When a 2015 survey by the U.K.’s Royal Mint revealed that around 40 million (about one in thirty) of the country’s one-pound coins were counterfeit, it realized it had to do something about all the fake money rattling around in the economy.
Following several years of design and development, the Mint this week introduced an all-new one-pound coin dubbed “the most secure coin in the world.”
The new 12-sided coin, which the Mint claims is impossible to counterfeit, includes a bimetallic design with a gold-colored (nickel-brass) outer ring and a silver-colored (nickel-plated alloy) inner section.
You’ll also find a latent image embedded in the coin. Similar to a hologram, it changes from a ‘£’ symbol to the number ‘1’ when viewed from different angles.
Additional features include hard-to-emulate micro-lettering showing “one pound” on the lower inside rim on one side and the year of the coin’s production on the other.
And if all that isn’t enough to deter makers of fake money, the Mint says the new one-pound coin also has an additional “high security feature” built in, details of which it refuses to divulge.
As with all U.K. coins, a portrait of the Queen is seen on one side. On the other is a design showing the English rose, the Welsh leek, the Scottish thistle, and the Northern Irish shamrock emerging from one stem within a royal coronet — an image created by David Pearce who won a public contest relating to the image two years ago at the age of 15.
Thinner and lighter than the one it replaces, the new coin is being produced using cutting-edge technology developed at the Mint’s headquarters in south Wales.
Adam Lawrence, chief executive of the Royal Mint, said the new money has been designed to be “fit for the future, using security features that aim to safeguard our currency, and currencies around the world, for years to come. Staying ahead of sophisticated counterfeiters remains a constant challenge and this coin helps in that battle.”
The new coin went into circulation on Tuesday. As for the old coin, stores will stop accepting it from October 15, 2017, though banks will happily exchange any that you have left after that date — as long as they’re not fake, that is.
Last year the Royal Mint started replacing the nation’s paper money with a high-security plastic version, kicking off with the five-pound bill.
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