Today George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, revealed that HM Treasury believes there is a strong case for introducing a new British Pound coin to help reduce counterfeiting and ensure the integrity of the United Kingdom’s currency.
The Royal Mint has developed world-leading anti-counterfeiting technology which will enable Her Majesty’s Treasury to modernise the United Kingdom’s circulating currency with the production of a brand new £1 coin.
The Royal Mint has produced a prototype for a replacement £1 coin which utilises multiple layers of cutting edge technology and would allow the United Kingdom to rapidly reduce the rate of counterfeit coins entering general circulation.
The proposed £1 coin will be the most secure circulating coin in the world to date.
A public consultation will be held over the summer focusing on how to manage any impacts before a final decision is made on the precise specification of the new coin, including the metal composition.
The Royal Mint will work closely with key industry stakeholders to conduct a full consultation in order to understand the potential impact for industry.
A public design competition will be held at a later date to choose the design for the reverse, or ‘tails’, of the coin which is expected to be introduced in 2017.
The proposed £1 coin design is distinctly British, with a twelve-sided shape which evokes memories of the pre-decimalisation threepence piece.
It will be constructed from two different coloured metals and contain an iSIS security feature – a revolutionary new high security coinage currency system developed by 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.
Project iSIS is the work of The Royal Mint’s in-house technology team and involves the application of an existing security technology that has been proven over decades in banknotes. It is the first time that this existing security has been successfully embedded into coins.
George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said, “ After thirty years loyal service, the time is right to retire the current £1 coin, and replace it with the most secure coin in the world. With advances in technology making high value coins like the £1 ever more vulnerable to counterfeiters, it’s vital that we keep several paces ahead of the criminals to maintain the integrity of our currency. I am particularly pleased that the coin will take a giant leap into the future, using cutting edge British technology while at the same time, paying tribute to past in the12-sided design of the iconic threpenny bit.”
iSIS is the culmination of a period of intense research and development by The Royal Mint’s in-house team, and has seen an investment of over £2m to date, with a significant amount more planned over the next couple of years as the iSIS technology is commercialised.
The Royal Mint’s Project iSIS received the 2013 Innovation Award from The Wales Quality Centre earlier this year.
According to the Royal Mint, there are many customer benefits to iSIS:
Both robust and secure, its issuance protects the reputation of a country, projecting a positive image of the nation and its economy. It will reduce costs by replacing expensive clad and homogeneous coins with a more affordable full-plated option. It will generate lifetime cost savings through unmatched durability, lasting up to 30 times longer than an equivalent value banknote. iSIS is not a surface coating so it will not wear off over time.
About The Royal Mint
The Royal Mint is one of the world’s oldest and most venerable organisations, with an unbroken history of minting British coinage dating back over 1000 years. Though more than ten centuries have passed since then, The Royal Mint’s reputation for both quality and integrity has always endured.
On 1 January 2010 the assets of The Royal Mint Trading Fund were vested into a government company, called The Royal Mint Limited. HM Treasury remains 100% owner of the shares of the company. All assets of an historical nature have been vested into a separate company, The Royal Mint Museum, to preserve, protect and enhance them for future generations to come. With the exception of the assets separated into the Museum, all other assets and liabilities, including those of a contingent nature, were transferred into the new company effective 1 January 2010.
While The Royal Mint’s finest traditions are always respected, it continually innovates in order to stay at the forefront of world minting, embracing the latest production techniques and technology in order to offer excellence to our clients across the globe. By underpinning our proud heritage with a highly progressive outlook, coins from The Royal Mint remain a byword for trust and reliability the world over.
There were estimated to be 28.9 billion UK coins in circulation at 31 March 2013, with a total face value of £3.9 billion, all manufactured by The Royal Mint. In total, 1.4 billion UK coins were issued during 2012-13.
As well as over 1,000 years of producing British coinage, The Royal Mint has long been trusted with the currencies of other countries. It serves nearly 60 issuing authorities around the world and meets approximately 15% of global demand, making us the world’s leading export mint