The round £1 coin has been a cornerstone of Britain’s cash supply for over 30 years, but the country will soon bid farewell to this trusty bit of currency and welcome an all-new, 12-sided £1 coin.
Why? Because approximately one in thirty £1 coins currently in use is a counterfeit, according to the Royal Mint.
Due to come into circulation in March 2017, the new 12-sided coin has been equipped with all sorts of flashy security features, including an image that functions like a hologram, changing from a pound symbol to the number 1 when viewed from different angles.
It has been given a distinctive shape to make it easily recognizable by sight and touch, along with micro-lettering, grooved edges on alternate sides and other elements designed to make life difficult for counterfeiters.
According to the Royal Mint, it’s the most secure coin in the world.
Businesses are being urged to make preparations for handling the new £1 coin ahead of the co-circulation period from March to September 2017, when both coins will continue to be in use.
From autumn next year, however, UK firms will be expected to have all their coin-handling equipment up to date to handle the new piece of currency, and will be advised to neither accept nor distribute the round £1 coin.
A new £1 coin website has been set up to help companies manage the change.
David Gauke, chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “The pound as we know it will not be round for much longer. The introduction of this new £1 coin will be a highly significant event and we are working with the Royal Mint to ensure key industries are ready and to ensure a smooth transition.”
While the idea of a cashless society appears to be gaining traction in some countries, like Sweden, the UK clearly still values some of the unique benefits that physical currency can offer.