The twenty pence coin is a circulating denomination of the British (decimal) Pound Sterling. 20 pence equal one fifth of a pound.
In August 2005 the Royal Mint launched a competition to find new reverse designs for all circulating coins apart from the £2 coin. The winner, announced in April 2008, was Matthew Dent, whose designs were gradually introduced into the circulating British coinage from mid-2008. In a world-first concept, the designs for the 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p and 50p coins depict sections of the Royal Shield that form the whole shield when placed together. The shield in its entirety was featured on the £1 coin (now discontinued).
This 20p coin design, which replaced the earlier 20p design by William Gardner, depicts the meeting point of the second and fourth quarter of the shield, showing the Lion Rampant of Scotland and the Lions Peasants of England; the value and denomination, in words: TWENTY PENCE are around right. The date no longer appears on the reverse of the coin, and has instead been added to the obverse, where the lettering has been adjusted so as to fit the date in.
To help identification and avoid confusion with similar sized coins the 20p is seven sided and like the 50p is an equilateral curve heptagon. The shape, with its constant rolling diameter, means that it is readily acceptable in vending machines.
Twenty and fifty pence coins are legal tender only up to the sum of £10; this means that it is permissible to refuse payment of sums greater than this amount in 20p coins in order to settle a debt.
Coins issued in 2011 have now been circulating for 13 years