Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, so it’s only fitting that a coin would represent its beauty. For coin collectors, the Flax Plant £1 coin is the third in a 4-part series of coins that represent portions of the UK with a floral emblem design.
The coin’s reverse design is the work of a silversmith, and portrays the Llantrisant mint mark, a cross crosslet, along the milled edge.
What else makes this coin such a great choice for collectors?
How Many Flax Plant £1 Coins Are There?
The Flax Plant One-Pound coin that represents Northern Ireland was released in 1986 and again in 1991 by the Royal Mint.
The 1986 version has a mintage of 10,409,501, as well as 167,224 brilliant uncirculated in sets, 19,908 specimen grade issued in a presentation folder, and 104,597 proofs. There were 37,958 0.925 silver proofs and 15,000 silver proof Piedfort 0.925 silver coins issued.
The 1991 version has a mintage of 38,443,575 as well as 74,975 minted in brilliant uncirculated sets and 55,144 proofs, and 22,922 silver proof FDC 0.925 silver issued.
The Flax Plant coin design was also re-issued in 2008 as a collector coin in silver and gold as part of a 14-coin commemorative set that marked the 25th anniversary of the One-Pound coin.
How Much Are The Flax Plant £1 Coins Worth?
The Flax Plant £1 Coin’s value is determined partially by which year the coin was minted. Expect to find the coins selling for the following amounts according to average sold values on eBay:
1986 = £3.19
1991 = £2.26
The condition the coin is in will also always play an important role in its worth.
Flax Plant £1 Coin Design
The Flax coin is part of the One-Pound round coins that were issued each year with a special reverse design to represent an emblem of the UK, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, or England. The 1986 and 1991 versions of the coin represent Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland would be represented on the One-Pound round coin again in 1996, 2001, 2006, 2010, and 2014, but with designs other than the featured flax plant. Northern Ireland has not been represented on the coin since the One-Pound coin changed to be a 12-sided, bi-metallic coin in 2017.
The Flax Plant One-Pound coin is 22.50 millimeters in diameter and weighs 9.50 grams in Nickel-brass. The silver proof coins consist of 0.925 silver with a weight of 9.50 or 19 grams and an AMW, Actual Weight in relevant precious metal content in troy ounces of 0.2825 and 0.5650.
The obverse of the 1986 and the 1991 Flax Plant coin features the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II as designed by Raphael Maklouf in which the Queen wears the George IV State Diadem, officially the Diamond Diadem. The crown was made in 1820 for King George IV. 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 RDM can be found at the very bottom left-hand corner of the Queen’s portrait, in the neck truncation.
Both of the Flax Plant coins were part of the round pound coins, which is a denomination of the pound sterling. The coin is made in Nickel-brass. The original One-Pound coin was designed and put into circulation to replace the Bank of England £1 note which was issued until the end of 1984 and removed from circulation in 1988. Starting in 2015, the coin became a bi-metallic, 12-sided coin that is more difficult to counterfeit.
The reverse of both the 1986 and 1991 Flax Plant One-Pound coin features an image of the Flax plant and Royal Diadem to represent Northern Ireland. The flax plant is sending roots out underneath the Royal Diadem and blooming forth through the top. Under the image are the words denoting the coin, ONE POUND. All around the image along the outer rim are raised dots. The initials of the designer do not appear to be present in the design.
The edge of the £1 coin is a milled edge that includes the Llantrisant mint mark, a cross crosslet. The shape of the cross alludes to Llantrissant, or Church or Parish of the Three Saints. The new round pound coin would be the first United Kingdom coin to be struck with this mark.
The edge inscription on both the 1986 and the 1991 coin reads DECUS ET TUTAMEN. Translated, the inscription means An ornament and a safeguard. The quote is from Virgil’s Aeneid. The inscription dates back to 1662 when the first machine-struck coins were minted. The edge inscription was done to prevent clipping, which is shaving off a small portion of the precious metal for profit. This edge inscription has been used on the £1 coin since its 1983 minting.
What Does The Flax Plant £1 Coin Represent?
The design on both the 1986 and the 1991 Flax Plant coin represents Northern Ireland. The design fell in line with the floral emblem theme of the first One-Pound coins that represent the United Kingdom and its four constituent countries of which Northern Ireland is one. The first representative £1 coins were designed by Leslie Durbin who was a highly-regarded silversmith.
Leslie Durbin designed four images for the £1 coin that appeared on the reverse of the coin from 1984 to 1987. The designs represent the four constituent parts of the United Kingdom showing each of the floral emblems encircled by the Royal Diadem.
The Flax Plant coin is the third in his series of designs that started with the Thistle in 1984 to represent Scotland and the Leek of 1985 that represented Wales.
The 1986 design would represent Northern Ireland. It was followed by the final in the floral emblem series, with England in 1987 with the Oak Tree coin. The floral emblem series would be released again starting in 1989 of which, the Flax Plant would once again be featured in 1991 with the same design.
The flax is representative of Northern Ireland. The royal diadem represents an emblem of regal power or dignity.
Northern Ireland Flax and the £1 Coin Design
Northern Ireland is one of the four parts of the United Kingdom. It is known for its stunningly beautiful scenic lush green countrysides and pastures. It is also associated with flax.
Flax is considered to be the oldest textile ever used. Among other things, flax was used for making fishing nets and Irish linens. Perhaps the Irish linen industry was encouraged by the monks who dwelled in Ireland. The linen trade seemed to reach its high point in 1273 A.D. Yet, Northern Ireland still remains one of the main linen manufacturers in the world.
The fibers of the flax plant run the full length of the plant, so they are pulled and not cut when they are harvested. When Leslie Durbin chose the plant to be featured on the £1 coin to represent Northern Ireland, he decided to show the plant with its roots intact.
Flax Plant Designer
Leslie Durbin designed the £1 coin that would represent Northern Ireland. He was a silversmith whose commissions included the special hallmark for Her Majesty’s Silver Jubilee.
He prepared four designs to appear on the reverse of the one-pound coin between 1984 and 1987. The designs on these special coins represent the four constituent parts of the United Kingdom. Durbin chose to unify the series by designing a floral emblem on each with each of the emblems appearing encircled by the Royal Diadem.
The Royal Diadem is the crown worn by Her Majesty to and from the State Opening of Parliament.
The image of The Royal Diadem would also appear on the obverse of this coin as part of the portrait that Raphael Maklouf chose to feature for the first time to appear on the coin in 1985.
Where Can You Buy The Flax Plant £1 Coin?
Online at eBay is a quick and easy way to find coins. Just make sure you do your homework, so you are sure of exactly what you are buying. The exact price of any coin is going to depend on several factors. The actual condition of the coin as well as the year it was minted are two very important aspects to consider.