Over time, as metal values have risen in currency terms, our coinage has
been slowly debased. Silver coins were originally just that, which is
how we got the name of that grade as being sterling silver. As time
passed, and the actual value of the metal increased, so the silver
content decreased. A sovereign used to be a pound's worth of gold of a
defined purity, verified by the stamped design. Sovereign coins showed a
face value of one pound, but now change hands for slightly more than
their scrap values, with the design verifying the purity and the design
and weight telling you they are untampered with. They are a handy way to
carry and transfer value while having no embarrassing contact with "the
The scrap value of the original coins you mention is now more than the
face value when they were introduced, so to reduce the temptation to
melt them down and weigh them in, they are now made of steel with a
coating of the original metal.
Another point is that it would be silly to issue coins that cost more
than their face value to make...
On 30/12/2021 16:39, Brian Gaff (Sofa) wrote:
> I wonder why is it that if you use a magnet on some of our uk coins some are
> ferrous and some not even of the same denomination?
> Is there a reason for switching manufacture from one to the other?
> Most of the differences occur in 5p and 2p coins, and yet they look exactly
> the same apparently, ie the 5p is still silver and a sod to pick up and the
> 2p is a bit like our old penny and copper in colour.
Tciao for Now!