By Lyndsey Hall
The Royal Mint is running a competition to find a new design for the £1 coin. The winner will receive a £10,000 fee for the design, and, of course, will have the honour of seeing their design in the wallets and purses of every person in the UK for years to come. They will also be invited to the Royal Mint to see their design turned into national currency.
In 2017, the UK will introduce a new £1 coin with a 12 sided, polygonal design, dispensing with the current round version, which is believed to have the highest number of counterfeits in circulation of any coin. The Royal Mint estimates that 3% of existing £1 coins are fake; that’s one in every thirty pounds, and almost 45 million pound coins, costing businesses, banks and taxpayers millions every year. Around 2 million £1 coins are removed from circulation each year due to forgery.
The new design 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design was first seen in 1983, when the old Bank of England £1 note began to be phased out, before becoming completely withdrawn in 1992. The new coin will be fitted with state of the art technology that will allow it to be authenticated by automated detection throughout the cash cycle. It will also be two colours, similar to the £2 coin, with the Queen’s head on one side, and the competition winner’s design on the Tails side.
The new coin is part of a larger scale plan to improve the security and integrity of the British currency; the Bank of England announced earlier this year that from 2016 banknotes will be produced from polymer, a type of plastic, rather than cotton. The new notes are claimed to be more secure and impervious to dirt than the current notes, which have been in production for more than 100 years. They won’t tear easily, and can withstand being put through the washing machine, so no more ruined notes that you forgot were in your trouser pocket; but they will melt under the intense heat of an iron. Twenty countries around the world are already using the new polymer notes, including Canada, New Zealand, Israel and Kuwait.
The first note to get the plastic treatment will be the £5 note, which goes into production next year, and will have Winston Churchill on one side. The £10 note will follow a year later, and will depict Jane Austen.
To find out more about the Royal Mint’s design competition, and to enter your design, click here.
What are your thoughts on the new British currency? Is it a step in the right direction to eradicate forgery and strengthen the economy? Tell us in the Comments.
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