All you need to know about the new £1 coin

The new, 12-sided pound coin launches today. And after 15 October 2017, this coin will replace the 1.5 billion round pound coins currently in circulation in the UK. It’s a massive undertaking – the new coin needs to be accepted not just by banks and businesses, but also by vending machines, automated tellers and even shopping trolleys.

Carl Foster, Head of Coin Operations at RBS, is a member of the Industry Steering Committee and Chair of the Coin Wholesale Working Group. Carl represents the entire banking industry, including RBS, Lloyds, HSBC, Barclays, Nationwide and others, and works with the Treasury and the Royal Mint. He’s responsible for getting the new coin out to customers and gathering in all the old coins as they are removed from circulation. 

Carl said: “It’s a big challenge because it’s never been done before. The nearest thing to it was the change of the fifty pence coin back in 1997. But cash was a very different world back then and the old and new coins co-existed for much longer.  The fifty pence coin was introduced over a period of two years, whereas we’ve only got six months to get the old one pound coins out of circulation.”

“It’s a lot of work for coin processors and customers, so you may wonder why the coin is being replaced. About 3% of all pound coins in circulation are fake. That means there are approximately fifty million fake coins out there. That’s why we have the new coin - to remove all the fakes and create a more secure coin.”

The new coin benefits from a number of security features. Perhaps one of the most interesting is the ‘hologram-type’ image which changes from ‘£’ to ‘1’ as the coin moves.  Thanks to features like this, it’s been dubbed ‘the most secure coin in the world.


What makes the new one pound coin most secure coin in the world?

  • It’s unique 12-sided shape is difficult to replicate
  • It’s bimetallic, featuring a gold rim and silver innard
  • The milling (tiny ridges around the edge of the coin) only appears on six of the coin’s 12 sides
  • The words ‘one pound’ are written inside the rim (although they are only legible when looking at them with a magnifying glass)
  • The coin benefits from a ‘hologram-type’ feature with an image that changes from ‘£’ to ‘1’ as the coin moves.

Did you know?

  • RBS is the only bank to continue processing coins in-house and runs the largest coin processing operation in the UK 
  • Its three processing centres processes 10 billion coins a year
  • Although the old £1 coin won’t be accepted as payment for goods or services after 15 October, it can still be paid in to banks and will continue to hold its value. In fact, last year the value of demoneterised coins (shillings and halfpennies for example) that were paid into the bank was in the region of £2m.
  • The design on the coin was created by 15-year-old David Pearce, winner of the public design competition. It consists of four flowers: the English rose, the Welsh leek, the Scottish thistle and the Northern Irish shamrock emerging from one stem within a royal coronet.