Stolen Pound, 2018
David Rickard

Copper one Penny coins
2 ø x 42 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Copperfield, London

The starting point for David Rickard’s Stolen Pound (2018) is a moment in the late twentieth century when the UK government realized that, due to a rise in copper prices, the face value of one and two penny coins was being overtaken by the value of the copper they were made from. In response to this, in September 1992 the Royal Mint changed the coin composition from 97 percent copper to copper-plated steel. However, some of the older “higher value” coins remain in circulation. Carefully collected by the artist over a number of years the work consists of a long line of original copper pennies. Together, 280 coins form a one-kg rod of material, which has an estimated scrap value of £3.80. The material that forms the work has been significantly devalued by becoming currency and therefore the stolen pound is not the coins themselves, but rather the value that has been taken from the material. The value of copper will rise and fall in line with the metal commodities market, so the length of the sculpture will be adjusted over time to equate to one British pound of stolen value.

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