In response to a consultation on cash and digital payments the UK government has announced that the 1p and 2p coins will not be scrapped, as had previously been suggested.

The government can confirm that it has no plans to alter the current make up of UK coins and notes in circulation.

Inflation has long since robbed them of a useful role, but in a country so obsessed with its imaginary glorious past (see also: Brexit), it’s easy to understand why getting rid of them is a battle no one in government wants to fight.

Before the penny, the lowest-value coin was the halfpenny, with a face value of one two-hundredth of a pound. But that was worth more then: more than a penny is worth today, in fact! Here’s what each of the previous smallest coins was worth in 2019 pounds at the time it was withdrawn from circulation:

Coin Year withdrawn Face value £1 in £2019 Value in £2019
Half farthing 1870 £11920 £93.98 4.9p
Farthing 1960 £1960 £22.62 2.4p
Halfpenny 1969 £1480 £16.17 3.4p
Penny 1971 £1240 £13.88 5.8p
Halfpenny (decimal) 1984 £1200 £3.16 1.6p

The value of £1 in £2019 is the real price taken from the Measuring Worth calculator.

Historically, by quite some margin, there has never been a UK coin as worthless as the penny is today.