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February 9, 2023

New pound coin designed to combat counterfeiting

A new GBP 1 coin, billed by the Royal Mint as the “most secure coin in the world”, is to be introduced in 2017, the BBC informs. The move comes amid concerns about the 30-year old coin’s vulnerability to counterfeiting, with an estimated 45 million forgeries in circulation. The new coin is based on the design of the old threepenny bit, a 12-sided coin in circulation between 1937 and 1971. A competition will be held to decide what image to put on the “tails” side of the coin. The Royal Mint, which believes 3 percent of existing GBP 1 coins are fake, said the move would increase “public confidence” in the UK’s currency and reduce costs for banks and other businesses. The government said it would hold a detailed consultation on the impact of the change on businesses, which may face costs from having to change vending machines, supermarket trolleys and lockers at gyms and leisure centres. The announcement came as Chancellor George Osborne was preparing to deliver his fifth Budget on Wednesday. The current GBP 1 coin was introduced in 1983 as part of the phasing-out of the GBP 1 note, which was withdrawn five years later. Of the 1.5 billion coins estimated to be in circulation, as many as two million counterfeit ones are removed every year. The government said the existing coin had been in existence longer than most others and its technology was no longer suitable to combat increasingly sophisticated counterfeiting techniques. The new coin will be made in two colors and will incorporate state-of-the-art technology to ensure it can be “authenticated via high-speed automated detection at all points within the cash cycle”, the government added. While the Queen’s head will be on the obverse side of the coin, as it is on all legal tender in the UK, the Treasury has said there will be a public competition to decide the image on the other side.

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