THE deadline for getting rid of old £1 coins is here as the new 12-sided version of the coin takes over as legal tender.

The shape of the coin has barely raised an eyebrow with most people, although it has caused a headache for local authorities, East Lothian Council included, after parking ticket machines required upgrading.

But 25 years ago when the new 10p coin was introduced it was a different story as opinions were strongly voiced.

The current 10p coin was introduced in October 1992 and came under fire for being more like “toy money” than real tender.

The newer lightweight coin was introduced by the Royal Mint due to public demand and replaced the old 10p and florin (pictured below), which was still in circulation.

The florin was the only coin to survive decimalisation by quarter of a decade. Originally a two-shilling coin, it was introduced in 1849 as part of an experiment in introducing decimalisation that was never taken forward.

The original florins attracted controversy for omitting a reference to God from Queen Victoria’s titles and became known as the ‘Godless florin’.

Throughout most of its existence, the florin bore some variation of either the shields of the United Kingdom or the emblems of its constituent nations on the reverse, a tradition broken between 1902 and 1910 when the coin featured a windswept figure of a standing Britannia.

In 1911, following the accession of King George V, the florin regained the shields and sceptres design it had in the late Victorian era and kept that motif until 1937, when the national emblems were placed on it.

The florin retained such a theme for the remainder of its run, though a new design was used from 1953 following the accession of Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1968, prior to decimalisation, the Royal Mint began striking the 10 pence piece. The old two shilling piece remained in circulation until the new 10p was introduced.

In the East Lothian Courier in October 1992, readers were asked what they thought of the new lightweight 10p coin.

Dick Currie, of Gullane, told us: “It is too much like the old shilling” as he declared it a step backwards, adding: “I’m sorry to see the old 10p go.”

And Christine Gillies, Stenton, said: “It’s just like toy money but at least it is lighter and will take up less room in your purse.”

Others voiced concern that the new shape would confuse pensioners.

However, Robin Hyland, manager of John Menzies, Haddington, at the time welcomed the new coin.

He said: “They will make counting in the tills easier – the other coins were too bulky.”

The old 10p coins remained legal tender until June 1993.