The £1 coin gag

22Apr13

(Sigh!)

<Old Fart mode> The £1 coin is currently celebrating its 30th birthday and I keep reading articles by people who really should no better, that it was “nicknamed” the “Maggie” – as in Thatcher – when it first went into circulation.

No-one ever called it a Maggie in everyday conversation. It was a gag which originated somewhere or other. It might even have been with Neil Kinnock, who became leader of the Labour Party in 1983. Certainly it was Kinnock who was credited in the media at the time for spinning the line that it should be called a Maggie as it’s “heavy, brassy and thinks it’s a sovereign.”

Other variations included “thick” and “worthless” along with the brassy and sovereign thing. It was funny because it was true.

Other money jokes from this period include the Irish one about their pound, which was generally known as the Punt (Punt Éireannach) from Ireland’s break with Sterling in 1979 until the country joined the Euro in 2002. “Why’s it called a Punt? So that it rhymes with bank manager.”

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