Add the Leek One-Pound Coin to your collection to complete a floral emblem set. The Leek £1 coin, representing Wales, is the second in a 4-part series of coins that represent portions of the UK through a floral design intertwined in the Royal Diadem.
The coin’s reverse design is the work of a silversmith named Leslie Durbin. He was one of the most renowned silversmiths of the 20th century.
How Many Leek £1 Coins Are There?
The Leek One-Pound coin that represents Wales was released in 1985 and again in 1990 by the Royal Mint.
The 1985 version minted 228,735,989.
The 1990 version minted 97,450,960.
There were also proof versions minted for both years with 102,000 issued 1985 Proofs and 79,050 issued 1990 Proofs and a Silver Pound Welsh Leek Piedfort for both years.
How Much Are The Leek One-Pound Coins Worth?
As with any coin, the Leek £1 Coin’s worth is partially determined by which year the coin was minted and what condition the coin is in. Expect to find the coin’s worth priced as follows, based on average sold prices on eBay:
1985 = £1.76
1990 = £1.87
Leek £1 Coin Design And Meaning
The 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 1985 and 1990 versions of the coin represent Wales with an image of the leek.
Wales would be represented on the One-Pound round coin again in 1990 with the same leek floral design. Wales would be represented with a different design on a 1995 and 2000 Dragon passant coin. In 2005 Wales was represented once again on the Menai Straits Bridge coin and again in 2011 with the Coat of arms of Cardiff. The leek would make its appearance one final time on the 2013 Leek and Daffodil one-pound coin. Wales has not been represented on the coin since the One-Pound coin changed to be a 12-sided, bi-metallic coin in 2017.
The Leek £1 coin is 22.50 millimeters in diameter and weighs 9.50 grams in Nickel-brass. This round pound coin is 3.15 mm thick and has a milled edge with an inscription.
The obverse of the 1985 and 1990 Leek 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 Leek coins were part of the round £1 coins which are a denomination of the pound sterling. The coin is made in Nickel-brass. Starting in 2015, the coin became a bi-metallic, 12-sided coin that is more difficult to counterfeit.
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.
The reverse of both the 1985 and 1990 Leek £1 coin features an image of the Leek plant and Royal Diadem to represent Wales. The leek is sending roots out from its bulb through and underneath the royal diadem.
The leek is also shooting 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 inscription to read PLEIDIOL WYF I’M GWLAD. Translated, this means “True am I to my country.”
The design on both the 1985 and the 1990 Leek coin represents Wales. The design is the second in a series of four themed One-Pound coins that feature floral emblems to represent the United Kingdom and its four constituent countries of which Wales is one.
The first representative £1 floral emblem coins were designed by a highly-regarded silversmith named Leslie Durbin.
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 Leek one-pound coin is the second in his series of designs that started in 1984 to represented Scotland, followed by the Leek of 1985 that represented Wales, the 1986 design represented Northern Ireland, and the fourth in the series of floral emblem designed coins was in 1987 with the Oak Tree coin which represented England.
The four-part floral emblem series would be released again starting in 1989 of which, the Leek would once again be featured with the same design as the second coin in the series issued in 1990.
The leek is representative of Wales. The Royal Diadem represents an emblem of regal power or dignity.
Wales Leek Coin Design
Wales is one of the four parts of the United Kingdom.
The legend of why the leek is so important to Wales dates back to Elizabethan times as Shakespeare referred to the custom of wearing a leek as an “ancient tradition”. Shakespeare’s character, Henry V, said, “for I am Welsh, you know, good countryman”.
Even before Shakespeare wrote these words associating the Welsh with the leek, Tudor Kings of England recorded payment for leeks worn by the household guards on St. David’s Day.
As far back as the fourteenth century, Welsh archers took on green and white, the colors of a leek, as their uniform colors.
The legend goes back even further to words recorded by an English poet, Michael Dayton, where the leek was associated with St. David the Patron Saint of Wales. His poetry told of how St. David ordered his soldiers to wear the leek on their helmets in a battle against the pagan Saxon invaders. The entire battle is thought to have taken place in a field full of leeks.
It may even date back to the Druids when elements of nature were worshipped. Leeks were used as medicine to cure a common cold and to alleviate pain during childbirth. It was also used in a Welsh broth and was thought to help protect against battle wounds or even lightning strikes. Leeks were also used to foretell the future and to keep evil spirits away.
When Leslie Durbin chose the leek plant to be featured on the £1 coin to represent Wales, he decided to show the plant with its roots intact.
Leek Coin Designer
Leslie Durbin designed the four-part series of £1 coins that would represent four parts of the United Kingdom of which Wales would be the second to be featured. Durbin 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 top of the plant would be flourishing with roots intact coming out from the bottom of the Royal Diadem image.
The Royal Diadem is the crown worn by Her Majesty to and from the State Opening of Parliament.
Where Can You Buy The Leek £1 Coin?
Shopping online is a great way to find coins for collecting. Sites like eBay make it quick and easy to find a variety of coins. Before you buy anything, though, make sure you do a little homework, so you are sure of exactly what you are buying. The exact price of what a coin sells for is going to depend on several factors. Look at the condition of the coin as well as the year it was minted for starters.