This week we welcomed George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to The Royal Mint. Following his recent announcement about the new, highly secure UK £1 coin, the Chancellor visited us to meet the team who developed the iSIS technology that will be used in the new £1 coin.
iSIS is a new technology, developed here at the Mint, that has multiple levels of security including forensic security built into the coins that makes it harder to counterfeit and quicker to detect than any coin before it. With high speed authentication and multiple levels of security, iSIS technology will make the new UK £1 coin the most secure coin in the world to date!
During his visit the Chancellor also visited our Coin Production Room to see current £1 coins in production. After more than 30 years of service, the existing £1 coin has become more and more vulnerable to counterfeiting. It is estimated that 3% of all UK £1 coins in circulation are counterfeit. The new £1 coin will defend our coinage against this trend.
The prototype for the new £1 coin is a 12-sided, bi-metallic coin both of which are features that add to its security. Being a dodecagon, similarities have been drawn between the new £1 coin and the old threepence piece (3d). The threepence was the first coin to feature a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, it is instantly recognised and distinctly British.
A consultation with industry and the public is due to be held over the summer focusing on how to manage any impacts the change might have before a final decision is made on the precise specification of the new coin.
There will be a public competition held at a later date to choose the design for the reverse of the new £1 coin. The previous public coin design competition saw 29 50p coins designed by the public to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. You can still find all 29 designs in your change today, although many will have been tucked away into collections of all shapes and sizes, filling many a Coin Hunt collector album. The design that features on the current definitive circulating coins from 1p to £1 is also as a result of a public competition! The Royal Shield of Arms design was designed by Matthew Dent in 2008.