/ Money

Update: is the new quid on the block set to cause trouble?

New pound coin

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?

Thousands of businesses will have to adapt their self-service checkouts, vending machines and shopping trolleys, while councils will need to upgrade parking meters to accept the new coins.

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.

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…

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


Some years ago a friend who owned a small country pub showed me a collection of forged notes that his staff had been given. With a little guidance it was easy to spot most of the fakes, but how many of us check the notes and coins we are given? I wonder if the continued problems will hasten the cashless society.

I do like the animated image in your introduction, Joe. Her Majesty was not amused but then saw the funny side. 🙂

Bacchanalia says:
7 January 2017

The reason magazines date their issues strangely is often because some news is embargoed, eg new model motorhome, only for release in March – so March issue comes out at the end of January


I think that explanation will only apply on the first of April, Bacchanalia.

kenneth raine says:
7 January 2017

An opportunity for invention of a till side scanner


Presumably the £1 coin shown is either a mistake (worth a lot) or a forgery since it is dated 2016, and we won’t have any in circulation until 2017? Or is it a bit like magazines in reverse where we’ll soon have Which? February edition out in January (I’ve never understood that marketing ploy with monthlies. Why not bring out the February edition in….February?)

If 1 in 30 current £1 coins are forged then it is clear we need a replacement. Will the banks be checking all the coins we take back and only paying out on the genuine ones?


Well spotted, Malcolm. I’d hope there’s nothing dodgy about the image considering it was kindly supplied by the Royal Mint 😛


I always wondered if the Japanese coins with holes were made by the Polo Mint.

Gradivus says:
9 January 2017

I was told by a newsagent that the month shown on a magazine indicates when it is to be REMOVED from the shelves. i.e. the February-dated edition goes on sale in January, then is removed in February to make way for the next edition.

dugsey says:
3 February 2017

No !! They simply pass them out to customers, if they find forged coins in their tills they are not going to take the loss. Let their customers take the loss.