One Pound (Royal Arms), Coin Type from United Kingdom - detailed information

One Pound (Royal Arms), Coin Type from United Kingdom (issued 1983 - 2015)
Coin TypeOne Pound (Royal Arms)

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 detailed and intricate depiction of the Royal Coat of Arms. Designed by Eric Sewell, Chief Engraver at The Royal Mint, it has become one of the most famous images on British coinage. The coin’s edge inscription is in Latin: DECUS ET TUTAMEN, which may be translated as an "ornament to safeguard".

This design, representing the United Kingdom as a whole, was issued until 2008 with no change, then with a re-design in 2015, in rotation with other designs representing England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, alternating each year. With the introduction of Matthew Dent's new design of all circulating British coins, the United Kingdom was later represented by the Shield of the Royal Arms one pound coins.

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.

United Kingdom / One Pound (Royal Arms) - obverse photo

Effigy of the ruling British monarch, legend (in Latin), date.

Obverse Inscription Legend of the ruling British monarch, date
United Kingdom / One Pound (Royal Arms) - reverse photo

The reverse of the coin depicts the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom. In its standard variant used outside of Scotland, the shield is quartered, depicting in the first and fourth quarters the three passant guardant lions of England; in the second, the rampant lion and double tressure flory-counterflory of Scotland; and in the third, a harp for Ireland. The crest is a statant guardant lion wearing St Edward's Crown, himself on another representation of that crown standing on a knight's helmet.

The dexter (right) supporter is a likewise crowned English lion; the sinister (left), a Scottish unicorn. In the ground below, a thistle, Tudor rose and shamrock are depicted, representing Scotland, England and Ireland respectively.

The motto of English monarchs, DIEU ET MON DROIT (God and my Right), which has descended to the present royal family, is in a ribbon below, while a Garter circlet which surrounds the shield is inscribed with the Order of the Garter's motto, HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE (from old French: Shame on he who thinks evil).

Around below is the denomination, ONE POUND.

Reverse Inscription ONE POUND
EdgeMilled and inscribed (incuse lettering)Edge InscriptionDECUS ET TUTAMEN

DECUS ET TUTAMEN means "An ornament and a safeguard", a quote from Virgil's Aeneid.

Royal Mint
Royal Mint
One Pound (Royal Arms): Details
CountryUnited Kingdom
CurrencyPound Sterling
Sub-type ofOne Pound
Face Value1 (x Pound)
CurrentNo (demonetised 2017)
MaterialNickel Brass
DesignerEric Sewell
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
OrientationMedal Alignment (Axis 0)
Size22.5000 mm
Thickness3.1500 mm
Mass9.5000 g
One Pound (Royal Arms): Photos
One Pound (Royal Arms): Photo Coin, Great Britain, Pound, 1983 Coin, Great Britain, Pound, 1983
Notes: Design by Eric Sewell (1983 - 2008).
One Pound (Royal Arms): Photo 2015 Royal Arms One Pound Coin 2015 Royal Arms One Pound Coin
Copyright: Chards
Notes: Design by Timothy Noad (2015 only).
One Pound (Royal Arms): Photo Coin, Great Britain, Pound, 1983 Coin, Great Britain, Pound, 1983