Edge Inscriptions on the Round One Pound Coin

one pound edge inscription

Since the old round one pound coin ceased to be legal tender on 15 October 2017, it seems that collectors have taken more interest in it. I suppose when it’s an everyday coin we just spend it; now it’s obsolete we can devote more time to examining the detail and intricacies of the design.

One of the interesting features of the round pound was the edge inscription. Although it is not uncommon to have edge inscriptions they do not appear on all coins as plain or milled edges are often used.

Pound coin inscriptions appeared in most years, but incuse patterns were sometimes used instead.

Edge inscription upside down?

You hear of collectors having ‘error coins’ where the coin has been mis-struck. There’s big excitement over the edge inscription being upside down.

Sorry to disappoint but according to the Royal Mint there is no right way up. The edge inscription is rolled onto the coin blank before the blank is struck so it’s 50-50 which way up the inscription will appear.

What does the Latin inscription text mean?

One of the most popular questions for collectors is ‘What does the Latin inscription mean?’. Here’s a list of the common translations and their etymology.

Edge Inscription Translation/etymology
DECUS ET TUTAMEN ‘An ornament and a safeguard’ from Virgil’s Aeneid
NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT ‘No one provokes me with impunity’. The Motto of the Order of the Thistle
PLEIDIOL WYF I’M GWLAD ‘True am I to my country’ from the Welsh National Anthem
PRO TANTO QUID RETRIBUAMUS ‘What shall we give in return for so much.’ The Motto of Belfast
DOMINE DIRIGE NOS ‘Lord direct us.’ The Motto of London
Y DDRAIG GOCH DDYRY CYCHWYN ‘The Red Dragon shall lead’ The Motto of Cardiff
NISI DOMINUS FRUSTRA ‘It is vain without the Lord’ The Motto of Edinburgh

One Pound

Saving your old round pounds for the future

The round pound coin is made from low-cost nickel-brass  and there has been a lot of coins made and still in existence. Production of pound coins is usually in the 10’s of million and sometimes in the 100’s.

Some years are better than others. Condition is everything and you need coins that are close to perfect condition. Store them well.

If you are thinking of saving your old round pounds for the future, you may as well as you can’t spend them and most have little value at the moment.

But it’s going to be a long time before most of these coins are worth anything.

For individual pound coin details and mintage figures see our knowledge base entry: One Pound Coin.


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