The Royal Mint to manufacture modern new £1 coin

19 Mar 2014

New £1 Coin

Today George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, revealed that HM Treasury believes there is a strong case for introducing a new £1 coin to help reduce counterfeiting and ensure the integrity of the United Kingdom’s currency.

The Royal Mint has developed world-leading anti-counterfeiting technology which will enable Her Majesty’s Treasury to modernise the United Kingdom’s circulating currency with the production of a brand new £1 coin.

The Royal Mint has produced a prototype for a replacement £1 coin which utilises multiple layers of cutting edge technology and would allow the United Kingdom to rapidly reduce the rate of counterfeit coins entering general circulation.

The proposed £1 coin will be the most secure circulating coin in the world to date. 

A public consultation will be held over the summer focusing on how to manage any impacts before a final decision is made on the precise specification of the new coin, including the metal composition. 
The Royal Mint will work closely with key industry stakeholders to conduct a full consultation in order to understand the potential impact for industry.

A public design competition will be held at a later date to choose the design for the reverse, or ‘tails’, of the coin which is expected to be introduced in 2017.

The proposed £1 coin design is distinctly British, with a twelve-sided shape which evokes memories of the pre-decimalisation threepence piece.

It will be constructed from two different coloured metals and contain an iSIS security feature - a revolutionary new high security coinage currency system developed by The Royal Mint.

iSIS - Integrated Secure Identification Systems – enables not just coins, but the whole cash cycle to be more secure, protecting the public, vending machine operators, retailers, and the wider banking system.…

Project iSIS is the work of The Royal Mint’s in-house technology team and involves the application of an existing security technology that has been proven over decades in  banknotes. It is the first time that this existing security has been successfully embedded into coins.

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said, “After thirty years loyal service, the time is right to retire the current £1 coin, and replace it with the most secure coin in the world. With advances in technology making high value coins like the £1 ever more vulnerable to counterfeiters, it’s vital that we keep several paces ahead of the criminals to maintain the integrity of our currency. I am particularly pleased that the coin will take a giant leap into the future, using cutting edge British technology while at the same time, paying tribute to the past in the 12-sided design of the iconic threepenny bit.”

Adam Lawrence, Chief Executive of The Royal Mint said, “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to support Her Majesty’s Treasury and work on such an exciting project, which could potentially change the way that coins are made in the future. The current £1 coin design is now more than thirty years old and it has become increasingly vulnerable to counterfeiting over time. 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 circulating coins.

“The Royal Mint works closely with HM Treasury, the National Crime Agency and the cash-handling industry who are committed to maintaining the integrity of the UK’s currency and exploring ways in which counterfeiting can be combated. Together we ensure that every effort is made to maximise opportunities to identify and withdraw counterfeit coins from circulation.

“We are very proud to be recognised nationally in terms of providing innovative solutions on an international scale. We are already known as the world’s leading export mint, but iSIS confirms our place as leaders within our industry, as we continue to expand the boundaries of minting technology”.

Andrew Mills, The Royal Mint’s Director of Circulating Coin, said, “The development of our iSIS project has enabled us to develop a new generation of low cost, high security, plated coin with multiple levels of banknote-strength security built in.  It will enable enhanced security throughout the cash cycle, from vending, parking, retail, and banking.”

iSIS is the culmination of a period of intense research and development by The Royal Mint’s in-house team, and has seen an investment of over £2m to date, with a significant amount more planned over the next couple of years as the iSIS technology is commercialised.

The Royal Mint’s Project iSIS received the 2013 Innovation Award from The Wales Quality Centre earlier this year.

New £1 Coin

NOTES TO EDITORS

There are many customer benefits to iSIS:

  • