The one pound coin for 1997 represents England with a new reverse depicting the Royal Crest of England, for centuries the proud emblem of English Kings and Queens. It is thought that the three lions may have come to England from Normandy but it was Richard the Lionheart (1189 – 1199) who, especially during the Crusades, used the three golden lions on their scarlet background as a powerful symbol of the English Throne. The Crest appeared on his second Great Seal and thereafter three lions passant guardant have been known as “England”. As such, the Crest has appeared on the Royal Arms of every succeeding monarch and, today, is even employed to represent England in the sporting world.
The edge is not only milled but also inscribed. The inscription in Latin reads DECUS ET TUTAMEN, which may be translated as “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.
The obverse bears the third portrait of Elizabeth II by Raphael Maklouf. This effigy was introduced in 1985 and was used for the last time in 1997.
The English one pound coin features three lions passant guardant. The design is modelled by Norman Sillman from a drawing by the College of Arms.