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2002 the euro in circulation


Malcolm Levitt

E. U. Adviser - Barclays PLC

17th December, 1999


£. s. d. pre 1971 £1 = 20 Shillings = 240 pence

‘D’ Day £ p 15-2-1971 £1 = 100 new pence

New coins

New scale for measuring relative values

Acid tests for success were:

- acceptability

- understanding of the new system by the general public

£. s. d.     to    £.p

£1 note = £ note, value unchanged £note changed for coin later

10s. note 50p coin, same value i.e. ½ £

2s. 6d coin withdrawn

2s coin 10p, new design, value unchanged at 1/10th £

1s coin 5p 1/20th £, same value

6d coin 2½p, equivalent value

3d, 1d, ½d coins withdrawn

2p new (4.8d)                 )

1p new (2.4d)                 ) new coins

½p new (1.2d)                 )

Quite complicated change - new system for measuring relative values,

some coins withdrawn, some new coins introduced


Halsbury Committee 1961-63

Change and date announced 1-3-66; £1 = 100p i.e. ‘new penny’ as the smallest unit

Legislation approved July 1967 - confirming the coin units 

Decimal Currency Board, Dec 1966 - i.e. Parliamentary approval came later


Low value £.s.d coins legal tender during changeover

Enable machinery conversion/replacement

Shops encouraged to operate in either old or new system not both

Some coins useable either

Decimal shops customer’s change p

£.s.d shops - £.s.d change

Banks provided £.s.d coins on request but operated decimal otherwise

Banks closed 4 days pre-D day to convert accounts, machinery, clear £.s.d cheques

D day - cheques, bills all decimal immediately

No compensation to business/banks

Banks operated internally decimal from D day

Business encouraged to imitate banks

Long period of certainty/preparation

Govt. departments, Post Office, big business decimal D1; most wages in £p quickly

According to a DCB survey, 99% retailers decimal D + 6 weeks - under

50% dual pricing then legally changeover ended D + 6 months - in practice in 2 months

Success story


Early policy decisions

No fundamental political/public opposition

Long preparation period

Close co-operation DCB, Treasury, Mint, banks, machine companies, other sectors

BBA closely involved in DCB decisions - no policy decisions without consulting BBA

Effective publicity - acid test : public understanding and acceptance

24 months before D Day - booklets for retailers

21 months before D Day - booklets for teachers

18 months before D Day - public campaign aimed at business, trade associations

14 months before D Day - leaflets for general public in libraries

12 months before D day - booklets for every household

TV and radio campaign in final months


Early contacts with private sector

Research into volume of new coins needed while containing costs

Psychological research/testing of new coin designs

Frequent surveys of state of preparation - basis for publicity campaigns

reference guides for business, newsletters; special booklets (2 million) for all retailers early

Guide for every household - planned, tested over 18 months

Close co-operation with education authorities - guides for every teacher and every school

Shoppers conversion tables


Early planning of storage

- average turnover over 4 weeks in same period previous year

- cash centres

Pre-issue distribution crucial, over up to 2 years in advance

Major branches used by smaller, distribution to smaller near D day

Survey of all branch needs, storage, transport requirements

3,500 tons new coins distributed by Barclays

NB withdrawal of existing coins - parallel operation - collection from branches, collection dates set, ‘audit’ trail documentation established (branch, cash centre, mint, carrier)

Timing - low cash useage date set (February)

Co-operation essential


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Last updated January 03, 2005