The Royal Mint has announced the arrival of the new twelve-sided £1 coin. The coin will replace the old ‘Round Pound’ that entered circulation in 1983, which, in turn, replaced the old one pound note.
The current one pound coin will cease to be legal tender on 15th October. Though don’t worry; banks will still accept the old coins for some time after that, but it might be an idea to start emptying your piggy banks and checking down the back of your sofa before the new hi-tech coins hit the high streets.
The new twelve-sided coin is thinner, lighter and slightly bigger than the one we have at present, and experts believe that its distinctive design will make it much more difficult to counterfeit.
It is estimated that about one in every thirty pound coins in circulation are counterfeit, creating a massive headache for businesses and the Royal Mint.
The new twelve-sided pound coin will enter circulation in March 2017.
The coin has been hailed as “the most secure coin in the world” because of its many security features, including a holographic image that changes from a “£” symbol to the number “1” when the coin is viewed from different angles.
Its design is based on the old threepenny bit, which went out of circulation in 1971. Nowadays, three old pennies would represent about 20 pence.
More than 1.5 billion of the new £1 coins are being manufactured by the Royal Mint in Wales, with more than 120,000 an hour already being produced at its plant in Wales.
If all the coins were put side by side, it is estimated that there would be enough to stretch from the UK to Australia – and back again.
However, there is a warning from retailers that some vending machines may be unable to accept the new coinage in time for their introduction in March. The British Retail Consortium claims that the industry is “committed” to being prepared for the change.
James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, said that it was essential for retailers to be prepared for the debut of the new coin.
As with any currency change, there are likely to be a few initial problems with industries that use a lot of coin-operated machines such as launderettes and amusement arcades. A mere three months doesn’t seem as much time as many firms would like to make the changes, but if they want to remain in business they have little choice.
James Callender, who runs an amusement arcade on the south coast of England, is none too happy about the idea.
“It’s all very well for the government to make these changes, but it’s not them that has to foot the bill,” said the angry businessman. “I reckon that apart from all the inconvenience, I’m looking at around £20,000 to convert all my machines. And are we going to get any help from the government? Well, the answer to that is a big, fat ‘no’. I think it’s outrageous. Times are hard enough as it is in this kind of business. People just don’t have the spare cash hanging around like they used to. This changeover could put me out of business.”