The wait is over! Today, as a nation, we welcome a big change, probably the biggest change to UK coinage in over 30 years! This change is, of course, the introduction of the new 12-sided £1 coin.
Since the round £1 coin was first introduced in 1983, it has become a familiar sight in the nation’s pockets. The pound has always been the nation’s coin, something that over time has been reflected in the designs; themes of heraldry and the Royal Arms have featured regularly along with floral emblems and regional landmarks representing England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Throughout its 34 years in circulation, there have been 24 designs in total, created by eight different designers. We’ve grown used to the design changing and representing the nation in different ways, but this latest change is more significant.
There’s a new ‘quid’ on the block – the first major change to the specification of the £1 coin since it replaced the £1 note in 1983. From its shape to its state-of-the-art security features, everything about this coin is new. It is designed to be fit for the future, using security features that aim to safeguard our currency for many years to come. Now, with the £1 entering circulation today here’s everything you need to know about your new £1 coin!
The coin itself
12 facts about the new £1 coin
- It has 12 sides, reminiscent of the old threepenny piece.
- It is bimetallic – made of two metals.
- It has alternating milled and smooth edges.
- The Royal Mint consulted with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to assess any impact for the visually impaired in relation to identifying the new £1 coin. User testing showed that the 12 sides of the new £1 coin and the milled edges made it easier to identify.
- It has a latent image; a bit like a hologram, the image changes from a ‘£’ symbol to the number ‘1’ when the coin is seen from different angles.
- It has micro-lettering on both sides of the coin – this is the first time micro-lettering like this has appeared on a UK coin.
- It also has a hidden high security feature, which replicates bank note level security for the first time on a coin, developed by The Royal Mint.
- The new pound coin features the fifth effigy of Her Majesty The Queen by Royal Mint Coin Designer Jody Clark.
- The new £1 coin will be thinner, lighter and slightly larger than the round pound; it is 2.8mm thick, has a diameter of 23.43mm and weighs 8.75g.
- The new pound coin was used for the coin toss at English Premiership League games on 18/19 March.
- While the coin enters circulation in 2017, you’ll be able to find new £1 coins dated 2016 and 2017 – as production began last year.
- You can strike your own 12-sided £1 coin at The Royal Mint Experience.
The design and its designer
The design is the result of a public design competition which began in 2014. The winner, David Pearce was just 15 when he won the competition. David’s design is an interpretation of the floral emblems of the UK; the Welsh leek, the Scottish thistle, the Northern Irish shamrock and the English rose.
Production and the numbers so far
We commenced production in early 2016 and are over halfway through our schedule. In total more than 1.5 billion new coins will be struck by the end 2017.
- On average around 10 coin presses have been working at any one time, 24/7, and we are now minting up to 140,000 coins per hour – that’s around 40 new £1 coins every second!
- If you put all 1.5 billion of the £1 coins required for circulation side by side, there would stretch from the UK to New Zealand, and back again! If you stacked each day’s production on top of each other, it would be higher than than Mount Everest!
- The pound starts off in two parts, the inner and outer. In order to put them together they are struck with a force of approximately 90 tons…that’s almost eleven African elephants!
- Did you know that because production of the new pound coin started last year, more than half a billion £1 coins will enter circulation dated 2016 and the rest will enter dated 2017?
The all important dates
There are three key dates to keep in your calendar: the day the coin enters circulation, the day you find one, and the day the round pounds are no longer legal tender.
- The new one pound coin will enter circulation on 28 March 2017 – approximately 300 million new £1 coins have been issued to cash centres across the country so far.
- When will you find one? Here’s a map of where you can find one on day one – if you find do find one, be sure to share them with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using #foundthepound!
- The round pound and new 12-sided £1 coin will co-circulate for a period of just over six months. Following this period, the round pound will be demonetised and will cease to be legal tender on 15 October 2017.
What happens to the old ’round’ pounds?
The ’round’ pounds are currently being withdrawn from circulation, with around 50 million removed so far! Many of the round pounds that return to The Royal Mint will be melted down – as the new coin is made out of a nickel brass alloy, we can recycle some of the coins that are returned.
For a period after the round pound loses its legal tender status on 15 October 2017, you will still be able to deposit them into your bank or Post Office account, however we would recommend checking with your bank for more details including deposit limits. With this in mind, be sure to check your piggybanks and pockets for £1 coins so that they can be spent or deposited into your bank account as soon as possible.
It’s all in the details
Whilst many will be waiting for the £1 to appear in their pockets, David’s design has also been struck to a superior quality in precious metal, for a range of commemorative coins. Limited editions of the coin have been issued in Gold Proof and Silver Proof, as well as a Brilliant Uncirculated. To add one to your collection, visit www.royalmint.com.