Designing change:
coins of Elizabeth II

18 September 2008 – 1 March 2009

Exhibition closed

Room 69a

This small display features the new designs for all United Kingdom coins up to the £1 coin, alongside the designs that have been in use since decimalisation nearly 40 years ago.

The first decimal coins came into circulation in 1971 and were designed by Christopher Ironside. Some of his intricate designs for the reverses of the first decimal coins are on display and show the process of developing these miniature works of art that are used every day. Unsuccessful entries and early sketches for the now-familiar coin designs are also included.

The designs for the new reverses are by Matt Dent. They are based on the royal shield of arms and were chosen in a public competition. The designs are shown alongside trial pieces, models, and the dies used to produce the new coins. Some of the other entries to the public competition for new designs are also featured in the exhibition.

In collaboration with the Royal Mint

Further information

Read the press release

design for the United Kingdom two pence coin, 1966-68

Christopher Ironside, design for the United Kingdom two pence coin, 1966–68