UK takes on counterfeiters with new £1 coin
19 March 2014 | 3619 views | 3
Britain is to get a new 12-sided £1 coin which the government promises will be the most secure in the world and help to fight counterfeiters.
The new coin - modelled on the old threepenny bit, which went out of circulation with the advent on decimalisation in 1971 - replaces the current offering, which has been around for 30 years.
The Royal Mint estimates that three per cent of all £1 coins are now forgeries. Over the past few years, around two million fakes have been removed from circulation every 12 months, at considerable cost to banks and the general economy.
Plans for the coin were unveiled as Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne prepares to deliver his Budget today. This morning Osborne tweeted a picture of the coin against his famous red box:
In addition to having 12 sides, the proposed replacement will have a bi-metallic construction of two colours and include the Mint's new Integrated Secure Identification System (iSIS) technology.
The Mint has spent around £2 million on iSIS and claims that it enables not just coins, but the whole cash cycle to be more secure, protecting the public, vending machine operators, retailers, and the wider banking system.
The coin will have the Queen's effigy on the 'heads' side, but there will be a public competition to decide the design for the reverse, or 'tails' side.
Says Osborne: "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.
"I am particularly pleased that the coin will take a giant leap into the future, using cutting edge British technology while at the same time, paying tribute to the past in the 12-sided design of the iconic threepenny bit."
It's not just Britain's coins which are getting a makeover. In December the Bank of England confirmed that banknotes are going plastic, beginning in 2016 with a fiver featuring the face of Winston Churchill.