Cash4coins Blog

5 Things You Might Not Know About UK Coins

In our last blog post, we talked about how the Royal Mint has gone all retro by designing a new £1 coin with a shape that resembles the old threepenny bit. If you are old enough to remember what a threepenny bit looks like then you will know exactly what we are talking about. If you needed to consult Google about this mysterious coin, you might want to read up a little on the history of coins and a few surprising facts.

1. What is a Threepenny Bit?

The threepence, also know as the Threepenny Bit and the Thrupence, was first introduced in 1547 by King Edward VI. Many people complained about its very small size, but it wasn’t until 1937 that a larger 12-sided threepence was introduced.

2. Coins have been made in Britain since 100 BC

You might think that those dusty old coppers in your drawer at home are old, but spare a thought for the first coins to be used in the UK. These were imported from Northern France by a Celtic tribe and used to trade for goods and food. The first coins actually produced in the UK were made from an alloy mix of tin and bronze and were used by many tribes along the Thames Valley. By 55 BC, many tribes were producing coins using silver and gold and many featured the tribe’s own unique design. These coins continued to be made and used until the Roman invasion and the enforcement of Roman coins being used as national currency.

3. Where did the term ‘Quid’ come from?

It is not actually certain where the slang “quid” came from, but a common belief is that it comes from the Latin term Quid Pro Quo. This term pretty much means “what for what” or “something for something”. The first use of the word quid on record was in 1661 in the book ‘Strange News From Bartholomew-Fair’, by P.Aretine – “The fool lost his purse, but how he knew not; for the reckoning being suddainly brought in, his Quids vanisht”. I think we’ve all been there!

4. Decimal Day Had Its Own Song

In 1971, the UK and Ireland moved from the old system that used pounds, shillings and pence to the new decimalised currency that we know today. Pounds and pence were quite different to what people were used to and so the new coins were introduced gradually to allow time for people to adjust to the new system. Alongside the leaflets and TV ads, there was also a song that was used to help people get to grips with the new coins and way of spending. Listen to it once and you’ll be singing it all day. We did warn you!

5. Sir Isaac Newton Worked At The Royal Mint

Yes, the man famed for defining the Laws of Motion and getting hit on the head with an apple, also worked at the Royal Mint. Sir Isaac Newton, or  just Mr Newton as he was at the time, had the heady title of Master of the Royal Mint. He took his role extremely seriously and would often go undercover in pubs and bars in an effort to collect evidence of coin counterfeiting. He was quite successful too! He managed to prosecute 28 ‘coiners’ as they were known and see that they were hung, drawn and quartered.

Here’s One More Interesting Fact For You

If you are wondering just what you are going to do with your own collection of old or unused UK coins, why not send them on over to the helpful and friendly team at Cash4Coins? We handle everything for you during the coin exchange process – you don’t even need to count or sort your coins. We will then give you a quote for your coins and if you are happy we will deposit the exchange amount directly into your account.

Pimp My Pound! Royal Mint Gives £1 Coin A Modern Twist And Robust Security

The £1 coin as we know it is soon to be given a facelift, according to the Royal Mint. This summer, a public consultation will take place before the final decision is made on specific factors such as the shape of the new coin and even the metal it is made from.

The new £1 coin isn’t just undergoing a visual makeover. There are some high tech talks going on behind closed doors regarding the security of the new coin. The Royal Mint has been working hard to develop a coin security system that will make counterfeiting the new coin much harder and that will help to secure the new coins as they circulate around the world.

Fancy Yourself A Coin Designer?

Of course, there are only certain aspects of the design that can be changed. The size needs to largely stay to same so that the coin can fit into parking meters, slot machines and the good old shopping trolley. The Queen’s head also needs to be featured, but if you want to try your hand at designing a new ‘tails’ side of the coin, a public design competition will be launched soon and we’ll be bringing you news of that and also news of the introduction of the coin, expected to be in 2017.

The design proposed for the new £1 coin is going to be distinctly British. Featuring twelve sides, the coin will bring back memories of the threepence piece that was legal tender before decimalisation.

Stopping Forgers In Their Tracks

The coin will be made from two different coloured metals and contain new security features that will make it harder for forgeries to be made. The iSIS security feature is a revolutionary new coin security system developed at the Royal Mint.

The Integrated Secure Identification Systems (iSIS) has been designed to make the entire cash cycle more secure. The aim of the system is to protect retailers, the public, the banking system, vending machine operators and the coins themselves. We will bring you more information about iSIS in a later post as it really makes for interesting reading.

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said, “After thirty years loyal service, the time is right to retire the current £1 coin, and replace it with the most secure coin in the world. With advances in technology making high value coins like the £1 ever more vulnerable to counterfeiters, it’s vital that we keep several paces ahead of the criminals to maintain the integrity of our currency. I am particularly pleased that the coin will take a giant leap into the future, using cutting edge British technology while at the same time, paying tribute to the past in the 12-sided design of the iconic threepenny bit.”

