Royal Mint botched Ulster £1, mistaking Flag of St George for Cross of St Patrick

Files released at the Public Records Office in Belfast
Files released at the Public Records Office in Belfast

The Royal Mint botched a design for a new £1 coin to be introduced in 1984 after it used the national flag of England instead of the Cross of St Patrick as the proposed Northern Irish design.

An official at the Central Secretariat in Stormont Castle described one of the mint’s proposed designs as “the Cross of St George upended”.

During planning for the regional coin, a September 1982 note from an NC Abbott in the Northern Ireland Office informed the Royal Mint that it had made a mistake in the proposed design of a Northern Ireland £1 coin.

He said: “Since then, it has come to our notice that the Northern Ireland design in Series A is not the cross of St Patrick, as had been supposed, but is in fact the flag of St George.

“That flag has no particular significance in Northern Ireland, unless embellished in some way.”

Another official, Miss ZI Davies, described the Royal Mint’s proposed designs for Northern Ireland — among which was an elk — as “worthy but dull”.

She described the Irish elk, which was suggested as it featured in the coat of arms of the old Northern Ireland Parliament, as standing “in a peculiar posture” which, in her view, made the design “plain daft”.