World Coins

UK gets ready to say goodbye to the 'Round Pound'

Businesses in the United Kingdom are preparing for the new 12-sided £1 coin, which will begin circulating in the spring of 2017.

Image courtesy of Royal Mint

The United Kingdom’s new 12-sided £1 coin will begin circulating in about four months, and the Royal Mint is getting out in front of the major change to change by advising U.K. businesses on how to prepare and ensure they won’t experience difficulties when the switch is made.

The Royal Mint launched on Oct. 31 a new website,, dedicated to the informational outreach. The 12-sided coin will replace the coin nicknamed the “Round Pound,” which has circulated for the last 30 years.

Final Round Pound designBishop designs Britain's final 'round pound' as series ends: The commemorative design for 2016 was not released into circulation, but is only available as a commemorative coin sold above face value.

“We would encourage business owners to visit the website as soon as possible, to find out how the new £1 coin could affect their business and what steps they need to take to prepare for the launch of the coin in March 2017,” Royal Mint Chief Executive Adam Lawrence said. 

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The Royal Mint recommends that all cash-handling businesses should take the following steps before March 2017:

— Check whether they operate equipment that handles the £1 coin.
— Contact their equipment supplier to find out if they need to make any adaptations or upgrades.
— Make the necessary changes to their coin handling equipment.
— Train their staff on the features of the new £1 coin.
— Make arrangements with their bank or cash-in-transit provider to return the current £1 coin and new £1 coin in separate packaging.

According to a Royal Mint release, “The new pound coin will be the most secure of its kind in the world, to combat counterfeiters who have around 45 million counterfeit £1 coins currently in circulation. New security features include a hologram-like image that changes from a ‘£’ symbol to the number ‘1’ when the coin is seen from different angles. It also has micro-lettering and milled edges.”

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. 

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