30 years since the introduction of the pound coin

The pound coin as we know it today is thirty years old this year.

That’s a long time, but the value ‘one pound’ has been around a lot longer as it originally  referred to the value of a pound of sterling silver. Today, the pound sterling is still the official currency of the United Kingdom, and the pound coin is the chief coin.

At the time it was introduced, demonetising the pound note in favour of a pound coin was a world-leading innovation. The note was progressively withdrawn from circulation from 1985 and eventually demonetised on the 11th March 1988. At the time, the British public were largely receptive to the idea of a new coin and when it arrived it was well received…the chunky size and gold colour proving popular.

We still find 1983 pound coins in our change, as well as the more than 20 other designs of one pound coin. But though the coin itself remains as relevant as ever, not everything has aged so gracefully! We have compiled a list of 30 things about 1983 that highlight just how much has changed.

  1. The one pound coin is introduced to England and Wales. It acquires the nickname ‘the Maggie’.
  2. The Austin Metro was Britain’s best selling car
  3. Children’s ITV (CITV) is launched
  4. BBC Breakfast Time – the first breakfast TV show in the UK – is launched shortly to be followed by TV-AM on ITV
  5. The compact disc (CD) goes on sale for the first time in the United Kingdom
  6. Wheel clamps are first used to combat illegal parking in London
  7. Computer tycoon Clive Sinclair becomes Sir Clive Sinclair
  8. ITV launches Blockbusters, a gameshow hosted by Bob Holness and featuring sixth formers as its contestants.
  9. The best selling pop single was Karma Chameleon by Culture Club which spent 6 weeks at number one
  10. The wearing of seatbelts becomes compulsory in the front of passenger cars.
  11. Richard Noble, driving the British turbojet-powered car Thrust2, takes the land speed record to 634.051 mph
  12. First heart and lung transplant carried out in Britain
  13. The House of Lords votes to allow television broadcast of its proceedings
  14. Designer and entrepreneur James Dyson produces his prototype vacuum cleaner
  15. The first episode of comedy BlackAdder is broadcast
  16. Neil Kinnock becomes leader of the Labour party
  17. Terry Pratchett publishes his first DiscWorld novel – ‘The colour of magic’
  18. Amy Winehouse is born
  19. David Niven dies
  20. The first iPhone was invented
  21. The Motorola 8000x, becomes the first mobile phone available for sale
  22. Ronald Reagan proposes the development of technology to intercept enemy missiles. This becomes known as “Star Wars”
  23. The Conservative government, led by Margaret Thatcher, is re-elected by a landslide majority
  24. McDonald’s introduces the McNugget
  25. The De Lorean Motor Company ceases production
  26. Star Wars – return of the Jedi is released in cinemas
  27. The A-Team premieres on NBC in the USA.
  28. Bjorn Borg announces his retirement from tennis
  29. Michael Jackson’s Thriller single is released in the UK
  30. The My Little Pony line of toys is launched and to incredible success

Have you found a 1983 pound coin recently?

Say Happy Birthday to the £1 coin

2013 pound coinsThe UK celebrates 30 years of the £1 coin in 2013. In that time we have released well over 20 designs. For 2013 a new series of floral designs have been developed to update the orginal floral designs released from 1984 onwards.

You can buy collector quality examples of these coins at The Royal Mint website.

Click here to buy 2013 Annual Uncirculated sets

This entry was posted in News by James Owen. Bookmark the permalink.
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About James Owen

James has worked for The Royal Mint since November 2011 and brings his experience of Digital Marketing specifically, e-marketing, content marketing and copywriting. He loves to share information about The Royal Mint with as many people as possible and has started to develop a real fascination with coins.
  • Dom Mellonie

    The first iPhone?? Really???!

    • http://twitter.com/ukcasinoawards Bingo Starr

      Click the link, you might be surprised…I was :D

  • jaxon

    But e.g. how many loaves of bread does a £ buy now compared with when it was introduced ?

    • jamesroyalmint

      Inflation and the value of a pound is something for another blog post I think!

  • Damian

    I’ve been a collector of coins of in circulation ones and have all the one pound coins and I have never heard them being called a “maggie” were and when was this name used ???

    • jamesroyalmint

      Check our article on coin nicknames for the background!

      http://blog.royalmint.com/coin-nicknames-the-british-fondness-for-change/

      • http://www.facebook.com/ralph.caton.3 Ralph Caton

        The nickname “Maggie” doesn’t seem to be there any more, possibly out of respect to the late Baroness. The name comes from being brassy, worthless and thinking itself a Sovereign…

  • Joanna

    I recently (in the past couple of weeks) found a 1983 £1 coin in what must have been bus change – I deliberately kept it, but didn’t realise it was from the year of introduction.

    • jamesroyalmint

      And now you know! Our work here is done…

  • John Peart

    I have 8 £1 coins in my wallet & 2 of them are 1983!

    • jamesroyalmint

      We did issue a lot in 1983 to kick things off :D

  • vic smith

    I have a £1 coin whit the George and the dragon,

  • http://www.facebook.com/ralph.caton.3 Ralph Caton

    Time certainly marches on. My favourite design was the Welsh dragon used in 2000/2005.

  • ellena

    I found one of the floral design coin. its the second one in the picture above. is it worth more than 1 pound?