World Coins

When the 'Round Pound' will no longer be accepted

Not long after the release of the new 12-sided £1 coin into circulation, “Round Pounds” like these will lose their legal tender status.

Getty image

United Kingdom residents are by now likely well aware that the shape of their £1 coin is about to change, but less talked about has been the date on which their old £1 coins, also known as the “Round Pound,” will no longer be valid legal tender. 

In a Feb. 14 press release from the British Treasury, Baroness Neville Rolfe, commercial secretary to the Treasury, said people will have less than seven months to completely make the switch after the release of the new 12-sided £1 coin on March 28. 

“Our message is clear: if you have a round one pound coin sitting at home or in your wallet, you need to spend it or return it to your bank before Oct. 15,” Rolfe said. 

Connect with Coin World:

Sign up for our free eNewsletter
Like us on Facebook  
Follow us on Twitter

After Oct. 15, all “Round Pounds” will be nothing more than collectibles of a bygone era.

Final Round Pound coinBishop designs Britain's final 'round pound' as series ends: The commemorative design for 2016 is not being released into circulation, but is only available as a commemorative coin.

This is the first time the £1 coin has been changed in over 30 years, and the Treasury estimates that about one third of the £1.3 billion worth of coins sitting in savings jars across the country are “Round Pounds.”

That means a lot of spending and exchanging needs to happen. 

Why is the £1 coin changing?

As many as 3 percent of the current round £1 coins (about 45 million) are fake, according to the Royal Mint.

To strike back against counterfeiters, the Royal Mint designed a larger, ringed-bimetallic, 12-sided £1 coin that they first announced in March 2014, just about three years before it would be put into circulation.

The coin incorporates 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 United Kingdom’s new 12-sided £1 coin will begin circulating on March 28. The Royal Mint got out in front of the major change to change by launching on Oct. 31, 2016.

The site is dedicated to providing UK residents and businesses with information about the switch, and tips on how to prepare for it. 

What will the new £1 coin look like?

The latest portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, which was designed by Royal Mint engraver Jody Clark and has been in use since 2015, will be on the obverse of the ringed-bimetallic coin.

To design the reverse of the new 12-sided coin, the Royal Mint held a public competition. The winning designer, among the more than 6,000 entries, was 15-year-old student David Pearce. 

The winning entry was announced in March 2015.

Pearce’s design features a rose, leek, thistle and shamrock — four well-known symbols of the United Kingdom — all emerging from a royal coronet. 

Community Comments