Magical Pound? – 30 Years of the Pound Coin

by Adam on April 18, 2013

This Sunday (21st April, 2013) marks the 30th anniversary of the launch of the £1 coin.

Launched at the height of the Conservative Government, the £1 coin was reportedly disliked by the late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, however, its popularity, and distinctive design led to its forerunner, the £1 note, eventually being withdrawn from circulation in 1988.

The buying power of the little guy has gone down considerably over the last 30 years but it’s still pretty special to many of us, right?

In 1983, chocoholics could buy  5.9 Mars bars for £1 compared to just 1.7 now. Probably a good thing?

For football fans in 1983, £1 would let you watch 34 minutes of a Manchester United match, while you wouldn’t even manage to watch injury time at Old Trafford, with £1 today buying just three minutes of action.

And music fans have suffered too: Fans of Glastonbury would be able to see over 6 hours of entertainment for £1 in 1983, compared to just under an hour now.

The average family’s shopping basket has increased in price too, with a loaf of bread increasing over 300 per cent, milk increasing over 250 per cent and the cost of eggs having surged by more than 400 per cent.

The reason for the decrease in the value of a pound coin is inflation, and that’s why you need to be investing your magical pennies to keep up!

Happy Birthday £1 Coin!



But Are Coins As Special Anymore?

In a recent study over half of Brits now prefer to use plastic for the majority of their purchases.

Cash still remains king for small ticket items such as newspapers and magazines, over half of Brits (53%) prefer to use plastic for most of their purchases.

The survey commissioned by found that 34% of people try to pay with cash whenever possible and 48% said that they didn’t like being without any cash, with this figure rising to 57% for people aged 55 and over.

 As a result, cash is the main method of payment for purchases under a fiver, with 92% of those surveyed saying that they would use cash.

However, for items costing between £5 and £20, just over half (52%) said that they would pay by cash while a third would use their debit card, and 13% would pay by credit card.  With two in five people saying they don’t like to carry a lot of cash around, plastic dominates purchases over £20:

Value of goods

Payment method (%)

£20.01 to £30 debit card (51), cash (28), credit card (20)
£30.01 to £50 debit card (54), credit card (23), cash (21)
£50.01 to £100 debit card (54), credit card (30), cash (13)

The survey found that cash was the preferred method of payment for newspapers (84%), magazines (80%), a round of drinks (78%), a takeout (71%) and when paying tradesmen (56%).

John Miles from, commented: “Over the thirty years since the pound coin came into circulation, the way we pay for goods and services has changed dramatically with the development of debit cards, chip and pin, electronic and other contactless payment systems.  Despite this, our practical as well as emotional attachment to cash remains strong, particularly for older people, so it looks like the pound coin is going to be around for a good while yet.”

Do you still love coins? Or do you prefer the convenience of plastic?

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