It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for; today the new 12-sided £1 coin enters circulation.
Following on from the new polymer £5 note, The Bank of England has released the new £1 coin across the country.
Labelled ‘The most secure coin in the world’, the new pound coin boasts a number of features that make it near impossible to counterfeit. The quid features a latent image, sort of like a hologram that will change from a ‘£’ symbol to a ‘1’ when viewed from different angles, as well as micro lettering and a ‘hidden high security feature’.
David Pearce, a 15-year-old schoolboy who beat off competition from over 6,000 entries, has designed the ‘tails’ side of the new coin, which will be based on the old threepenny bit. Refined by renowned coin artist David Lawrence and lettering expert Stephen Raw, the design features four emblems, a rose, leek, thistle and shamrock, to represent each of the nations of the United Kingdom.
The coin is to replace the current £1 coin which has been in circulation for over 34 years, after the current coin had succumb to the sophistication of counterfeiters with 1 in 30 £1 coins in circulation deemed fake.
The old £1 coin, introduced in 1983, will continue to be accepted until 15 October 2017, while the 247% year on year increase in contactless payments are set to kill the new coin by 2027.
— Farah Idris (@_FarahIdris) March 28, 2017
Over the next six months, charities are being encouraged to increase their presence in public areas, retail outlets and supermarkets with government research suggesting that there are millions of old coins saved up in the public’s piggy banks and jam jars, with 5% of people considering donating them when they cash them in.
Of course, the new coin has not come without controversy. Supermarkets have struggled to meet the deadline, resulting in Tesco unlocking 100,000 trollies to avoid chaos, while enraged chocolate fans will be horrified to hear that 15% of Britain’s 500,000 vending machines are still unable to accept the new coin. Drivers are even being advised to carry a mix of old and new £1 coins in their cars while parking meters across the UK are upgraded, costing the industry an estimated £50 million.
So bring on the stolen Tesco trollies, the angry driver vs. traffic warden arguments and the crying children outside vending machines. In the mean time, all we can do is Keep Calm and Carry On.