Big changes coming to British coins

A new, more secure £1 coin is coming to the United Kingdom, and within several months the historic “Round Pounds” will have rolled into the history books. There is already heavy demand for trial examples of the new 12-sided technological wonder; will these changes spark additional interest in the series?

Full Video Transcript: 

Good morning. Welcome to the Monday Morning Brief. I’m Jeff Starck of
Coin World.

2017 marks the end of an era for coinage of the United Kingdom.

The “round pound” that debuted in 1984 is on its way out, making way for a new, technologically secure 12-sided, ringed bimetallic pound coin.

The new coin debuts in a little over a month, on March 28, and the final day that old round pound coins can be redeemed is October 15.

Round pound coinsThe exact date that your ‘Round Pounds’ will no longer be accepted as money: The new 12-sided £1 coin will begin circulating in March. How long will the current round version be accepted as legal tender?

Changes were necessary, according to the Royal Mint, because of a scourge of counterfeiting of the homogenous pound coins.

As many as 3 percent of the pound coins in circulation are fake. That number translates to as many as 45 million coins.

In response, the Royal Mint announced the new coin in 2014, using it as a platform to showcase the Royal Mint’s anti-counterfeiting technology, which it calls Integrated Secure Identification Systems. 

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 new pound.

The Royal Mint held a public competition to design the reverse of the new coin. They received more than 6,000 entries, but the winning designer was 15-year-old student David Pearce

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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To help merchants and vending companies make a smooth transition to the new technology, the Royal Mint released some 200,000 trial examples of the new coin, dated 2016. 

Demand for the new design and technology have seen those trial pieces sell for big money — dozens of sales of these pieces have been recorded in the past month at the United Kingdom’s eBay site. Prices range from about $110 to $225 U.S. 

If you don’t want to wait that long, the Royal Mint has been selling 2017 sets that include the new pound.

The most affordable of those is the annual definitive coin set, which retails for about £30 — about $38 U.S. 

But if you want to find them at face value, you’ll just have to wait a little longer. 

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For Coin World, I’m Jeff Starck. Happy collecting!

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