Pop Coin 1983
Back in 1983 we really knew the pound in our pocket was worth less when the Royal Mint introduced the pound coin on 21 April and started to phase out the one pound bank note (remember those?).
The Mint's argument was that the coin would last forty years, whereas the pound note only lasted a year, so the coins were cheaper, and the Banking Information Service declared that that the pound was now a unit of change rather than of value.
The pound coins were also more suitable for vending machines. The Royal Mint was wary of the public's reaction, as there were some who tried to refuse to accept pound coins, but there was nowhere near the outcry that came when the Mint had phased out the ten shilling note in 1969, to replace it with the fifty pence piece.
Pound notes did not disappear straight away. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was in favour of keeping them. Nevertheless the writing was on the wall and the unit of change became small change.
The new coins were a shiny gold colour, presumably meant to be reminiscent of the Sovereign and Guinea coins of times past. Of course they contained no real gold, but were an alloy of copper, nickel and zinc. They were also just the right size and weight to roll out of a trouser pocket when you were sitting down.
The perfect solution was a pound coin holder, like the Pop Coin, above left. There were also tubes into which you could store the coins.
You can still purchase something similar on eBay, but I must admit to not really seeing them much in use since the 80s.
Add your comments
Your guide to vintage and retro