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The UK’s £1 coin is getting a more secure face-lift in 2017. Entering circulation in March 2017, the new 12 sided coin is set to cause headaches for many.
Why put a new £1 coin into circulation?
The current £1 coin has been circulating for the last 30 years. In that time, it has become vulnerable to new sophisticated methods of counterfeiting. The Royal Mint has stated that, “approximately one in thirty £1 coins in circulation is a counterfeit.” The logic behind the redesign is to produce a more secure coin and reduce the costs that counterfeiting costs to businesses and taxpayers.
The new 12 sided £1 coin is set to have a number of advanced security measures to prevent counterfeiting. These measures include:
• 12-sided – its distinctive shape makes it instantly recognisable, even by touch.
• Bimetallic – it is made of two metals. The outer ring is gold coloured (nickel-brass) and the inner ring is silver coloured (nickel-plated alloy).
• Latent image – it has an image like a hologram that changes from a ‘£’ symbol to the number ‘1’ when the coin is seen from different angles.
• Micro-lettering – it has very small lettering on the lower inside rim on both sides of the coin. One pound on the obverse “heads” side and the year of production on the reverse “tails” side, for example 2016 or 2017.
• Milled edges – it has grooves on alternate sides.
• Hidden high security feature – a high security feature is built into the coin to protect it from counterfeiting in the future.
The Royal Mint has gone as far as to call it, “the most secure coin in the world”.
The design featured on the upcoming coin was created by David Pearce. At aged 15, his design of the English rose, the Welsh leek, the Scottish thistle and the Northern Irish shamrock emerging from one stem within a royal coronet won a public design competition. The other side of the coin will feature the fifth coinage portrait of Her Majesty the Queen.
In addition to the design changes, the coin is also changing dimensions. I will now be thinner and lighter than the current incarnation while at the same time having a slightly larger diameter.
Countless vending machines, parking machines and other coin operated machines will need to be adapted to accept the new coins. To ease the burden on manufacturers of these coin accepting machines, the Royal Mint has provided trial versions of the new coin for equipment testing and product development. The Automatic Vending Association has said that it expects the changes to cost in the region of £100m across the industry. David Gauke, the chief secretary to the Treasury, said, “The pound as we know it will not be round for much longer. The introduction of this new £1 coin will be a highly significant event and we are working with the Royal Mint to ensure key industries are ready and to ensure a smooth transition.”
From March 2017 to September 2017, both forms of the £1 coin will be legal tender. Following on from Autumn, 2017, the old coin will not be considered legal tender anymore.