Described as the ‘most secure coin in the world’, the new 12-sided £1 will enter circulation at the end of March. Is this a step forward for British currency, or is it more trouble than it’s worth?
Here’s a date for your 2017 diaries: 28 March.
It’s when the new 12-sided £1 coin is set to enter circulation.
Described as the ‘most secure in the world’, the distinctive gold and silver-coloured coin contains a host of anti-counterfeiting features including a hologram that changes from a ‘£’ symbol to the number ‘1’ when viewed from different angles.
The Royal Mint estimates that around one in 30 of the current round £1 coins are fake, so the new quid has been introduced to keep several paces ahead of the counterfeiters. But at what cost to consumers?
Counting the costs
Well, for starters, you only have six months to spend or bank your old £1 coins, as they’ll cease to be legal tender on 15 October.
And with the government claiming that around £1.3 billion worth of coins are stored in savings jars across the country, with the current £1 coin accounting for nearly a third of these, it’s definitely time to start raiding them!
So what about the overall cost to the economy?
Things like payphones and fruit machines will also be affected.
Similar changes were needed when the new fiver was introduced on 13 September last year and these didn’t exactly happen without a hitch, with many people reporting that machines wouldn’t accept the latest design.
— Murad Qureshi (@MuradQureshiLDN) November 4, 2016
In fact, only recently, I spotted car parking ticket machines that still wouldn’t accept the new plastic notes.
So what are odds that the new pound coin causes similar problems?
Pounds win prizes
Of course, the introduction of the new £5 note did provide the opportunity for eagle-eyed consumers to make a tidy profit.
Notes with low serial numbers or rare engravings are still being exchanged for hundreds of pounds online.
Only last month, a super-rare Jane Austen fiver, apparently worth £50,000, was found stuffed in a Christmas card. And there are supposedly two more of these notes yet to be discovered…
When the cashier hands over your change and the fiver ISN'T worth thousands of pounds pic.twitter.com/I0g5r6CC3G
— Which? Money (@WhichMoney) December 8, 2016
And with news that some of the rarer old pound coins, such as the Edinburgh £1, are already being sold on eBay, could we soon be treating our small change like a golden ticket to Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, too?
New £10 and £20 notes on the way
A new £10 is on its way this summer, along with a new £20 to follow by 2020. Like the new £5, both will be made from polymer, so they’re more durable, and will be packed with security features to make them harder to counterfeit.
So what are your thoughts on our new currency? Are you pleased we’re making steps to battle counterfeiting? Or is this new money more hassle than it’s worth?
Update: 3 May 2017
They’re touted as being the ‘most secure coin in the world’ and described as ‘indestructible’, but just over a month since the new £1 coin came into circulation, there have been numerous reports of faulty coins.
Reports vary from the coins being cracked or warped to the silver-coloured nickel-plated alloy centre separating from the gold-coloured nickel-brass outer ring. One even claimed the Queen’s head was missing.
The Royal Mint has now admitted that a small amount of £1 coins in circulation may be faulty after they were struck at a rapid rate during production.
Faulty versions of the coin, considered collectors’ items, are already appearing on internet auction sites, with one apparently selling for £2,500