What is the 5p coin? A Brief Introduction

If you’re a resident of the United Kingdom, you’ve undoubtedly come across the 5p coin. The 5p coin is a small denomination coin that’s widely used in the UK for monetary transactions. It’s a part of the British coinage system and is currently in circulation.

The 5p coin is a small, circular coin with a diameter of 18mm and a thickness of 1.7mm. It has a smooth edge and features the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse side. The reverse side of the coin features a representation of the British crown.

The 5p coin was first introduced in the United Kingdom in 1968, as part of a new decimal coinage system that replaced the old system based on pounds, shillings, and pence. When the 5p coin was introduced, it was equivalent to one shilling, which was a significant coin denomination in the old system.

The original design of the 5p coin featured a representation of Christopher Ironside’s stylized crown on the reverse side. However, in 2008, the design was changed to feature Matthew Dent’s Royal Shield of Arms, which is a more modern representation of the British coat of arms.

Over the years, there have been several changes in the design of the 5p coin. These changes have been made to commemorate special events or to honor individuals. For example, in 1990, a commemorative 5p coin was issued to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the public library system in the UK. Similarly, in 2018, a special 5p coin was issued to mark the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force.

Composition of the 5p Coin

Collecting 5p coins can be a fun hobby as there are many different designs and rare coins to find
Collecting 5p coins can be a fun hobby as there are many different designs and rare coins to find

The 5p coin is made up of two different metals, copper-nickel, and nickel-plated steel. The outer ring of the coin is made up of copper-nickel, while the inner part is made up of nickel-plated steel. The use of these two metals makes the coin resistant to wear and tear, which makes it more durable.

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The physical characteristics of the coin, such as its weight and size, have remained the same since its introduction in 1968. The 5p coin weighs 3.25 grams and has a diameter of 18mm. The thickness of the coin is 1.7mm, which makes it relatively thin compared to other coin denominations.

Value and Usage of the 5p Coin

5p coins are often used for small purchases or as change for larger bills
5p coins are often used for small purchases or as change for larger bills

The 5p coin is currently the lowest denomination coin in circulation in the UK. Its value is equivalent to 0.05 pounds or 5 pence. Although it may not seem like much, the 5p coin is an essential part of the British coinage system, and it’s widely used in daily transactions.

The most common use for the 5p coin is to make small purchases, such as buying sweets or newspapers. It’s also commonly used to make charitable donations or to pay for parking meters. Some vending machines and public transport systems accept 5p coins as a form of payment as well.

Despite the prevalence of digital payment systems, the 5p coin remains an essential part of the British coinage system. It’s estimated that there are over 2 billion 5p coins in circulation in the UK. As such, it’s important to understand the value and usage of the 5p coin in daily transactions.

Collecting 5p Coins

Collecting coins is a popular hobby worldwide, and the 5p coin is no exception. While many collectors focus on rare and valuable coins, others collect coins for their historical or sentimental value. If you’re interested in starting a collection of 5p coins, here are some tips to get you started:

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Rarity of certain 5p coins

While most 5p coins are relatively common, some are rare and highly sought after by collectors. For example, the 1990 5p coin that commemorates the public library system’s 150th anniversary is a rare coin that’s worth much more than its face value. Similarly, the 2011 5p coin that features the Olympic Aquatics design is another rare coin that’s highly prized by collectors.

Tips for starting a 5p coin collection

Starting a collection of 5p coins can be a fun and rewarding hobby. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Start with the basics: Begin by collecting all the standard 5p coins in circulation. This will give you a foundation for your collection.

  2. Expand your collection: Once you’ve collected all the standard 5p coins, start looking for rare and commemorative coins to add to your collection.

  3. Store your coins properly: It’s essential to store your coins properly to prevent damage. You can use coin albums, folders, or boxes to keep your coins safe and organized.

  4. Join a coin collecting club: Joining a coin collecting club can be a great way to meet other collectors and learn more about the hobby.


In conclusion, the 5p coin is a small but significant part of the British coinage system. Since its introduction in 1968, the 5p coin has undergone several changes in design, and rare and commemorative coins have become highly prized by collectors. Whether you’re a collector or just use the 5p coin for everyday transactions, it’s a coin that’s steeped in history and tradition. At Rich News, we hope you enjoyed learning more about this fascinating coin.

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