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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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Great Britain. 5 Guineas, 1738. PCGS AU
Oct 07, 8:00 AM CST
Great Britain. 5 Guineas, 1738. PCGS AU
by Phoenix Integrity Auction
Est: $0- $0
$1,8509 Bids
Great Britain. Guinea, 1777. PCGS AU55
Oct 07, 8:00 AM CST
Great Britain. Guinea, 1777. PCGS AU55
by Phoenix Integrity Auction
Est: $0- $0
$808 Bids
1930-B Great Britain Trade Dollar T$1 - Uncirculated Detail. UNC MS - Rare Coin!
Oct 07, 8:00 AM CST
1930-B Great Britain Trade Dollar T$1 - Uncirculated Detail. UNC MS - Rare Coin!
by Phoenix Integrity Auction
Est: $0- $0
$806 Bids
Great Britain. Sovereign Gold Coin, 1864. NGC MS63
Oct 07, 8:00 AM CST
Great Britain. Sovereign Gold Coin, 1864. NGC MS63
by Phoenix Integrity Auction
Est: $0- $0
$6506 Bids
1652 Pinetree Schilling HIGH GRADE
Oct 02, 12:30 PM CDT
1652 Pinetree Schilling HIGH GRADE
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $100- $10,000
$1,1006 Bids
1835 N-7 R1 Head of 1836 PCGS graded MS63 Brown
Oct 07, 8:00 AM CST
1835 N-7 R1 Head of 1836 PCGS graded MS63 Brown
by Phoenix Integrity Auction
Est: $0- $0
$406 Bids
Great Britain. Crown, 1676
Oct 07, 8:00 AM CST
Great Britain. Crown, 1676
by Phoenix Integrity Auction
Est: $0- $0
$705 Bids
1839 N-15 R5+ Booby Head PCGS graded AU58, CAC Approved
Oct 07, 8:00 AM CST
1839 N-15 R5+ Booby Head PCGS graded AU58, CAC Approved
by Phoenix Integrity Auction
Est: $0- $0
$305 Bids
Great Britain. Copper Penny, 1860 over 1859. PCGS MS64
Oct 07, 8:00 AM CST
Great Britain. Copper Penny, 1860 over 1859. PCGS MS64
by Phoenix Integrity Auction
Est: $0- $0
$704 Bids
Great Britain. Halfcrown, 1685. PCGS AU58
Oct 07, 8:00 AM CST
Great Britain. Halfcrown, 1685. PCGS AU58
by Phoenix Integrity Auction
Est: $0- $0
$454 Bids
1835 N-8 R1 Head of 1836 PCGS graded MS63 Brown
Oct 07, 8:00 AM CST
1835 N-8 R1 Head of 1836 PCGS graded MS63 Brown
by Phoenix Integrity Auction
Est: $0- $0
$203 Bids
6 SILVER PROOF COINS W SOVEREIGN QUEENS OF ENGLAND
Oct 03, 9:00 AM EDT
6 SILVER PROOF COINS W SOVEREIGN QUEENS OF ENGLAND
by Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC
Est: $300- $500
$2103 Bids
Great Britain. Halfcrown, 1750. AU
Oct 07, 8:00 AM CST
Great Britain. Halfcrown, 1750. AU
by Phoenix Integrity Auction
Est: $0- $0
$2253 Bids
1716 Britain England George I Crown Plumes & Roses Coin. Certified NGC AU Detail
Oct 07, 8:00 AM CST
1716 Britain England George I Crown Plumes & Roses Coin. Certified NGC AU Detail
by Phoenix Integrity Auction
Est: $0- $0
$252 Bids
1839 N-7 R2 Booby Head AU58+
Oct 07, 8:00 AM CST
1839 N-7 R2 Booby Head AU58+
by Phoenix Integrity Auction
Est: $0- $0
$202 Bids
1916 Britain 1 Shilling 1s KM-816 Grades Select Unc
Oct 02, 11:00 AM EDT
1916 Britain 1 Shilling 1s KM-816 Grades Select Unc
by Key Date Coins
Est: $56- $112
$152 Bids
1940 Britain 3 Pence 3p KM-848 Grades Select Unc
Oct 03, 11:00 AM EDT
1940 Britain 3 Pence 3p KM-848 Grades Select Unc
by Key Date Coins
Est: $25- $100
$102 Bids
1878 M GOLD SOVEREIGN VICTORIA
Oct 08, 12:00 PM EDT
1878 M GOLD SOVEREIGN VICTORIA
by Blackwell Auctions LLC
Est: $500- $1,000
$3502 Bids
Great Britain. Proof Gothic Crown
Oct 07, 8:00 AM CST
Great Britain. Proof Gothic Crown
by Phoenix Integrity Auction
Est: $0- $0
$202 Bids
1912 BRITISH SOV GOLD PIECE
Oct 10, 5:00 PM EDT
1912 BRITISH SOV GOLD PIECE
by Atlee Raber Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$302 Bids
1818 Great Britain England George III Crown Coin. NGC Uncirculated Detail UNC MS
Oct 07, 8:00 AM CST
1818 Great Britain England George III Crown Coin. NGC Uncirculated Detail UNC MS
by Phoenix Integrity Auction
Est: $0- $0
$252 Bids
A Large Hoard of British Silver Threepenny Bits, to include many Victorian, Edwardian and pre 1920 G
Oct 08, 11:00 AM BST
A Large Hoard of British Silver Threepenny Bits, to include many Victorian, Edwardian and pre 1920 G
by Wilkinson's Auctioneers
Est: £600- £800
£4801 Bid
VICTORIA (1837-1901) 1/2 SOVEREIGN, 1857
Oct 15, 9:30 AM CEST
VICTORIA (1837-1901) 1/2 SOVEREIGN, 1857
by La Galerie Numismatique
Est: €400- €800
€101 Bid
5 POUNDS FOREIGN COINS - GREAT MIX
Oct 27, 11:00 AM EDT
5 POUNDS FOREIGN COINS - GREAT MIX
by Vintage Auctions Online
Est: $50- $75
$101 Bid

Sellers Who Sell United Kingdom Coins


La Galerie Numismatique

La Galerie Numismatique

Cadmore Auctions

Cadmore Auctions

Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer

Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer

Papps Family Liquidation.com

Papps Family Liquidation.com