These coins circulated until 2017, when they were demonetised and replaced with the current bimetallic one pound coin.