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New Pound Coin Unveiled by Royal Mint to Reduce Counterfeiting

Image: New Pound Coin Unveiled by Royal Mint to Reduce Counterfeiting

By Clyde Hughes   |   Wednesday, 19 Mar 2014 11:57 AM

Great Britain is hoping that the Royal Mint's new 12-sided pound coin, based on the old threepenny, will be more difficult to counterfeit.

Officials told The Guardian that the current coin, which has been in circulation for about 30 years, has a 3 percent forgery rate, totaling 45 million in circulation.

The coin would go into circulation in 2017 and display a picture of Queen Elizabeth II or the current monarch at the time, The Associated Press said. It also will have some technological advances such as a "bimetallic" construction similar to the existing 2 pound coin along with new banknote-strength security pioneered at the Royal Mint’s headquarters.

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"The current one pound coin design is now more than 30 years old and it has become increasingly vulnerable to counterfeiting over time," Adam Lawrence, the Royal Mint chief executive, told The Guardian. "It is our aim to identify and produce a pioneering new coin which helps to reduce the opportunities for counterfeiting, helping to boost public confidence in the UK's currency in the process."

"We're extremely proud that the proposal includes the Royal Mint's Integrated Secure Identification System (iSis) technology, offering greater currency security at a lower cost," Lawrence continued.

Chancellor George Osborne said in his budget statement in the House of Commons, according to the BBC News, that counterfeiting had become a serious problem and that new design will ensure the pound "is a sound currency."

"One in 30 pound coins is counterfeit, and that costs businesses and the taxpayer millions each year," Osborne said in his statement, per BBC News. "So I can announce that we will move to a new, highly secure, one pound coin. … Our new pound coin will blend the security features of the future with inspiration from our past. In honor of our Queen, the coin will take the shape of one of the first coins she appeared on – the threepenny bit."

According to BBC News, the threepenny coin was in circulation from 1937 to 1971 and is still manufactured in small numbers by the Royal Mint for inclusion in certain sets.

Officials told The Guardian that the new security features will help restore the public's confidence in the pound.

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