Heralded as the “most secure coin in the world” by the Royal Mint, a new British £1 coin is to be launched in 2017.
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Based on the historic threepenny bit – the 12-sided coin used in the UK from 1937 to 1971 – the Government has said it will be the hardest coin in the world for criminals to copy.
The £1 coin in circulation currently was introduced in 1983 in order to phase-out the £1 note.
However research from the Royal Mint suggests the coin is particularly susceptible to counterfeiting.
The move to a new coin has been fueled that estimations as many as 45 million of the 1.5 billion coins in circulation are fake.
The 30-year old coins vulnerability to counterfeiting sees nearly two million fake coins removed from circulation every year.
Chancellor George Osborne noted that “one in 30 pound coins is counterfeit, and that costs businesses and the taxpayer millions each year” in his Budget statement to the Commons.
He called the new coin “highly secure” – stating it was “a more resilient pound for a more resilient economy.”
The 12-sided shape is a particularly strong deterrent for counterfeiting, as is the use of two differently coloured metals to achieve the coin.
They will also benefit from the Royal Mint’s new “isis” technology which allows a coin to be scanned for authenticity.
Currently, fake £1 coins can be spotted by mistakes to the milled edge of the coin, or incorrect colours and uneven lettering.
As one of the most commonly used coins in the UK, many aspects of everyday life will be affected – possibly including the need to adapt phone boxes, lockers, shopping trolleys and vending machines which all utilise the coin’s unique shape.
The Government has stated it will complete a thorough examination on the impact of the coin’s introduction.
Andrew Mills told the BBC’s Today programme the coin’s introduction could cost the economy up to GBP 20 million over the three years leading up to its introduction.
However the Royal Mint have stated the coin “will be expressly designed to fit existing mechanisms.”
It also stated that the new coin would increase confidence in currency in the UK public and reduce costs for businesses.
Whilst the ‘heads’ will feature the Queen’s head, a competition will also be held for a member of the public to design the ‘tails’ side.
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