Legal Tender - British Coins & Currency : eBay Guides

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Legal Tender - British Coins & Currency
The term "Legal Tender" has a narrow technical meaning, and it not interchangeable for "currency" or "current".

Scottish & Northern Irish Banknotes
Are Scottish & Northern Irish notes legal tender? In short "No" these notes are not legal tender; only Bank of England notes are legal tender but only in England and Wales. The term legal tender does not in itself govern the acceptability of banknotes in transactions. Whether or not notes have legal tender status, their acceptability as a means of payment is essentially a matter for agreement between the parties involved.

Legal Tender
Legal tender has a very narrow technical meaning in relation to the settlement of debt. If a debtor pays in legal tender the exact amount he owes under the terms of a contract, he has good defence in law if he is subsequently sued for non-payment of the debt. In ordinary everyday transactions, the term "legal tender" has very little practical application.
The following is a summary of the currently produced British circulating coins, plus the five pounds:-

Denomination                       Legal Tender Limit
£5 Crown                            Any Amount
£2                                       Any Amount
£1                                       Any Amount
50 Pence                             £10
25 Pence (Older Crowns)    £10
20 Pence                             £10
10 Pence                             £5
5 Pence                               £5
2 Pence                               £0.20
1 Penny                               £0.20
Denomination = Face Value
Legal Tender Limit = Any amount up to the maximum shown
Older Crowns = Crowns dated before 1990

Can I use Commemorative Crowns as ordinary coins? Why are some of them worth more than others?
These coins, as the name suggests, are issued to commemorate special occasions of national importance. They are intended to be souvenirs rather than ordinary circulation coins.
Crowns had a face value of 25p from 1971. In 1990 the face value was increased to £5 to give the coin a value consistent with its weight and size in relation to those of other current coins.
While each crown issue is authorised by Royal Proclamation in accordance with the requirements laid down by the coinage act 1971. This means that in common with other coins in general circulation a crown has legal tender status.
Most people would not wish to exchange a crown coin, but in recognition of the fact that some people may wish to do so, post offices have agreed to accept crowns in exchange for goods and services.

Can I use coinage from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man?
United Kingdom Dependent Territories, for example, the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Gibraltar have their own legislative and taxation systems and issue their own banknotes and coins. These, in common, with United Kingdom coins bear the portrait the Queen but they are only legal tender within the territory itself.

Legal tender in England and Wales
Bank of England notes are the only banknotes that are legal tender in England and Wales. United Kingdom coinage is legal tender, but not in unlimited amounts for coins below £1.
Scottish and Northern Ireland banknotes, and Jersey, Guernsey, Manx and Gibraltar coinage and banknotes are not legal tender in England and Wales. However, they are not illegal under English law and creditors and traders may accept them if they so choose. For more information, please visit our British Coin Specifications page.

Author & Copyright Notice
Any images shown are our own copyright images. Our text and description is also copyright, Lawrence Chard of Chard Coins.

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Guide ID: 10000000001677566Guide created: 28/08/06 (updated 19/02/13)

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