27 February 2017

Are you ready for the new £1 coin?

On 28 March 2017, the Royal Mint will launch a new, 12-sided £1 coin. But its shape isn’t the only thing that’s changed; the new coin boasts a number of security features that its predecessor – first introduced in 1983 to replace the £1 note – does not have.

Why is the £1 coin being replaced?

The current pound coin is being replaced for the first time in over thirty years because it is vulnerable to counterfeiting, costing businesses and the taxpayer money. In fact, around one in 30 coins currently in circulation is thought to be fake.

You can read the '9 things you never knew about the pound' here

‘The most secure coin in the world’

As well as being thinner, lighter and slightly larger than the current pound, the new coin has been designed to be much more secure. Some improvements are obvious, but others may not be visible to the naked eye:

  • 12-sided – instantly recognisable, even by touch
  • Bimetallic – the outer ring is gold coloured nickel-brass and the inner ring is a silver-coloured nickel-plated alloy 
  • Latent image – it has an image similar to a hologram, that changes from a ‘£’ symbol to the number ‘1’ when seen from different angles
  • Micro-lettering – tiny lettering on the lower inside rim reads ‘one pound’ and ‘2017’ on each side
  • Milled edges – it has grooves on alternate sides
  • Hidden high security feature – an additional high security feature is built into the coin. 

Key dates to be aware of

From 28 March until 15 October, both coins will be in circulation. This means that you can use and expect to receive both the old and new £1 coin when you’re at the shops. What you may notice is that retailers start to introduce ticket machines and shopping trolleys that take the new coin.

From 16 October, the old ‘round pound’ should no longer be used – or given to you as change. You may still be able to deposit the old £1 at your bank or post office, but check in branch for more details.

What happens to your old £1 coins?

The government estimates that £1.3bn worth of coins are stashed in piggy banks or coin jars in our homes. About a third of those (£433m) are pound coins , which will lose their legal value after the replacement is introduced.

But don’t worry, the soon-to-be old £1 coins don’t actually become worthless until 15 October, so there’s still plenty of time to decide whether to spend or bank your ‘round pounds’.

Some of the £1 coins handed in by the public will be melted down and reused to make the 1.5 billion new coins that the Royal Mint is producing.

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