Heraldic designs, regional landmarks and cultural interpretations of the UK such as fish and chips and cups of tea were amongst over 6,000 entries submitted by the public for consideration when the competition to design the UK’s new bimetallic 12-sided £1 coin was announced in 2014. Now, three years later, the moment when we will find the new coin in our pockets on 28 March is fast approaching.
For those keen to capture this moment – the biggest change in more than 30 years of UK coin history – The Royal Mint has released commemorative versions of the new coin, in gold, silver and platinum, as well as Brilliant Uncirculated ‘mint condition’ variants. For those who can’t wait to find one in their change, these collectable versions are available now from the Mint’s website www.royalmint.com.
The coin features a design by competition winner David Pearce. He was just 15 years old when his fresh interpretation of traditional floral emblems was chosen to symbolise the four parts of the UK on its most modern coin. Picturing the Welsh leek, the Scottish thistle, the Northern Irish shamrock and the English rose emerging from a royal coronet, his design will be seen by millions when it lands in tills and purses across the UK on 28 March this year.
Dr Kevin Clancy, Director of The Royal Mint Museum, had the tricky job of helping to make the final decision: “It was a simple brief. We were looking for something that clearly represented the culture and values of the United Kingdom. We needed a design that was fresh, imaginative and well-balanced.
“The winning idea combined traditional elements but also symbolised a modern United Kingdom in an elegant and a succinct way. It was a young person’s interpretation of an idea while still being steeped in history and tradition.”
Chief Engraver, Gordon Summers, had the task of assessing the coin for its suitability for striking onto a coin from the technical point of view.
“The British public love their coins and their coin history and we knew that the new coin would be judged on how it looked and felt. All coins strike a delicate balance between heritage and innovation and art and engineering. We had to choose a design that would work well on the small canvas of the coin.”
While the 12-sided shape may be familiar to people who recognise the old ‘threepenny bit’, other features are the result of the most up-to-date minting technology.
“Some of the visible security features, such as the micro-lettering and a latent feature, can only be achieved through computer-aided design technology which wasn’t available when the pound coin was introduced in 1983”, said Gordon.
The new 12-sided £1 coin is the most innovative ever produced by The Royal Mint. A showcase for the latest technology, as well as engraving skills honed over The Royal Mint’s 1,000-year history, this coin has been designed to be fit for the future, using security features that aim to safeguard our currency for years to come.
Alongside other visible security elements, the coin’s 12-sided shape and bimetallic composition mean it will combat the challenge of sophisticated counterfeiting. The addition of The Royal Mint’s patented High Security Feature has added to its reputation as the most secure coin in the world.