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New £1 coin unveiled

Plans are underway to replace the £1 coin with a new twelve-sided version as the Treasury looks to eradicate the problem of forgeries.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

New £1 coin unveiled

Plans are underway to replace the £1 coin with a new twelve-sided version as the Treasury looks to eradicate the problem of forgeries.

The Royal Mint has produced a prototype for the replacement coin which utilises multiple layers of cutting edge technology to enable the UK to rapidly reduce the rate of fake coins entering general circulation.

A public consultation will be held over the summer on how to manage any impacts before a final decision is made on the precise specification of the new coin, including the metal composition. The Royal Mint will also work closely with key industry stakeholders to conduct a full consultation to understand the potential impact for industry.

The design for the reverse, or ‘tails’, of the coin will be decided after a public competition. 

The Royal Mint said the proposed £1 coin, which evokes memories of the pre-decimalisation three-penny piece, will be the most secure circulating coin in the world to date.

Constructed from two different coloured metals, the coin will contain an iSIS security feature - a new high security coinage currency system developed by The Royal Mint.

The Royal Mint said iSIS, which stands for Integrated Secure Identification Systems, not only protects coins but also helps the whole cash cycle to be more secure, protecting the public, vending machine operators, retailers, and the wider banking system.

Project iSIS is the work of The Royal Mint’s in-house technology team and involves the application of an existing security technology that has been used for decades in banknotes. It is the first time that this existing security has been successfully embedded into coins.

Andrew Mills, The Royal Mint’s director of circulating coin, said: "The development of our iSIS project has enabled us to develop a new generation of low cost, high security, plated coin with multiple levels of banknote-strength security built in. It will enable enhanced security throughout the cash cycle, from vending, parking, retail, and banking." 

The Royal Mint said counterfeit £1 coins cost around £2 million a year and that there are an estimated 45 million in circulation.

Chancellor George Osborne said: "After thirty years loyal service, the time is right to retire the current £1 coin, and replace it with the most secure coin in the world. With advances in technology making high value coins like the £1 ever more vulnerable to counterfeiters, it’s vital that we keep several paces ahead of the criminals to maintain the integrity of our currency."

The new coin is expected to be introduced in 2017.

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