Old pound coins are legal tender

How many types of pounds sterling are there and what is the relationship between them?

There is a pound sterling represented by the Bank of England, Scottish and Northern Irish banknotes, and Royal Mint coins (there are no separate coins in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland).

Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands and Saint Helena (overseas territories) as well as Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man (crown dependencies) each have their own pounds linked one-to-one with the pound sterling. They each issue their own banknotes (according to their own designs) and coins (which have the same weights and compositions as Royal Mint coins but have different patterns). In theory, they could be listed on the stock exchange. In that case there would be an actual exchange rate. But the governments of these overseas territories and crown dependencies choose to keep the bond at the same level.

Historically, the Republic of Ireland issued its own pound (or punt in Irish) and was held at the pound sterling level until 1979 when it went public and there was an exchange rate until the Irish pound became part of the euro in 1999.

Then there is the separate question of the acceptance of banknotes and coins. The legal tender does not matter in a shop - it is always up to the shopkeeper which notes to accept. This is only important for paying a debt (e.g. in a restaurant or taxi where the service has already been performed before payment), and even then, any banknote from a company other than a bank may be rejected as she believes it may be a fake (banks will take the fake and destroy it instead). It is for this reason that many stores and other companies do not accept notes that they are not familiar with because they are concerned about fakes and cannot tell real notes from fake ones. Not only does this affect non-English banknotes in England and Wales (especially in smaller businesses and outside of major cities), but also the £ 50 Bank of England banknote which is not widely used (few ATMs dispense £ 50 ) and is often rejected.

Scottish and Northern Irish banknotes are generally more likely to be accepted in England by larger companies, in large cities and (for Scottish banknotes) near the border - that is, in places where they are more likely to be seen. The darker notes are less likely to be accepted in business. You may need to take them to a bank to exchange for Bank of England notes. All banks are required to do this with Scottish and Northern Irish banknotes; In practice, they will usually work with Crown Dependency or Treasury Bonds overseas, but technically this is a currency exchange that they might charge for. In practice, they don't.

Northern Irish notes are more accepted than before; The confusion with the Irish pound meant that many were concerned about accepting it and mistakenly taking a foreign currency that was worth slightly less than the pound sterling (such as US and Canadian dollars). With Ireland's changeover to the euro, these concerns have subsided.

CD and OT coins, being the same weight and composition as Royal Mint coins, all work in vending machines and are widely accepted by almost all companies (sometimes without realizing that it is a non-Royal Mint coin to take).


Excellent explanation! If only shopkeepers say so when rejecting unknown banknotes instead of claiming they are not valid


: This is wrong; Coins and notes from OTs are used by businesses in the UK in general Not accepted (but mostly accepted by vending machines as the weight as you indicated is the same). Banks here in Guernsey (and the other CDs and OTs) can exchange OT and CD coins and notes for British ones. It is advisable to do this before traveling to the UK