New quid on the block as UK unveils £1 coin debut

The countdown to the historic new £1 coin has started, with the UK Treasury announcing it will enter circulation on 28 March.

The new 12-sided £1 will be "the most secure coin in the world," according to the government, and incorporates several new safety features including a hologram-like image that changes from a '£' symbol to the number '1' when the coin is seen from different angles.

The new coin – which replaces the current 30-year-old design which will be withdrawn in October – is also bimetallic, has micro-lettering and milled edges with grooves on alternate sides. Another covert high security feature – unrevealed for obvious reasons - has been built into the coin.

A survey undertaken by the Royal Mint in May 2015 found that the rate of counterfeit £1 coins in circulation was 2.55 per cent, slightly down on the 3.03 per cent rate seen in May 2014. It is estimated that around 1.5bn £1 coins in circulation, so that would equate to counterfeits worth almost £4m.

The new coin "will be harder to counterfeit than ever before," said Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke, adding: "its cutting-edge features will present a significant barrier to counterfeiters, reducing the cost to businesses and the taxpayer."

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