Shape of things to come
New quid coin ready to roll into circulation
A campaign has been launched to raise awareness of the change and to encourage the public to return the round coins which will lose their legal tender status on 15 October.
The Treasury claims the new coin will be the most secure coin in the world with several new security features, including a hologram, to prevent counterfeits, which cost taxpayers and businesses millions every year.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said: “March 28 should be an important date in everybody’s calendar this year – as we will have a new quid on the block.
“This is a historic moment as it’s the first time we’ve introduced a new £1 coin since 1983, and this one will be harder to counterfeit than ever before.
“Our message is clear: if you have a round one pound coin sitting at home or in your wallet, you need to spend it or return it to your bank before 15 October.”
The British Retail Consortium has been in discussions over the changes with The Royal Mint and the Treasury since the March 2014.
About 40% of vending and other cash-receiving machines will have to be upgraded. The British Parking Association says each meter change will cost £90-£130 for the simplest software upgrade and considerably more if they are to issue change.
The Royal Mint has put the cost of changing all the UK’s machines at £15m-£20m, although this may be a conservative estimate.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “Our aim is to ensure that the implementation of the new coin runs as smoothly as possible for our customers and staff.
“Our combined input into the project means we’re confident the new coin will address the issue of counterfeit coins for businesses and the general public alike, and will prove highly secure for customers to use.
“While there will be a natural transition period where some vending systems may only be able to accept the existing pound coin, our industry is committed to ensuring we’re fully prepared ahead of the launch in March.”
Association of Convenience Stories chief executive James Lowman said: “The introduction of a new £1 coin is a positive step toward taking counterfeit coins out of circulation.
“It is essential that retailers are prepared for the introduction of the new £1 coin, as the transition is likely to affect a number of areas of their business especially if they have coin operated machines such as self-service tills in store.
“We encourage retailers to make use of the guidance provided by the Royal Mint and to speak to their suppliers of coin operated machines as soon as possible to make the transition as smooth as possible for consumers.”
Little-known facts about the pound coin
• The Royal Mint has produced over 2.2 billion round pound coins since 1983 – that’s the same weight as nearly 6,000 elephants.
• 25 designs have appeared on the current pound coin from dragons to trees.
• The Royal Mint will make more than 1.5 billion of the new £1 coins.
• If you put these coins side by side, there would be enough to go from the UK to New Zealand and back.
• The new £1 coin is based on the design of the old 12-sided three-penny bit, a popular British coin which went out of circulation in 1971.
• It is being made at The Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales, at a rate of up to 2,000 a minute.
• This equates to more than 30 coins every single second and nearly three million per day.
• Some of the round £1 coins returned by the public will be melted down and reused to make the new £1 coin.
• The oldest British coins in the Royal Mint’s collection dates back over 2,000 years.
• Some coins produced by The Royal Mint are tested every year to ensure they meet the correct specifications at the ‘Trial of the Pyx’, a judicial ceremony which dates back to the twelfth century.
• 2017 will be the first time the new £1 coin goes to trial.
• The Chancellor is the UK’s official “Master of the Mint” – a title previously held by Sir Isaac Newton.