The edge of this British legal tender coin is not only milled but also inscribed with the Latin inscription:
“DECUS ET TUTAMEN”
This translates to “an ornament and a safeguard”. This inscription dates back to the first machine-struck coins minted in 1662 and was a device to prevent “clipping”, and was used on the first pound coin in 1983.
On the milled edge of the coin is the Llantrisant mint mark – a cross crosslet. The shape of the cross alluding to Llantrisant, which translated from the Welsh means “Church or Parish of the Three Saints”.
It was decided that from 1984, British £1 coins would feature different reverse designs for each of the four parts of the United Kingdom. All £1 coins dated 1992 feature on the reverse an oak tree symbolising England.
The English Oak is steeped in history and legend. Forests of oak are a reminder of folk heroes such as Robin Hood, while “Hearts of Oak” conveys a sense of the centuries-old debt to the English Navy which protected an island Kingdom from invasion.
Renowned for its solidity, strength and durability, the oak has proved to be one of the most valuable timbers both today and in ancient times. As a maritime nation, England used oak for shipbuilding for centuries, providing the timbers of the ships which protected its shores in the days of Drake, and later, Nelson.
The oak also has a connection with Royalty. In 1651, after the Battle of Worcester, King Charles II successfully escaped from Cromwell’s troops by hiding in an oak tree. After the restoration of the monarchy on 29th May 1660, the day was celebrated as “Oak Apple Day”.
The obverse bears the third portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Raphael David Maklouf.
The English one pound coin features for the first time on the United Kingdom coinage, an oak tree in its entirety.The oak, however, is no stranger to our coinage. From the nineteenth century a wreath of oak, or oak combined with olive or laurel appeared on certain silver coins, while sixpences and threepences issued form 1927 to 1936 show acorns growing from interlaced oak twigs or branches. Maundy Money continues to show a wreath of oak. The design is the work of distinguished silversmith Leslie Durbin.