Old pound coins: what do we do with them now?

Since 2017 we have been using the 12-sided version of the pound coin, but what do we do with our old pound coins?

Nowadays, the ease of contactless-tapping our way through transactions has almost made rummaging for our wallets for change an extinct process. Some establishments won’t even take your coins anymore, but the extreme days of COVID might have also had something to do with that!

Nevertheless, cash is still used every day, and new designs and versions continue to be released each year, including a new design underway featuring King Charles. Prior to this, the most recent change was from the ‘old, round’ £1 coin to the new 12-sided version, which took place in 2016. So, what do we do with old pound coins now? Are they worth anything? And when will the new King Charles coins be released?

If you have any old pound coins yourself, stick with us and find out:

When were the old pound coins replaced?

The history of the old British 1 pound coin goes back to the 1980s, when it replaced the Bank of England’s £1 note. The note was in circulation for nearly 200 years before it was replaced due to inflation – but these notes are sometimes still seen, particularly across Scotland!

The nickel-brass one pound coin then went on to be circulated across the country for almost 40 years. It was regularly re-designed, featuring different designs and patterns, before the most significant change to the round coin came in 2016. This saw the end of the ‘Last Round Pound Coin’.

With that, the new 12-sided 1 pound coins were introduced in 2017, leaving behind the round pounds which were last minted at the end of 2015. Being not so long ago, there’s every chance you could have a few of the old pounds lying around somewhere, or potentially lost down the back of a sofa.

Why were the old pound coins replaced?

The round pound was replaced by a newer, thinner 12-sided version in response to growing cases of counterfeiting.

The issue was reported across national news outlets and eventually the Royal Mint came under pressure to change the design. The 12-sided coin we use today is designed in a way that is much harder to replicate, making counterfeiting harder.

Their new shape is distinctive, they are made of two metals rather than one, and it is also marked a certain way to make them easier to identify under inspection.

Are old pound coins still legal tender?

Now you’re probably wondering whether that old round coin you’ve found can still be used. Well, unfortunately, the old 1 pound coins are no longer legal tender, and this has been the case since 2015.

This means that these round pound coins cannot be used anywhere, whether that be restaurants, cafes, shops etc. You may have heard recently that the old paper £20 and £50 notes have also succumbed to a similar fate. They went out of circulation and were no longer legal tender in September 2022, following in the footsteps of the old £5 and £10 notes.

Do banks take old pound coins?

Old Pound Coins 2

Banks are not obliged to legally accept any old versions of coins or notes which have been withdrawn from circulation. However, some major banks do.

MoneySavingExpert reports that major banks such as Nationwide, Santander, Halifax, Lloyds and NatWest will still allow customers to deposit the most recent form of old currency into their account.

The Post Office will also allow this, but only if your bank signed up to receive cash deposits through the Post Office.

However, none of the banks will allow customers to exchange a round pound directly for a new coin, you are only able to deposit them into your UK bank account. There are stories circulating though that sometimes deposits of old currencies into a bank account hasn’t worked, so it is worth speaking to someone working for the bank to get some clarity around this.

It’s also worth being aware that the Bank of England will only accept old paper notes, not old coins, regardless of whether you are posting it or trying to deposit through them directly.

Are old pound coins worth anything?

It is believed that there are still hundreds of millions of old pound coins which are unaccounted for, which can mean two things; either your old coin is not too uncommon, or you have a great chance of having a rare, round pound coin.

What’s clear is that the rarer and older your coin is, the more it’s likely to be worth if you were to sell it on. You can easily see how old a coin is, as it is usually printed on one of the sides.

You should also turn your coin over and double-check the design. Since the first round, old pound coin was circulated, there have been 24 different designs released. The most common design you’ll find in England is the Royal Arms design, but there are other designs which are rarer and could be worth more.

A coin with an uncommon design which dated back to when its version of the coin was first released, could be worth a pretty penny! The right pound coin could be worth between £3 and £20!

What should I do if I think I have a valuable coin?

It’s not always easy to know what to do when you think you have something of value, with there being a messy bundle of information about the legitimacy of rare coins across the internet.

However, there are many rare coin dealers which you can Google such as Coincraft or Baldwin’s who could help you figure out how much your coin might be worth, by checking serial numbers, the coin’s condition etc. If it is worth something, it’s then up to you whether you sell it to the dealer or let the online collectors fight over it on a selling platform such as Ebay.

What to do with old pound coins?

So, you’ve already read a few ways you can make the most of your old pound coins, you could deposit them, or see if they are maybe worth more! But what are your other options?

Give it to charity

As we mentioned before, your old coin could be worth a little bit of money, so why not maybe donate it to charity?

There are many charities out there which you can contact who would be more than happy to take your old £1 coins. Not only could it make the charity some money, but a coin like this might also mean more to someone else, such as a keen coin collector.

Keep it as a souvenir

Especially as we move into a new era with King Charles III at the throne, having an old pound coin with the late Queen Elizabeth II’s face on the back might be hard to come by in the long-distance future.

It could be a little souvenir you show future generations, or that you look back on yourself, and reminisce about where you were and what you were doing when you came across it.

We know this idea may not appeal to you, but to some, keeping an old pound coin in their memory box could be an attractive idea. You can find out more about starting a collection of old coins on the Royal Mint website.

To summarise…

All in all, we’ve established why any old pound coins you have are significant, whilst also giving you some options regarding what you could do with them.

Old pound coins are no longer legal tender, so your options are:

  • Keep them as a souvenir
  • Deposit them at a bank
  • Get them valued and sell them to a dealer or on a website such as eBay
  • Give them to charity

We also know that round pound coins haven’t been out of circulation for that long, so you might end up returning to this blog in years to come and have a clearer idea of what you want to do with it then. But for now, why not just enjoy having a small piece of British currency history.

Want to know more about how you can protect you and your family with life or health insurance? Call us on 01993 894 700, or don’t hesitate to visit one of our branches, where a member of our team would be happy to help provide you with the answers to any questions you might have! You can also visit our website to learn more about what Howden do.

Old Pound Coin FAQs

What can I do with old notes?

The Bank of England, who are responsible for replacing notes and coins, not too long ago decided to replace old £10, £20 and £50 bank notes with polymer notes. The reason for this was that old banknotes were easier to counterfeit, and polymer versions are much stronger, lasting two-and-a-half times longer than the paper notes.

The old paper notes no longer have legal tender status, so they cannot be used to spend. However, much like cold coins, paper notes can be deposited into many well-known bank branches and the Bank of England. The Post Office and Bank of England will also accept old bank notes for exchanges, belongs as you bring identification with you.

What about old two pound coins?

Following a review into British currency, the Royal Mint sent two pound coins into circulation in 1998. Unlike the old one pound coin, the two pound coin has always been rounded and hasn’t required any significant changes over the years, except in its design.

There were some commemorative two pound coins created before 1998, however, and there is some confusion around their legal tender status. The truth is, two pound coins which pre-date 1998 can be considered a genuine coin for transactions, but they can also legally be refused in by whoever you owe the money to.

Similarly to the old, round pounds, there are many £2 coins out there which could be worth a little more than their face value, due to their rarity and age.

When will English currency reflect King Charles III ascending to the throne?

Following Queen Elizabeth II’s death in September 2022, English currency has needed to change to reflect King Charles III’s ascension to the throne. Coins with the new King’s head have already entered circulation, with nearly 10 million coins planned to be released into the public. The King’s head will face the opposite direction to the direction the Queen faced on coins to follow on from a long tradition of alternating for each new monarch.

The King’s portrait is not expected to feature on notes until they are circulated in 2024.

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