First introduced in 1983, the £1 coin in the United Kingdom is regularly updated to include new designs celebrating various facets of the four cornerstones of the Union, England, Scotland Northern Ireland and Wales. The Royal Mint, on an equally regular basis, releases commemorative proof versions of this highly popular coin in both silver and gold.

Starting with the release of the English and Welsh coins last year, the theme for this round of designs is Flora of the United Kingdom.  For this new Northern Ireland coin, the two plants chosen are the obvious Shamrock, something so tied into the fabric of Irish culture it’s hard to associate anything else with them, and the Flax, a symbol of unity.

Available to order now, the silver coin is £50, the double-thickness Piedfort version is £100, and the gold sells for £850.  A well done design, with a small mintage going some way to justifying the pricing.


‘The design for this £1 coin for Northern Ireland unites two floral emblems, the well-known shamrock with the lesser-known plant that has become symbolic of unity, the flax. The floral symbols face each other, carefully balanced in a ‘yin-yang’ arrangement. Together, they combine the spirit and natural beauty of Northern Ireland.The flax is another example of nature offering powerful and colourful symbols.

With its intense blue petals, the flax was at the heart of Northern Ireland’s linen industry, its fibres used to produce the famed Irish linen. As people from all backgrounds worked in the linen industry, flax is seen as a symbol of unity – it was adopted as the emblem of the Northern Ireland Assembly, and was used as a symbol of the country on £1 coins in 1986 and 1991.


The obverse of the flora series Northern Ireland £1 coins features the current portrait of Her Majesty the Queen by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS, whilst the edge inscription reads: DECUS ET TUTAMEN or ‘An ornament and a safeguard’. The reverse designs are by Timothy Noad, renowned numismatic and medallic artist and Fellow of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators.

Commenting on his designs, Timothy Noad said, “In designing a series of coins representing each country of the UK, it is important that the motif on each coin is clearly recognisable and also keeps within the heraldic rules and conventions. I often find inspiration in medieval manuscripts, illumination and the work of William Morris, as well as the study of nature”.

Each coin is accompanied by an informative booklet that explores the symbolism of the flora that decorates it, and is finished with extracts from poems that capture the national passion behind each of these symbols. Each comes with a certificate of authenticity, which marks it as an official coin of The Royal Mint.



0.925 SILVER 9.5 g 22.50 mm PROOF 2,000
0.925 SILVER 19.0 g 22.50 mm PROOF 1,000
0.9617 GOLD 19.619 g 22.50 mm PROOF 200


Floral £1 coin series