Bishop designs Britain's final 'round pound' as series ends

Noncirculating commemorative coin is last before 12-sided coin debuts
By , Coin World
Published : 06/03/16
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In the United Kingdom, a bishop has designed a new coin for the queen.

The Royal Mint told Coin World on June 2 that the final “round pound” design was available.

The commemorative design for 2016 is not being released into circulation, but is only available as a commemorative coin sold above face value, intended to “[capture] the moment that the round pound passes from currency to history,” according to the Royal Mint. 

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The last round circulating £1 coin was struck in December 2015, but this new commemorative is being minted to bid farewell to the “round pound” coins that have been in use since 1983. 

Beginning in 2017, a 12-sided £1 coin with groundbreaking security features will replace the existing round coin.

The design of the £1 coin has traditionally celebrated the four parts of the United Kingdom — either in the form of the Royal Arms, or in several series of national designs for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

Bishop creates design

The reverse of the 2016 commemorative £1 returns to the Royal Arms design, its signature theme, and is inspired by the fantastical beasts of British heraldry. It was created by the Bishop of St. Asaph, North Wales, Gregory Cameron.

Cameron said of his design: “I wanted to reflect the equality and dignity of all four nations that make up the United Kingdom. The ‘Royal Beasts’ of the four nations therefore receive equal billing, leaping to the defence of the sovereignty of our nation, and symbolic of our proud and varied history.”

Gregory Cameron is bishop of the Anglican Church in Wales, serving the Diocese of St. Asaph in North East Wales, and is an amateur artist and coin collector. Interested in heraldry since childhood, he has previously designed a coat of arms for the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Cameron had initially submitted his design for the new 12-sided coin, in a public competition. 

Though it wasn’t selected for the reshaped coin to be issued in 2017, it was so popular with the Royal Mint Advisory Committee that it was chosen for this commemorative Farewell Round Pound.

Throughout 2016, visitors to the new Royal Mint Experience will be able to strike their very own £1 coin featuring this powerful royal beasts design.

Ties to history

The first £1 coin featured a classic Royal Arms design created by Eric Sewell. 

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