Exchange Your Old Fashioned Currency Here!

With the new polymer bank notes and the new security for the £1 coin, it’s only a matter of time before our old less secure coins go out of circulation, and when they do you can be sure Cash4Coins will be here to exchange them for you. We offer foreign currency exchange services for all coins that are no longer legal tender no matter what their country of origin.


Are £20 Coins Legal Tender?

Since they were first introduced in 2013, there has been some confusion over whether the first £20 coin to be released in the UK is legal tender. The simple answer is “Yes it is!”, but we wanted to give you a little more detail than that!

What Does Legal Tender Mean?

The term ‘legal tender’ refers to any coin, note or object that can be used to settle a debt. If you pay a debt using legal tender you cannot be sued for non-payment.

Coins in the UK are regulated by the Coinage Act of 1971. One of the items within the regulations states that the following coins and denominations shall be legal tender:

  • Coins made from silver or cupro-nickel of a denomination of  more than 10 pence,  for payment of any amount not exceeding £10.
  • Coins made from silver or cupro-nickel of a denomination of not more than 10 pence, for payment of any amount not exceeding £5.
  • Coins made from bronze, for payment of any amount not exceeding 20 pence.

So this means that a shop is not legally required to accept more than 20 pence in copper coins – although most will be willing to do so to be courteous.

But Wait…There’s No Mention Of The £20 Coin Being Legal Tender

There is also no mention of the £5 coin being legal tender. That is because both of these coins were released after the Coinage Act of 1971 was formulated.

This meant that the £20 coin and £5 received some very special attention in order to be recognised as legal tender.

Here is a breakdown on the Royal Mint’s legal tender guidelines:

£20 – for any amount

£5 (Crown) – for any amount

£2 – for any amount

£1 – for any amount

50p – for any amount not exceeding £10

25p (Crown) – for any amount not exceeding £10

20p – for any amount not exceeding £10

10p – for any amount not exceeding £5

5p – for any amount not exceeding £5

2p – for any amount not exceeding 20p

1p – for any amount not exceeding 20p

The Royal Proclamation

Any coin to be legal tender that is not included in the Coinage Act of 1971 needs to be issued with a Royal Proclamation from the Queen. Thanks to Queen Elizabeth being advised by her Privy Council to issue a proclamation, we are now able to use £20 and £5 coins as we would any other legal tender.

Hurray! So I Can Spend Them In The Shops Then?

Ah, don’t go rushing down to the corner shop with your big shiny coin just yet. Whilst the £20 has been deemed legal tender it has not yet been designed to be a circulating coin. That means you can still use it to settle a debt in court, but you will probably find that your corner shop or your bank will not accept a £20 coin in exchange for goods or services.

We Can Exchange Your Commemorative Coins!

The great thing about Cash4Coins is that we can exchange all of your legal tender coins whether they are in circulation or not. It’s quick easy and convenient to exchange commemorative coins with us and we will give you a quick valuation to consider at your leisure. Then, if you accept we will deposit the payment for your coins into your nominated bank account ready to spend on whatever you like!

Bank Of England Withdraws £50 Note From Circulation

Tomorrow is the day that the Bank of England will withdraw the Houblon £50 note from circulation. The note, featuring the portrait of Sir John Houblon (shown below) has been in circulation since 1994 and was released to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Bank of England.

Spend Them, Exchange Them Or Deposit Them Quick!

At the time of writing, the Bank of England estimates that there are still over 50 million notes out in the wild amounting to a total of £2.65bn. If you have any of these notes in your possession, you are strongly advised to deposit, spend or exchange them as quickly as possible. From May 2014 onwards, shops across the UK are unlikely to accept the old notes as payment and most UK banks will only exchange Houblon £50 notes for members of the public until 30 October 2014.

Here is some advice from the Bank of England on what to do with your Houblon £50 notes:

Are Other Notes Affected?

The remaining bank notes featuring James Watt and Matthew Boulton will stay legal however.

Why Is The Houblon £50 Note Being Withdrawn?

The reason why the Houblon note is affected whilst the other notes remain in circulation is to crack down on fraud. The Watts and Boulton notes feature a green ‘motion thread’ running through them and windows that feature the number 50 and a pound symbol making these notes much harder to counterfeit.

Trivia Fact: Who Was Sir John Houblon?

Sir John Houlbon was the first governor of the Bank of England.

Do You Have Any Withdrawn Coins You Would Like To Exchange?

At Cash4Coins we keep a close eye on the Bank of England and the currency industry in general. If you have any coins that are no longer legal tender we would be delighted to accept them and to exchange them for a good price. Sending us your coins is easy and we will give you a competitive valuation. Once you accept the valuation we will deposit the money directly to the account or charity of your choice. It really couldn’t be easier!

