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.
“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”.
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.