By Lyndsey Hall
The new hexagonal pound coin became legal tender on March 28th – or as Metro stated, there’s a ‘new quid on the block’.
Supermarket trolleys, self-service checkouts, parking meters and slot machines will all be gradually updated to accept the new pound, with a period of transition until the old coin is removed from circulation in October. Some will accept both during this time, but many will be slow to change, despite it being three years since the new coin was first announced and a competition was run to design the tails side.
David Pearce, 15, from Walsall was chosen as the winning artist, with his design of a rose, thistle, leek and shamrock all rising from the same stem within a crown, symbolising the four nations of the British Isles, united under one monarchy. Let’s hope the Scottish don’t vote to leave the UK in the wake of Brexit, or a new design may be required sooner rather than later.
In addition to seeing his design on coins in every purse and wallet, Pearce won a £10,000 prize and a tour of the Royal Mint, to see how his design was turned into national currency.
The old, round pound was introduced over thirty four years ago, and is thought to be the most counterfeited coin in circulation, with one in every thirty, or almost 45 million pound coins, being fake. Removing these forgeries from circulation costs taxpayers millions every year, as around 2 million are removed each year.
The new coin is based on the threepenny bit, one of the very first coins Queen Elizabeth II appeared on, back in 1953. The current design was first seen in 1983, when the old Bank of England £1 note was being phased out.
The hexagonal pound has been fitted with state of the art technology that allows it to be authenticated by automated detection throughout the cash cycle. It is two colour, similar to the £2 coin, and features a security-proof hologram, which flickers between a ‘£’ symbol and the number ‘1’ under different lights.
There is also a hidden security feature built into the coin that hasn’t been revealed to the public, but speculation is rife online. Even if the secret feature is just a ruse, it is a great deterrent to potential forgers.
The old coin will be removed from circulation and cease to be accepted on October 15th, with some of the coins (likely the genuine ones) being melted down and used to manufacture the new version. If you keep bags of coins for your business, or save them in a piggy bank, you can take them to your bank and exchange them at any time.