Potential coin confusion seen for IoM visitors, as island keeps its round Manx £1 coin

As in the UK, the British round pound coin officially ceased to be legal tender on the Isle of Man, at midnight on 15 October. 

However, it’s emerged that the transition isn’t occurring on the island as easily as it has taken place in other parts of the British Isles, for a reason not many “off-islanders” would have been aware of.

Namely, that the Isle of Man decided not to go with a 12-sided design, like the one adopted by the British government, but in addition to accepting the British coin (as it has always done), is planning to retain own round ones.

And for this reason, while Jersey and Guernsey  joined the UK in scrapping their round £1 coins but decided not to mint their own 12-sided versions last year, using the British ones instead, the Isle of Man’s banks have been continuing to accept the round UK coins and repatriating them to the UK, while ensuring that the round Manx £1 coins remain in circulation.

This, say Manx authorities, means people on the island will have to study their change closely in shops, restaurants and banks, to ensure they aren’t getting “stuck” with the old, round British coins, which are no longer officially accepted as legal tender anywhere else, and which will no longer be accepted on the Isle of Man after 28 February.

“After this date, the Manx round pound and UK 12-sided pound should be the only £1 coins in circulation in the island,” the IoM Treasury said in a statement last month.

However, Treasury member Bill Henderson noted that there would be “no need for concern” on the part of Manx residents, since “from 1 March, it will still remain possible for anyone to return any remaining UK round pound coins to the banks, where they can be exchanged for valid tender coins for notes, [and] this will continue to be the case for some time to come”.

The Manx £1 coins are almost identical to the old British £1 coins, apart from the designs on both sides (see photo, left). They are minted on the UK, along with the rest of the Manx coins and bills.

All three of the UK’s Crown Dependencies – that is, Jersey and Guernsey as well as the IoM – have traditionally issued their own banknotes and coins, which are equivalent in value to their British counterparts. Like those of the UK, these bear the portrait of the queen, but aren’t accepted as legal tender in Britain, although UK coins and notes are accepted in all three jurisdictions.

’12-sided coins coming’: Gibraltar

In Gibraltar, meanwhile, which also issues its own coins and notes that are equivalent in value to the UK’s, the plan is to issue “new 12-sided coins with our own motif on them”, a government spokesperson told International Investment.

For now, the jurisdiction’s own existing £1 coins (pictured left, with an image of a  Gibraltar “dragon tree” on the reverse) “continue to be accepted in Gibraltar by our banks, shops and government entities”, the spokesperson said, as are the UK’s new 12-sided £1 coins.

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