Written by Dave Barker. Dave Barker is a currency specialist and writes on a number of topics relating to the history of currency and how to make the most of your unwanted foreign coins and notes. You can find him on Google+.

You Won’t Believe What Old Banknotes Once Looked Like

Did you know that the paper money that we know and love (but never quite seem to have enough of!) originated in Britain during the 17th Century? Well, actually the first recorded use of paper money was in China during the 7th century, but its use was not widespread until nearly a thousand years later.

A Brief History Of The English Banknote

Money in Britain back then was not in general circulation but was given to goldsmith bankers as a receipt for depositing gold. The Bank of England, when it first started in 1694, would also issue notes or receipts for any cash (coin) deposits. These notes would feature the words ‘or the bearer’ and a promise was made by the bank to the depositor to pay up when the depositor brought back their receipt or note from the bank – this is where the term bank note comes from.

It was during the 18th century that fixed denominations came in. On these notes the £ sign and the first digit were printed on the note whilst other details such as the exact figure and the payee’s name would be written on by hand. Some notes would be made out in uneven amounts, but on the most part they were made out to round sums of money. By the year 1745, banknotes were being printed in denominations ranging from £20 to £1000.

Here is the oldest known banknote issued by the Bank of England in 1699.

Here is the original one pound note from around 1797. It went through several changes between the years of 1779 and 1821 and further changes until its withdrawal in 1988 when the one pound coin was introduced.

When Not To Send Us Your Unwanted Currency

At Cash4Coins we are always encouraging you to send us your foreign coins so that we can turn them into real money that you can use, and that applies to withdrawn notes too! However,  we probably would have refrained when it comes to the bank note below. This withdrawn five pound note from 1913 was sold at auction for £1,700!

Do you have any old banknotes at home? We’d love to see some photos of your collection or to hear any stories about old money that you can share with us. Have you ever sold a note or coin at auction or bought a special coin for your collection?  Send us your stories and photos and we will publish them on our blog and our social media page. Get in touch with us today by calling us on 0161 635 0000 or emailing us at

Exchange Foreign Currency The Easy Way With Cash4Coins

Remember, we exchange any foreign currency regardless of the country it came from or whether it is still legal tender. Why not take a look in old drawers or travel wallets today to see how much you could make on the money that you are otherwise not using?  You might be surprised at how much you get back. It’s easy to exchange your foreign currency and you could have the money in your bank account very quickly.

Written by Dave Barker. Dave Barker is a currency specialist and writes on a number of topics relating to the history of currency and how to make the most of your unwanted foreign coins and notes. You can find him on Google+.


How To Change Spanish Pesetas For Sterling

Since the euro replaced the peseta in 2002, we have seen a huge amount of Spanish pesetas being sent to us here at Cash4Coins. If you have a large stash of Spanish currency at home doing nothing, did you know we can put that money to good use for you?

At Cash4Coins we offer a foreign coin exchange service like no other and we deal in any currency regardless of its type. We can even exchange old British coins if you have any that are no longer legal tender.  Over the years, we have helped schools, colleges, businesses, charities and domestic customers to get a great price for their unwanted currency.

Whether you need money for your organisation or you are just looking for a little rainy day money, why not send in your Spanish pesetas so that we can give you a good valuation?  If you are not happy with our valuation, we will simply send back your coins.

We Will Even Sort And Count Your Spanish Pesetas For You

If you have a large amount of Spanish pesetas you can send them in on their own or mixed in with other foreign currency. We do the hard work for you by sorting and counting your coins. Once this is done we will send you our valuation. You don’t have to accept our valuation but if you do we will have your money deposited to you in no time. You can choose to have money sent to your own bank account, your PayPal account or a nominated charity of your choice.

And talking of charities, many charities have approached us for help with fund raising and we are always more than happy to assist. Why not start a foreign coin donation campaign as most people have foreign coins at home – remember, we exchange all types of foreign coin and not just Spanish pesetas.

New Year Means Decluttering – How Much Foreign Currency Will You Find?

If one of your new year’s resolutions was to declutter the house, you might be surprised when you find an old collection of Spanish pesetas or another foreign currency. We are all in a bit of a post-holiday daze when we return from a foreign land and this can mean old coins simply get put into a jar or left in a drawer. No matter how many coins you find or what the currency, we would be delighted to help you turn them into cold hard cash that you can get your hands on in a matter of days.

Send Us Your Foreign Coins – It’s Easy Money!

It’s never been easier or quicker to make a bit of money when you use Cash4Coins. Once we receive your coins we will be in touch very quickly to tell you how much your coins are worth. Think what you could do with your money – a night out, some new clothes or even enough for another holiday!  Take a look around your home now for those lurking Spanish pesetas and other foreign currency. You could be sitting on a little goldmine.




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