How to Identify British Coins

Written by contributing writer
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If you're travelling to the UK in the near future, you'll want to become acquainted with the currency. Below is a quick guide the coinage you'll be using. All UK coins currently have a cameo portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on one side.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    £2 piece: This coin is larger than the others, and heavier, sporting both gold and silver metals. The edge is inscribed with the quote "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants," by Sir Issac Newton, and the inner silver coin has varying themes.

    How to Identify British Coins
  2. 2

    £1: This coin is small, heavy and gold coloured. It will be inscribed with one of three country crests (Three lions for England, a thistle for Scotland, and a leek for Wales).

    How to Identify British Coins
  3. 3

    50p, or 50 pence, is worth 1/2 of £1. It is a large coin with flat edges, featuring Britannia sitting astride a lion, and is entirely silver in colour.

    How to Identify British Coins
  4. 4

    20p, or 20 pence, is a small coin with flat edges, silver in colour and inscribed with the Tudor Rose (the rose is the national flower of England). It is worth 1/5 of £1.

    How to Identify British Coins
  5. 5

    10p, or 10 pence, is a large, silver coin with rounded edges, featuring a lion wearing the royal crown. It is worth 1/10 of £1, and is similar in size and shape to a US Quarter coin.

    How to Identify British Coins
  6. 6

    5p, or 5 pence, is a very small coin, silver in colour, featuring a thistle (the symbol of Scotland). It is worth 1/20 of £1.

    How to Identify British Coins
  7. 7

    2p, or a Tuppence/Tupenny, is a large, copper coin featuring the Prince of Wales feathers. It is worth 1/50 of £1.

    How to Identify British Coins
  8. 8

    1p or one penny is similar in size and appearance to a US penny (small and copper). It pictures the portcullis of Westminster Palace and is worth 1/100 of £1.

    How to Identify British Coins

Tips and warnings

  • All UK coins feature the number of their worth somewhere on the face of the coin.

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