old British coins- still good?

Someone gave us old change he had from previous trips. Any idea on how to confirm what we have is still legal tender in circulation before we lug it over there?

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
781 posts

Ignoring commemoratives etc, the following are still legal tender: 1p, 2p - all (1971-) 5p - small size (1990-) 10p - small size (1992-) 20p - all (1982-) 50p - small size (1997-) £1 - all (1985-)
£2 - all (1997-)

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

How old? Whose likeness? Half pennies and farthings won't go very far anymore, if that was the question.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10884 posts

Just depends on the age of the coins. We have some from prior to the change over. I think we goggled British coins or something close to that and found that they have a very limited collector's value in the US. Maybe a dollar or two per coin. And, I vaguely remember that one of the British banks will take the coins if they are the old coins. But will not swear to that today.

Posted by Sheila
Georgetown
23 posts

There are numerous coins of numerous values, denominations and years. i am wondering if there is a place where I can find out what is still in circulation.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

Let's try again for simplicity. When were these previous trip? Whose mug is on the coins?

Posted by Tom
Chicago
2876 posts

I don't think British currency has changed since they adopted decimalization over 40 years ago.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

That's where I was trying to get her to go. Farthings were around when I was a kid, and the last half penny I remember was the mid-eighties.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11276 posts

When the British went from 240 Pence to 100 New Pence to the Pound Sterling, the Shilling, which had been 12 Pence or 1/20 of a Pound, was retained, becoming 5 New Pence. I have British coins from around 1990. I have earlier coins that say One Shilling and were being used alongside new Shillings that said 5 (New) Pence. All old coins smaller than the Shilling (6 Pence or Half Schilling, Pence, Half Pence) had been taken out of circulation by then. I understand that the 1990 Shilling, which were roughly the size of our Half Dollar, were replaced with a smaller coin (same value), so I expect that the large Shilling is no longer in circulation.

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
2858 posts

I was in England in 1969. They were still using the old system. I never did understand the monetary value of the shilling, but costs were expressed in pounds, shillings, and pence. The decimal system is much easier to handle.

Posted by Philip
London, United Kingdom
1699 posts

Anything before decimalisation in the early 1970s will be completely out of date. Post-decimalisation, half-pence coins are no longer accepted. The size of the 50p, 20p, 10p and 5p coins was reduced in the early 90s and the larger older ones are no longer accepted.

Posted by Rebecca
Nashville, TN, USA
645 posts

If any of them say "Canute" on them, send them to me. You could turn them face down on your scanner, scan, send with an email to either a British bank or coin shop and ask them.

Posted by Charles
Austin, Texas, USA
308 posts

I was just there in June and it looks like they have newly designed coins when all put together make a coat of arms. However, I don't think any demoninations changed. It was similar to what was done to the back of our pennies and some other coins recently.

Posted by Sheila
Georgetown
23 posts

Yes, Marco's post is very helpful. Don;t want to lug over change that no one will accept. Thank you very much. now i just have to weed through all those coins. Yuck!

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7211 posts

I have coins (bought at a flea market) that are pre-Elizabeth, (I believe George VI?). As far as I know they are no longer legal tender but I bought them for my coin collection. Maybe they can be traded in, but that opportunity may have expired years ago.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7211 posts

I have coins (bought at a flea market) that are pre-Elizabeth, (I believe George VI?). As far as I know they are no longer legal tender but I bought them for my coin collection. Maybe they can be traded in, but that opportunity may have expired years ago.

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
781 posts

Pre decimal bronze coins are worth about 10 times their face value in scrap copper. Pre 1947 silver coins are worth roughly 40 times their face value in scrap (50% silver). Some banks still accept in coins at face value, which is of most use for 1947- silver which is better than their scrap value. All Bank of England notes right back to 1694 are still worth their face value if exchanged at the Bank, although many would have collector value far in excess of this.

Posted by Iain
Edmonton, AB, Canada
668 posts

All coins have a date on them. If they are dated after 1970 they are "new" and are perfectly useable. If the pennies are dated prior to that and are large - bigger than any NA coins - they are probably worth more than their face value. Same is true of threepenny bits, halfpennies and farthings. Other coins will be interchangeable.

Posted by Keith
United Kingdom
683 posts

" If they are dated after 1970 they are "new" and are perfectly useable". I disagree! Try spending a "five new pence" from the 1970s and you will find out how wrong that statement is. As Marco's list noted, you need coins that are current. Also "legal tender" is irrelevant for most tourists visiting here - what matters is can you use them. Again, Marco has given the list where the answer is "yes".