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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2 14K Filigree Gold Pendant w Antique British Coin
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
2 14K Filigree Gold Pendant w Antique British Coin
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc
Est: $100- $200
$42518 Bids
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
Oct 22, 6:00 PM CDT
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$458 Bids
§ STIK (BRITISH B. 1979)
Nov 03, 2:00 PM GMT
§ STIK (BRITISH B. 1979)
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £400- £600
£1608 Bids
1899 Gold full sovereign, London
Oct 25, 7:00 PM AEDT
1899 Gold full sovereign, London
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD4008 Bids
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
Oct 20, 6:00 PM CDT
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$455 Bids
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
Oct 21, 6:00 PM CDT
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$404 Bids
British 2 pound coin silver
Oct 19, 6:00 PM CDT
British 2 pound coin silver
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$504 Bids
1949 George VI Half Crown Coin
Nov 13, 7:00 PM AEST
1949 George VI Half Crown Coin
by Jewellery Auctions Unlimited
Est: AUD30- AUD40
AUD404 Bids
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
Oct 20, 6:00 PM CDT
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$454 Bids
(3) Original United Kingdom Proof Coin Collection
Oct 21, 5:00 PM EDT
(3) Original United Kingdom Proof Coin Collection
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $10- $1,000
$263 Bids
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
Oct 19, 6:00 PM CDT
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$453 Bids
2013 2 British pounds silver coins
Oct 20, 6:00 PM CDT
2013 2 British pounds silver coins
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$403 Bids
2 Britannia Silver Rounds
Oct 21, 6:00 PM CDT
2 Britannia Silver Rounds
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$403 Bids
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
Oct 22, 6:00 PM CDT
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$403 Bids
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
Oct 21, 6:00 PM CDT
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$403 Bids
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
Oct 19, 6:00 PM CDT
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$453 Bids
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
Oct 19, 6:00 PM CDT
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$453 Bids
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
Oct 19, 6:00 PM CDT
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$453 Bids
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
Oct 22, 6:00 PM CDT
2 Britannia 1 Ounce Fine Silver Rounds
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$403 Bids
2 Britannia Fine Silver Rounds
Oct 21, 6:00 PM CDT
2 Britannia Fine Silver Rounds
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$453 Bids
2 Britannia Fine Silver Rounds
Oct 21, 6:00 PM CDT
2 Britannia Fine Silver Rounds
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$453 Bids
2 Britannia Fine Silver Rounds
Oct 21, 6:00 PM CDT
2 Britannia Fine Silver Rounds
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$453 Bids
British 2 pound silver coins
Oct 19, 6:00 PM CDT
British 2 pound silver coins
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$453 Bids
2004 Somalia 50 Shillings Gold coin, diameter 1.39 cm. (0.55 in.)
Oct 25, 7:00 PM AEDT
2004 Somalia 50 Shillings Gold coin, diameter 1.39 cm. (0.55 in.)
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD503 Bids

Sellers Who Sell United Kingdom Coins


Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer

Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer

Smalls Auctions

Smalls Auctions

Chaucer Covers & Auctions

Chaucer Covers & Auctions

MDC Monaco

MDC Monaco