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Unlike most other members of the European Union who use the euro (), the unit of currency in the United Kingdom is the pound sterling (£). It is divided into 100 pence (p). Here are some details of individual coins and banknotes.


On the reverse of each coin you will find the head of the current king or queen. At the moment, Queen Elizabeth II.

1 penny - 1p

The one penny coin is made of copper.
It pictures the portcullis of Westminster Palace.

2 pence - 2p

This coin is also made out of copper. It pictures the insignia of the Royal Regiment of Wales.

5 pence - 5p

This coin shows the symbol of Scotland, the thistle. On top of the thistle you can see the British crown.

10 pence - 10p

This coin shows a lion. For centuries it was a proud symbol of Britain's strength.
The lion is wearing the crown of the British Monarch.

20 pence - 20p

The 20 pence coin shows the national flower of England, a rose.
On top you find again the British crown.

50 pence - 50p

This coin shows the picture of the elegant Britannia. She is holding a spear which means she is master over the seas of the world.

1 pound - £1

There are many different pictures on the £1 coin. This one shows the British Royal Standard. A lion and a unicorn stand gracefully at each side of a shield and the British crown.

2 pounds - £2

This coin is bi-metallic.



There are £ 5,  £ 10, £ 20 and £ 50 bank notes in circulation. Here are reproductions of the three lower values. The £ 50 note is fairly rare, and sometimes difficult to spend. Many shopkeepers won't accept it because of the large number of forgeries in circulation.


The new £5 note depicts the social reformer Elizabeth Fry. However, the old version picturing George Stephenson, the most important pioneer of steam locomotion, is still in circulation.

The £ 10 note features a portrait of Charles Darwin ( the author and naturalist).

The £ 20 note features a portrait of Sir Edward Elgar (the composer). The building shown at the left of the note is Worcester Cathedral.

Click here to visit the Bank of England website.