The 2005 Menai Bridge £1 coin is an ‘old style’ £1 that was removed from circulation in 2017.
Some of these old £1 coins can be highly valuable, so let’s waste no time and jump into the specifications of the coin to see whether it is worth anything or rare.
How Rare Is The 2005 Menai Bridge £1 Coin?
When it comes to determining how rare a coin is, it’s best to look at the mintage figure.
Unfortunately, the Menai Bridge £1 had a circulating mintage of 99,429,500, which is a very large amount. This is partly due to the fact that it was the only £1 coin issued in 2005, and also because there wasn’t a standard issue £1 reverse design introduced until 2008.
Most other coins, such as the £2 or 50p, have dedicated reverse designs that run for periods of time alongside commemorative designs which have a much smaller mintage.
The old £1 coins were instead released as commemorative designs only until 2008, which is when the commemorative designs’ mintages reduced drastically. For example, the 2010 London £1 coin had a mintage of 2,635,000.
How Much Is The 2005 Menai Bridge £1 Coin Worth?
When we took a look at the sold values of the Menai Bridge £1 coin on eBay, things got interesting.
Despite the very large mintage, the coin sells for an average of £2.02 according to the most recent values in 2022. This is over double face value and shows that the demand from collectors for this particular coin is quite large.
Let’s take a look at the design of the coin so you can learn how to spot one of these coins.
Design Of The Menai Bridge £1 Coin
The Menai Bridge £1 is part of a four-part series starting in 2004 that represented bridges and pathways of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and England.
This 2005 coin represents Wales and its Menai Suspension Bridge surrounded by railings and stanchions. The initials EE are of the designer and found incuse in the left base of the bridge.
This series kicked off in 2004 with the Forth Railway Bridge £1 coin. The following year, 2005, it would feature the Menai Straits Bridge to represent Wales. In 2006, the coin represented Northern Ireland with the Egyptian Arch Railway Bridge. Finally, the coin featured the Millennium Bridge to represent England in 2007.
After 2017, when the £1 coins were redesigned to be a 12-edge shape, the older £1 coins could only be redeemed at banks. For a limited time, some retailers would also accept them. Today, collectors enjoy finding any that were not returned to the Royal Mint to be melted down.
Like other round pounds, the edge of the coin is milled to protect the coin from debasement. Unlike most £1 coins, the 2005 Menai Bridge £1 coin does not include the small crosslet mintmark or an inscription of words.
The edge of the 2005 Menai Bridge £1 coin is a milled edge that includes an incuse decorative feature that symbolized bridges and pathways. Around the edge are two pathways that intersect each other several times in almost an infinity or figure-8 pattern all the way around the coin.
Wales was first represented on the £1 round coin in 1985 and again in 1990 with the leek design. Wales was then represented with a Dragon in 1995 and 2000. In 2011, Wales would be represented on the £1 coin with the Coat of arms of Cardiff. Finally, in 2013, Wales would be represented with the leek and daffodil.
Wales has not been represented on the coin since the £1 coin changed to be a 12-sided, bi-metallic coin in 2017.
The obverse of the 2005 Menai Bridge coin is the design of Ian Rank-Broadley. This new designer was more of a realist than the previous designer and not afraid to show the queen looking a bit more mature. He also made the image as large as he could.
He depicted Her Majesty wearing the “Girls of Great Britain and Ireland” diamond tiara. The tiara was a wedding gift from Queen Mary, her grandmother, in 1947. The inscription surrounding her portrait was ELIZABETH II D.G. REG.F.D. followed by the minting year. Translated, the inscription means Elizabeth II Dei Gratia Regina, by the grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith. The designer’s initials IRB are seen directly under the neckline of the image.
What Does The Coin Represent?
As the name implies, the design pays homage to the Menai Straits Bridge. It was the world’s first major suspension bridge that was completed in 1826 to span the Menai Strait between the Island of Anglesey and the mainland of Wales. The bridge was designed by Thomas Telford.
The bridge is mentioned in the book, Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll. It is found in an extract from the poem, I’ll Tell Thee Everything I Can. The quote says, “I heard him then, for I had just completed my design to keep the Menai Bridge from rust by boiling it in wine.”
The Menai Strait was formed by glacial erosion along with a weak point in the Menai Strait Fault System. The only way to reach the Island of Anglesey is to cross the strait. The journey has always been dangerous since there are four daily tides that flow in two directions to form very strong currents and whirlpools capable of sinking boats.
In spite of the danger, ferries operated along the Menai Strait centuries ago. In 1785, a boat carrying 55 passengers ran aground and started to sink. Before a rescue boat could reach it, the vessel sank leaving only one survivor.
Looking for a safer option of transportation, Thomas Telford began surveying the route from London to Holyhead. He concluded that the best option was to build a bridge over the Menai Strait. He had to build the bridge high enough for ships to pass underneath. He determined that a suspension bridge would be the best option. Parliament accepted his proposal.
Construction on the bridge began in 1819 with two towers made out of limestone from Penmon. Chains and 935 bars of iron long enough to support the 176-meter, 477 foot-long bridge were then installed. Since iron can rust, they were first soaked in linseed oil and then painted. The chains were 522.3 meters or 1,714-feet long and weighed 121 tons. The bridge was open for traffic on January 30, 1826.
On the path that goes under the bridge, there is a memorial to the Aberfan disaster victims.
After several years, it was determined that the road that went over the bridge was not safe since there were strong winds. So, workers reinforced the bridge in 1840 replacing the wooden road with steel and wrought iron chains.
Menai Straits Bridge Coin Designer
The Menai Straits Bridge coin celebrates excellence in British engineering. The image on the reverse side was designed by Edwina Ellis.
Edwina Ellis was a designer engraver and creative printmaker. She pioneered engraving on homopolymer resins. She designed the bridge series of £1 coins with linocut. Linocut is a design or form carved in relief on a block of linoleum.
She is also the designer of the special series of bridges and pathways round pound coin reverse sides. Edwina has designed 14 coins for the Royal Mint.
One of Edwina’s designs is the Stephen Hawking Fifty Pence of 2019 in which a 3D effect was produced. Edwina also designed:
- a 2017 Christmas coin
- the London Transport Two-Pound 2013 coin which was drawn on an iPad
- a First World War technology commemorative set
- a 2018 Armistice coin
- all four of the 4-part bridge series of round pounds.
Edwina is originally from Australia and enjoys trying new things and keeping active. She took up inline skating when she was 69 and continued skating into her 70s.