The Three Lions £1 Coins

Complete your collection of the fourth £1 coin in the 4-part series of coins that feature a heraldic emblem by Norman Sillman. These three lions £1 coins represent England.

How Much Are The Three Lions £1 Coins Worth?

As with any coin, the Three Lions £1 Coins will be worth more or less depending on which year the coin was minted as well as its actual physical condition.

Expect to find the Three Lions coins to sell for the following amounts according to the most recent sold values on ebay:

  • 1997 three lions £1 coin = estimated value of £1.85
  • 2002 three lions £1 coin = estimated value of £1.63

The mintage year will also matter in the coin’s worth or, if nothing else, to make sure you have a complete collection to obtain one of each year:

  • The 1997 Three Lions coin had a mintage of 57,117,450.
  • The 2002 Three Lions coin had a mintage of 77,818,000.
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Additionally, the coins were issued uncirculated in a presentation folder, in Silver Proof, and Silver Piedfort Proof. This coin design was also issued in .09167 gold.

If you want to browse uncirculated coins then the Royal Mint’s shop is the best place to look.

Browse the Royal Mint's Shop Today

Interested in buying a coin? Browse the Royal Mint's inventory today.

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Design Of The Three Lions £1 Coins

Three Lions £1 coin reverse design
Three Lions £1 Coin Design – Credit

The Three Lions design represents England. The coin was part of the £1 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 reverse was changed each year from 1983 to 2008 to reflect a design that represented either the United Kingdom or one of its four parts.

The Three Lions £1 coin designs were part of a 4-part series representing the four constituent countries of the UK using heraldic emblems. The Three Lions coin represents England. The coin was the fourth one released in the 4-part series.

This heraldic emblem series started in 1994 with the Lion Rampant representing Scotland. The following year, the 1995 Dragon represented Wales. In 1996, the Celtic Cross and Torc represented Northern Ireland. Finally, in 1997, the Three Lions design represented England.

This 4-part series of heraldic emblems on the reverse side of the round pound repeated starting again in 1999 through 2002. England was represented with the same Three Lions design on the 2002 coin in the repeat series.

The British £1 coin is a denomination of the pound sterling and was round. Both of the Three Lions £1 coins were part of the Round Pound coins. The original £1 coin replaced the Bank of England £1 note that was no longer issued after 1984 but was not removed from circulation until March 11, 1988. The coin is made in Nickel-brass.

After 2017, with the introduction of the dodecagon 12-edge shaped £1 coin, the older £1 coins could only be redeemed at banks. For a limited time, some retailers would also accept them. They are no longer considered legal tender. But, they are very collectable.

The Three Lions £1 coin is 22.50 millimetres in diameter and weighs 9.50 grams in a Nickel-brass alloy with a thickness of 3.15 mm. The £1 Round series of coins were the only UK coins to have this specific yellow colour.

Milled Edge

The edge of the Three Lions Coin is milled with an inscription and a small crosslet as a mint mark that represents Llantrisant in South Wales where the Royal Mint has been based since 1968. The mark’s name is translated to mean, “Church or Parish of the Three Saints”. The milled edge design with an inscription was used in an attempt to protect the coins from debasement or counterfeiting.

The edge of the Three Lions £1 coin is a milled edge that includes the inscription to read DECUS ET TUTAMEN. Translated, this means “An ornament and a safeguard.” Another interpretation is “glory and defence”. The phrase was taken from Virgil’s Aeneid.

Reverse Image

The 1997 and 2002 versions of the coin represent England featuring an image of three lions on the reverse side. The image on the reverse side of the coin shows the Royal Crest of England in an image of three lions passant guardant. This simply means the lions are walking to the left, facing the observer. Centred below the three lions stacked on top of each other are the words ONE POUND. The rim of the coin is encircled with raised beaded dots.

England £1 Representation

England was first represented on the £1 round coin in 1987 and 1992 with the same Oak Tree floral emblem design. This time England would be represented with a different design on the 1997 and 2002 Three Lions coin.

In 2007, England was again represented on the Millennium Bridge coin and again in 2010 with the Coat of arms of the City of London. In 2013, the original Oak Tree emblem would make its appearance once again on the Rose and Oak £1 coin.

England has not been represented on the round pound since the £1 coin changed to be a 12-sided, bi-metallic coin in 2017.

1997 Obverse

The obverse of the 1997 Three Lions coin was the last to feature 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.

2002 Obverse

The obverse of the 2002 Three Lions 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?

The design on both the 1997 and the 2002 Three Lions coin represents England. England is one of the four parts of the United Kingdom. The image of the three lions dates back to Richard the Lionheart, 1189 to 1199. He used the three golden lions on a scarlet background as a powerful symbol of the English throne.

The three lions image was first used on the Royal Arms at the start of the age of heraldry, 1200. The image is of three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed and langued azure. It signifies three identical gold lions, sometimes called leopards. The lions are walking past but facing the observer and arranged in a column.

The image has been used on England’s heraldic flag also known as the Royal Banner of England, the Banner of the Royal Arms, the Banner of the King (Queen) of England, or the Royal Standard of England. It is not England’s national flag since it symbolized the sovereignty vested in the rulers and not a particular area of land.

For centuries the three lions depicted the Royal Crest of England as a proud emblem of English kings and queens. The Crest has appeared on the Royal Arms of every succeeding monarch and has even been seen as an image that represents England in the realm of sports.

Three Lions Coin Designer

Norman Sillman designed the Three Lions coin that would represent England as one of the parts of the United Kingdom on his heraldic emblem series.

Sillman was a British sculptor and a coin designer. He was often seen at the London Zoo drawing images of animals that he would later sculpt. He was a sculptor in London until 1956.

The Royal Mint commissioned him to design a coin in 1956 for Bermuda. He also designed for the Birmingham Mint, York Mint, Metalimport, Sandhill Ltd, Danbury Mint USA, Franklin mint USA, and others. He ultimately designed coins for at least 30 countries.

For Britain, he designed the Scottish Commonwealth Games Two-Pound Coin, and this four-part series of heraldic emblems for the £1 coin. Additionally, he designed several British medals.

Where Can You Buy The Three Lions Coin?

Shopping or selling online at sites like eBay is always a quick and easy way to find coins. Online marketplaces are excellent so long as you find a reputable seller.

So, do your homework before browsing to make sure of exactly what you are buying or selling.

The Royal Mint has a great inventory of uncirculated coins as well if you are interested in this market.

Browse the Royal Mint's Shop Today

Interested in buying a coin? Browse the Royal Mint's inventory today.

Shop now