To strike back against counterfeiters, the Royal Mint will soon be
striking a new £1 coin.
The United Kingdom’s Treasury announced March 18 that a new
ringed-bimetallic coin would replace the “round pound” beginning in 2017.
The new £1 coin will be 12-sided (resembling the threepence coin
that circulated from 1937 until decimalization in 1970) and
incorporate the latest in security features, namely the Royal Mint’s
patented iSIS technology, which is “a revolutionary new high security
coinage currency system,” according to the Royal Mint. “iSIS —
Integrated Secure Identification Systems — enables not just coins, but
the whole cash cycle to be more secure, protecting the public, vending
machine operators, retailers, and the wider banking system.”
The new system features technology employed in bank note production
for decades, the Royal Mint said, but exact details are not being released.
As many as 3 percent of £1 coins in circulation (45 million coins)
are fake, according to a survey by the Royal Mint, though one expert
suggests that the real number is actually larger.
The abundant designs and edge inscriptions, as well as the
homogenous alloy, for the genuine coins are some of the reasons
counterfeiters have successfully expanded to such extremes, even by
the Royal Mint’s admission. Since debuting in 1983, the coin has
featured 23 different reverse designs, four obverse designs and seven
different edge inscriptions.
A public design competition will be conducted to choose the theme
for the reverse of the coin. The Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Queen
Elizabeth II is expected to appear on the obverse, based on a
publicity image released by the Royal Mint.