Official images (notice the date is 2014 not 2017)
Very nice, bearing in mind already all denominations of our coinage have various and differing designs on the reverse side, and we are also looking forward to our first plastic bank notes.
I read a little while ago that today’s pound buys 91% less than it did 40 odd years ago, when oh yeah, we had just gone ‘decimal’ (15th Feb 1971). Therefore, our pound has around 8 times as much buying power as the threepenny bit did, which for all you young people was ¼ of a shilling (today’s 5p) , which in turn was 1/20 of a pound.
I’m afraid I still sometimes convert today’s money to the old pounds, shillings and pence (£SD) and remember quite a bit of what 3d used to buy:- A slim bar of Cadbury’s chocolate, 12 flapjacks or fruit salad chewy sweets, 3 gob stoppers, 3 liquorice wheels, 2oz of most boiled sweets, jelly babies or jelly beans, and insurance.
I say insurance because once a month the insurance guy always seemed to knock on the door before Mum or Dad got home, and the only way I could pay him was to raid the whiskey jar of threepenny bits. The premium was 2/6d (12 ½ p), so he’d get 10 coins, and duly record the receipt of said amount in the book.
It’s going to be interesting the knock on effect this ‘unforgeable’ coin is going to have before it’s introduced. All vending machines, launderette washers and dryers, toll machines, car park meters and supermarket trolleys will have to be adapted, though the chances are the supermarkets will reintroduce their smiley faced tokens at £1 each for the purpose. Of course, this will boost their profits as customers will have to initially buy them rather than use their own £1 which is retrieved when returning the trolley to the bay (unless of course they keep an old one specifically for the purpose) .
It will also play hell with coin sorters.
I know this from first hand experience as my job many moons ago was counting money brought back from site vending machines, using two huge sorters due to the volume of mixed coin.
Each machine had cloth bags for £250 of 50p and 20p, £100 for 10p and 5p, and £20 for 1p, 2p and ½ p, so you get the idea of size here.
I cleaned the machines every day as a build up of dirt or grease on the drop slots and sensors could have pennies registering as 20p or 10ps as 50p, which not only threw the relevant vending machine’s monetary figures, but also meant that a full cloth bag holding £250 of either coin actually didn’t. If necessary, I had to use a single denomination counting machine to check each full bag, then make any adjustment. More figurework, but hey, I loved it and didn’t mind if it happened once in a while.
When the first pound coins came into circulation, they would jam my machines as there was no slot for them and they were too fat to go anywhere else. Until the sorters could be modified, £1 coins would be fished out of the vending machine cash box by the operator and put in a separate bag, but one or two would always slip through, and a dramatic ‘clunk’ meant me taking the machine apart to retrieve the offending coin. Most of the time though, my then keen eyesight would see them in the hopper before they went into the sorting drum.
Coin sizes have changed a lot since then, mainly being smaller and minted in different metals, and the ½ p was taken out of circulation at the end of 1984. It was rumoured last year that our penny may also be withdrawn in the near future.
Who knows, maybe the Penny slot will become the new Pound slot instead (in three years time the pound will probably be worth about that anyway) .
According to a BBC report in September 2008, The Royal Mint advised that there are over 30 million fake pound coins in circulation.
I’m wondering if any old threepenny bits will be mistaken for the new pound when they come into circulation in 2017.
Shame I haven’t got any, and the whiskey jar bit the dust years ago.