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United Kingdom Coins

United Kingdom's coinage officially began in 1709 when the kingdoms of England and Scotland fused. English denominations continued to be followed with the pound system maintaining its influence. Until the most recent redesign in 2008, coins of the United Kingdom followed the general pattern of featuring the bust of the current monarch on the obverse with various heraldic devices from the components of the United Kingdom on the reverse. Chief among these was the depiction of Britannia, a mythological figure considered to be the embodiment of Great Britain who has appeared on British coins continuously since 1672.

One of the most significant changes to the composition of United Kingdom coins occurred in 1920 when the government transitioned coins to contain only 50 percent silver, down from the previous standard of 92.5 percent. The initial replacement used for the missing silver was manganese, which resulted in a deep brown tarnish accruing during circulation. After World War II, the UK moved to a copper-nickel alloy and abandoned silver altogether except for commemorative editions and proofs.

In 1971, the denominations of value represented by United Kingdom coins fundamentally changed due to the adoption of decimalization. Originally, the pound was equated to 20 shillings, itself 12 pence. Upon decimalization, the pound was redefined as being 100 pence. The shilling was not preserved as a unit of value. Circulating denominations today range from one penny to two pounds. There are several higher value coins in existence that do not typically circulate, such as the five pound coin known as a crown.


Quick Facts

  • Prior to unification in 1709, Scotland had its own mint and coins. Three Scottish banks still produce banknotes
  • The direction each monarch faces on the obverse of the United Kingdom's coins alternates with each succession. The only exception to this occurred in 1936 with the brief one year ascension of Edward VIII
  • A 1937 gold proof design sold at auction for 516,000 pounds, roughly $750,000, at an auction in 2014. The coin is one of only two made and was created as a prototype ahead of Edward VIII's official coronation

Recommended Items at Auction

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1c 1899 PCGS MS64RD
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
1c 1899 PCGS MS64RD
by Mitchell Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$11011 Bids
Mint Red Guernsey 1889-H Four-Piece Set
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
Mint Red Guernsey 1889-H Four-Piece Set
by Mitchell Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$187 Bids
English Medieval Coins - Mixed English Hammered and Other Coin Group [26]
Mar 09, 12:00 PM GMT
English Medieval Coins - Mixed English Hammered and Other Coin Group [26]
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £100- £140
£655 Bids
Guernsey Coppers: 1830 Double (KM-1).
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
Guernsey Coppers: 1830 Double (KM-1).
by Mitchell Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$145 Bids
Royal Sovereign FS-3D Coin Sorter, Untested
Mar 05, 12:00 PM EST
Royal Sovereign FS-3D Coin Sorter, Untested
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$115 Bids
Palestine-British Administration Higher Grade and/or Scarce Coinage Quintet
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
Palestine-British Administration Higher Grade and/or Scarce Coinage Quintet
by Mitchell Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$124 Bids
Anglo-Saxon Coins - Primary Phase - Series BI - Bird on Cross AR Sceatta
Mar 09, 12:00 PM GMT
Anglo-Saxon Coins - Primary Phase - Series BI - Bird on Cross AR Sceatta
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £80- £100
£154 Bids
Copper Coinage From Guernsey including 1, 2, 4 and 8 Double pieces
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
Copper Coinage From Guernsey including 1, 2, 4 and 8 Double pieces
by Mitchell Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$283 Bids
A Queen Victoria 1887 22ct gold Quintuple Sovereign
Mar 08, 10:00 AM GMT
A Queen Victoria 1887 22ct gold Quintuple Sovereign
by Martel Maides
Est: £1,300- £1,500
£1,4003 Bids
1986 1 Noble Queen Elizabeth Platinum Coin
Mar 08, 12:00 PM MST
1986 1 Noble Queen Elizabeth Platinum Coin
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$8503 Bids
English Milled Coins - William and Mary - 1689 - AR Halfcrown
Mar 09, 12:00 PM GMT
English Milled Coins - William and Mary - 1689 - AR Halfcrown
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £300- £400
£203 Bids
Two Coin Sets marked The Royal Mint, UK
Mar 05, 6:00 PM AEDT
Two Coin Sets marked The Royal Mint, UK
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD253 Bids
Coins of Ireland and Great Britain (1862-1950) including a bit of silver.
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
Coins of Ireland and Great Britain (1862-1950) including a bit of silver.
by Mitchell Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$62 Bids
FULL gold Sovereign coin, George V 1912.
Mar 09, 10:00 AM GMT
FULL gold Sovereign coin, George V 1912.
by Potteries Auctions
Est: £300- £600
£1502 Bids
2012 50c Diamond Jubilee Silver Proof
Mar 14, 11:00 AM AEDT
2012 50c Diamond Jubilee Silver Proof
by Eureka Coins, Notes and Collectables pty
Est: AUD110- AUD130
AUD252 Bids
1908S Sydney King Edward VII St George Gold Half Sovereign
Mar 14, 11:00 AM AEDT
1908S Sydney King Edward VII St George Gold Half Sovereign
by Eureka Coins, Notes and Collectables pty
Est: AUD450- AUD500
AUD2402 Bids
Sterling Silver Edward I Round
Mar 04, 10:00 AM EST
Sterling Silver Edward I Round
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $10,000
$242 Bids
2000 Great Britain 2 Pound silver Britannia. GEM BU.
Mar 07, 5:00 PM EST
2000 Great Britain 2 Pound silver Britannia. GEM BU.
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$22 Bids
Three (3) 19th Century Silver UK Jubilee Coins
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
Three (3) 19th Century Silver UK Jubilee Coins
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $40- $800
$202 Bids
2023 50c Elizabeth Regina - Her Majesty QEII Silver Proof
Mar 14, 11:00 AM AEDT
2023 50c Elizabeth Regina - Her Majesty QEII Silver Proof
by Eureka Coins, Notes and Collectables pty
Est: AUD110- AUD130
AUD202 Bids
2022 50c Platinum Jubilee of her majesty Queen Elizabeth II Proof
Mar 14, 11:00 AM AEDT
2022 50c Platinum Jubilee of her majesty Queen Elizabeth II Proof
by Eureka Coins, Notes and Collectables pty
Est: AUD200- AUD240
AUD202 Bids
Sterling Silver Mary Ii Round
Mar 04, 10:00 AM EST
Sterling Silver Mary Ii Round
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $10,000
$102 Bids
Bradford Exchange - The 5 Crowns for 5 Beaches & The Normandy Drop
Mar 08, 10:00 AM GMT
Bradford Exchange - The 5 Crowns for 5 Beaches & The Normandy Drop
by Martel Maides
Est: £120- £140
£1001 Bid

Sellers Who Sell United Kingdom Coins


TimeLine Auctions

TimeLine Auctions

Smalls Auctions

Smalls Auctions

Martel Maides

Martel Maides

Nomisma S.p.a

Nomisma S.p.a