Getting your mitts on money always feels good, but it feels even better if the money you get is all shiny and new – like when you held a new £5 note for the first time. So, try to contain your excitement at the news that a sparkly, new £1 coin with no less than 12 sides, will launch on the 28 March 2017. But don’t panic, it doesn’t mean your old pound coins suddenly end up worthless in less than a month, you’ve still got time to spend them (but not as long as you may think).
The new £1 coin is being hailed by the Bank of England as ‘the most secure coin in the world’ and being able to fight the forgers is the reason why it’s being introduced. There are around 1.5 billion pound coins in circulation and about one in 30 are fake because of increasingly sophisticated counterfeiting skills. It’s the first time in 30 years that the £1 coin has had a makeover, so it’s about time too.
You’ll still be able to use your old £1 coins up until 15 October so you don’t have to worry about going on a mad spree in a pound shop. And even if you find the odd straggler down the back of the sofa after that date, you can take it into your bank and exchange it for a new one. Although if you do suddenly discover your grandmother’s secret hoard of pound coins, then check whether your bank has any limits on how many pounds you can deposit in one go.
So, what can we look forward to, will it be along the lines of the new fiver and contain traces of some random animal substance? No – fear not veggies – because you’ll be pleased to know it’s made of good old fashioned metal. In fact, it’s ‘bimetallic’ or in other words – made of two metals – like the £2 coin with its gold coloured outer edge and silver hued middle. The new coin will also be thinner, lighter but ever so slightly larger than the current £1.
But it’s not just its composition that makes it harder to forge, the coin has what’s known as a ‘latent image’ (a bit like a hologram) which changes from a ‘£’ symbol to a ‘1’ depending on the angle you look at it from – clever. The new £1 also has teeny, tiny lettering all around the edge; on the ‘heads’ side it’ll say ‘one pound’ but flip it round and ‘tails’ will show the year the coin was made.
However, it’s fancy features don’t stop there, each of its 12 sides alternate between being grooved and smooth. Plus, there’s a secret ‘hidden high security’ feature built into the coin to try and stop it being faked by counterfeiters of the future.
The new design etched on the coin brings together the four corners of the UK with an English rose, Welsh leek, Scottish thistle and Northern Irish shamrock. The image is based on a winning competition entry by David Pearce, who was just 15 years old at the time.
The Bank of England have said they’ll be producing 1.5 billion new pound coins so keep an eye out for them as they hit the high street from March. And if all this talk of money has got you thinking about your own savings (or perhaps lack of them), then why not see how you could grow your nest egg a little more with a savings account or ISA Because you know what they say – look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves (regardless of how many sides they have).