19 Mar 2014

Budget 2014: £1 coin to be replaced

The £1 coin is to be replaced with a new 12-sided version, shaped like the old “threepenny bit”, in a bid to tackle forgery, the government announces.

New one pound coin (picture: Royal Mint)

In his budget announcement today, Chancellor George Osborne will announce the replacement of the current £1 coin – which has been in circulation for over thirty years.

The new coin will be the “most secure coin in the world”, the government says.

A government source said: “After thirty years loyal service, the time is right to retire the current £1 coin, and replace it with the most secure coin in the world.

“With advances in technology making high value coins like the £1 ever more vulnerable to counterfeiters, it’s vital that we keep several paces ahead of the criminals to maintain the integrity of our currency.

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New one pound coin (picture: Royal Mint)

“I am particularly pleased that the coin will take a giant leap into the future, using cutting edge British technology while at the same time, paying a fitting tribute to past in the12-sided design of the iconic threepenny bit”.


The Royal Mint estimates that 3 per cent of £1 coins, totalling £45m, are now forgeries – and in some parts of the country the figure is as high as 6 per cent.

Around two million counterfeit coins have been removed from circulation each year over the past few years, the government says, at a “direct cost to the banks and cash handling centres, and to the economy”.

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The new coin will be of a “bi-metallic construction” with two colours (as in the €1 coin), will be twelve-sided, and will include the Royal Mint’s new iSIS technology, (Integrated Secure Identification System), which incorporates three tiers of banknote-strength security and “can be authenticated via high-speed automated detection at all points within the cash cycle”.

It is expected that the coin can be introduced in 2017.

The announcement will come as a part of the Budget 2014 announcement, which is also expected to include an increase to the personal allowance, and childcare tax breaks.