The Thistle £1 Coins

Coin collectors looking to complete a four-part set will definitely want to have this coin as part of their collection. The Thistle £1 coin is the first in a 4-part series of coins that represent portions of the UK with a floral emblem design on the reverse of the coin.

Let’s look at what else makes this coin such a great choice for collectors.

How Many Thistle £1 Coins Are There?

The Thistle One-Pound coin represents Scotland. It was released in 1984 and again in 1989 by the Royal Mint.

The 1984 version minted 146,549,801.

The 1989 version minted about half the number of the original with 70,743,774 minted.

The thistle design was reissued 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 Thistle Coins Worth?

As with any coin, the Thistle £1 Coin’s value is somewhat determined by which year the coin was minted. Expect to find the coins selling for approximately the following costs according to the most recent average values on eBay:

1984 = £1.74

1989 = £1.88

The condition the coin is in will also always play an important role in its worth.

Thistle One-Pound Coin Design

thistle £1 Coin Design
Thistle £1 Coin Design

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 1984 and 1989 versions of the coin represent Scotland. Scotland would be represented on the One-Pound round coin in 1984 and again in 1989 with the same thistle design.

In 1994 and 1999, Scotland would again be represented, but this time the reverse would feature a Lion Rampant. In 2004 Scotland would be represented once again featuring a Forth Railway Bridge. In 2011 Scotland would be featured with a Coat of arms of Edinburgh. The thistle would make its appearance again on a one-pound coin to represent Scotland in 2014, but this time it would appear as a Thistle and bluebell.

Scotland has not been represented on the coin since the One-Pound coin changed to be a 12-sided, bi-metallic coin in 2017, and the original round pound coins were demonetized.

The Thistle £1 coin is 22.50 millimeters in diameter weighs 9.50 grams in Nickel-brass. It is 3.15 mm thick.

While the reverse image of the thistle plant and Royal Diadem would remain the same on the 1984 and 1989 Thistle coins, the obverse of the Thistle coin would change. The original 1984 minting and the repeat reverse side image in the 1989 minting featured a different design of the Queen’s portrait on the obverse.

The obverse of the 1984 Thistle coin features the Second Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II with the legend ELIZABETH II D G REG F D 1984. Translated, the inscription means Elizabeth II Dei Gratia Regina, by the grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith.

The obverse of the 1989 Thistle 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 1989. 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 Thistle 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 1984 and 1989 Thistle £1 coin features an image of the Thistle plant and royal diadem to represent Scotland. The thistle 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 inscription to read NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT. This was the Latin motto of the Royal Stuart dynasty of Scotland from at least the reign of King James VI and is the adopted motto of the Order of the Thistle as well as of three Scottish regiments of the British Army. It is translated to mean “No one attacks me with impunity”.

Thistle Design Meaning

The design on both the 1984 and the 1989 Thistle coin represents Scotland. The design is the first in a series of four floral-emblem-themed One-Pound coins that represent the United Kingdom and its four constituent countries of which Scotland 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 Thistle one pound coin is the first in his series of designs that started in 1984 to represented Scotland, followed by the Leek of 1985 that represented Wales, the 1986 Flax Plant design represented Northern Ireland, and the fourth in the series of floral emblems 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 Thistle would once again be featured with the same design. It would also once again kick off the four-part series of floral emblem coins.

The thistle is representative of Scotland. The royal diadem represents an emblem of regal power or dignity.

Scotland And The Thistle On The £1 Coin

Scotland is one of the four parts of the United Kingdom.

Thistle is Scotland’s national floral emblem. The thistle grows to a height of 5-feet and is a proud and regal plant with no natural enemies. The prickly purple plant is common throughout the highlands, lowlands, and islands.

Several legends explain how the thistle came to be Scotland’s national symbol, but the most common stems from the reign of Alexander III and the Battle of Largs in 1263. Scotland had been part of Norway. King Alexander III sought to buy back the Western Isles and Kintyre from the Norse King Haakon IV which made Norway more interested in the region.

In 1263, King Haakon sought to conquer the Scots. As the Norsemen attempted a sneak attack, they removed their footwear. As they quietly moved, in bare feet, toward the Scots, they came across thistles. One of the men cried out in pain which alerted the sleeping Scots who arose and defended their land.

Thistle was first used on silver coins issued by James III in 1470 as part of a royal symbol of Scotland.

When Leslie Durbin chose the thistle plant to be featured on the £1 coin to represent Scotland, he decided to show the plant with its roots intact.

Thistle Coin Designer

Leslie Durbin designed the four-part series of £1 coins that would represent four parts of the United Kingdom of which Scotland would be the first 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 Thistle £1 Coin?

When you look online to buy or sell coins, eBay is a quick and easy way to find what you’re looking for. Of course, whenever you’re buying or selling online, make sure you do a little research first. As always, expect to find that the exact price of the coin will depend upon what condition the coin is in as well as the year it was minted.