The British twenty pence (20p) coin - often pronounced "twenty pee" - is a unit of currency equaling twenty one-hundredths of a pound sterling. Its obverse has featured the profile of Queen Elizabeth II since the coin’s introduction in 1982. Four different portraits of the Queen have been used on the coin, with the latest design by Jody Clark being introduced in 2015. The second and current reverse, featuring a segment of the Royal Shield, was introduced in 2008.
Unlike the smaller denominations, the twenty pence coin was not introduced at decimalisation in 1970 but was added later. By the end of the 1970s it had become apparent that the new decimal coinage was in need of change because it was widely regarded as much too heavy. After a review of the coinage, it was proposed that the introduction of a 20p piece would substantially reduce the weight of coins in the system by decreasing the number of 10p coins in use. The denomination was first issued in 1982; consequently, it featured a design by William Gardner (showing a crowned Tudor rose) and not by Christopher Ironside like the rest of the series. This original reverse design was changed to the current version featuring a segment of the Royal Shield by Matthew Dent in 2008; coins of the old design are still current and circulate together with the new ones.
To help identification and avoid confusion with similar sized coins the 20p is seven sided and like the 50p is an equilateral curve heptagon. The shape, with its constant rolling diameter, means that it is readily acceptable in vending machines. Its composition is 84% copper and 16% nickel.
Twenty and fifty pence coins are legal tender only up to the sum of £10; this means that it is permissible to refuse payment of sums greater than this amount in 20p coins in order to settle a debt.