28 March 2017

The new £1: what you need to know

You might find your change now includes shiny new 12-sided pound coins, as well as the old ‘round pounds’. Find out how this might affect you – and what you should do with your old coins.

Out with the old, in with the new

The Royal Mint, the body that makes British coins, has launched a new, more secure one pound coin. But the pound as we know it isn’t going anywhere just yet.

Around one in 30 of the current pounds is thought to be fake, which costs both businesses and the taxpayer money. Technology has also moved on since the old pound was introduced back in 1983, so we can now make coins that are safer and harder to counterfeit.

Find out more about the new security features

What does it look like?

As well as being thinner, lighter and larger than its predecessor, the new pound has twelve sides and two different coloured sections – as you already see in the £2 coin.

The new 12 sided £1 coin is here

Play video - The new 12 sided £1 coin is here new £1 coin

Like the current pound, the new coin features the profile of Queen Elizabeth II. The ‘tail’ side, however, was designed by 15-year-old David Pearce, whose idea was selected from more than 6,000 entries. His design features four plants associated with the countries that make up the UK: the rose (England), the thistle (Scotland), the leek (Wales) and shamrock (Ireland).

Where else will I notice changes?

Between 28 March and 15 October – the ‘co-circulation period’ – you will be able to use both the old and new coins. Businesses have been given this time to upgrade their equipment to accept the new pound, so it might be a good idea to keep some old £1s in your purse or wallet until the changes have been made. 

Machines that currently accept pound coins include:

  • Parking meters

  • Vending machines

  • Gym lockers

  • Supermarket trolleys.

Will my old coins be valuable?

You might find that collectors are willing to pay a premium for the rarest of the 25 designs featured on the old pound – some are already listed on sites like eBay for over £200. 

But the only way to guarantee that you don’t lose your money is to spend your old pounds or hand them in to your local building society, bank or post office before 15 October 2017. However, if you’re a Nationwide customer you’ll still be able to deposit the old £1 coins into your account after the 15 October at your local branch. Some of these coins will be melted down to make the 1.5 billion new coins that the Mint is producing.

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