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1984: Quid notes out - pound coins in

The English pound note is to disappear after more than 150 years.

News of the familiar green 1 note's withdrawal came when Chancellor Nigel Lawson made his autumn statement in parliament on Monday.

Mr Lawson said the note - popularly known as a "quid" - would be phased out and replaced by coins which were introduced last April.

It was widely expected that 1 notes would rapidly be withdrawn.

Their reprieve was credited largely to the intervention of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Speaking in parliament last December, Mrs Thatcher told MPs the pound coin was "not very popular" and she believed the pound note would be retained.

Ironically, 1 notes were greeted with public outrage when they were first put into widespread use as an emergency measure to replace gold sovereigns during World War I.

Despite general misgivings the new pound coin has been welcomed by some groups such as blind people because it is easy to distinguish.

It has also found favour among makers of ticket and vending machines.

Announcing the notes' withdrawal Chancellor Nigel Lawson told MPs that coins were slightly more expensive to produce but would last up to 50 times longer.

He said the Bank of England would stop issuing pound notes at the end of the year but they would continue to be legal tender until the end of next year.

The 1 notes used in Scotland and Northern Ireland are not being withdrawn.

The wider use of the largest denominator of coin in England is to be balanced by the withdrawal of the smallest - the half penny ceases to be legal tender from the end of this year.

It was introduced only relatively recently in 1971 as part of the decimalisation of British currency.

In Context
In 1986 the first 2 coin was introduced to commemorate the 13th Commonwealth Games which were held in Scotland in that year. Six further commemorative coins were issued until in 1997 a design was released for the first 2 coin to enter general circulation but due to technical difficulties it was not released to the banks until mid-1998.

The replacement of the pound note reflected a growing trend worldwide to phase out smaller denomination paper money.

However, in the US the $1 bill had survived an attempt in the 1970s to replace it with a coin.

Americans were resistant to giving up their beloved "greenbacks".

The US authorities did not try again until 2000, when a $1 coin was again introduced, this time to be used in tandem with the bill.


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