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130 million old £1 coins still out there: what to do if you have one

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An estimated 131 million old round £1 coins have yet to be returned to the Royal Mint, nearly three years after they were withdrawn from circulation. update: See our latest story on £105m old £1 coins still unaccounted for. There are still £10bn worth of old, paper £20 and £50 notes in in circulation. See our article to find out what to do with them after they stopped being legal tender.

The “most secure” 12-sided £1 coin entered circulation in March 2017, while the old round £1 coin lost its legal tender status in October 2017.

Exclusive figures from the Royal Mint for reveal £131m worth of old pound coins have yet to be returned to the Royal Mint.

Within the first year of them being withdrawn from circulation, as estimated 169 million were still unaccounted for.

If you find an old £1 coin, you can’t spend it but you can take it to your bank to deposit into your account at the following: Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Clydesdale, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds, Nationwide, NatWest, The Post Office, RBS, Santander, Ulster and Yorkshire Bank.

However, the Royal Mint said these banks are under no obligation to exchange coins with non-customers, and they could impose deposit limits so it’s best to check before you go.

And given the coronavirus pandemic, banks stress that counter services should be used by those with urgent banking issues.

Here’s what the banks told us:


Customers can still exchange old coins and notes. Small amounts can be exchanged without going through a customer’s account, while larger amounts will need to be deposited into the account.

Coins must be bagged up and must not be damaged or corroded.

However, given the current situation, only essential visits should be made to branch, such as if the money is needed for groceries, for example.


Customers can either use old £1 coins to deposit into their bank accounts, or they can be swapped for new ones.

However, it stressed that branches remain open to focus on providing essential services to customers, and to ensure those who are vulnerable or in financial difficulty, can continue to speak to staff.

A spokesperson, said: “While we continue to accept coin and cash deposits within branch for customers who are doing their essential banking, we encourage customers only to visit a branch if it is absolutely necessary.”


HSBC is taking a “common sense approach” and while it offers essential counter services at this time, where customers have these coins and have an essential need to exchange, then they will be able to do so.

Customers can continue to bring old £1 coins to branch. If customers have a nominal amount, they may be swapped for newer coins. Larger sums will need to be paid into an account for audit purposes. There is branch discretion here.

HSBC won’t accept old coins from non-customers.


Customers must pay the money into their account and can then make a withdrawal if required.

There’s no minimum that can be paid in but it typically allows a maximum of five bags of coins (£20 each) per account, though this is discretionary. There’s no maximum that can be deposited into children’s accounts.

A spokesperson, said: “We continue to accept coins and notes in our branches. However, to ensure we adhere to government guidelines on social distancing, we continue to ask members to consider whether making a visit to the branch is essential at this time.”

NatWest/RBS/Ulster Bank

Customers can still deposit or exchange old £1 coins. In current circumstances, the banks, part of the RBS Group, advise people to only come to branches if they really need to. They don’t advise emptying an old coin jar and coming to branch for this reason.

However, they will assess a customer’s needs on an individual basis and if a customer needs to make a deposit of this type, then the group said it would facilitate it.

Post Office

It accepts the old £1 coin and notes for payment for goods and services or for deposits into accounts, but not for simply exchanging.

It confirms the service is still available during the health crisis and there are no limits.


Customers with a Santander current or savings account can deposit old £1 coins into their account at any of its branches. They can’t exchange old coins for new ones over the counter.

There’s no minimum deposit amount, but the bank allows a maximum of six full bags of coins, equating to £120 a day.

It said it doesn’t expect this service to be withdrawn any time soon (it still accepts the old 50p which was withdrawn over 20 years ago) but urges people to consider whether a trip to a branch is essential at the moment.

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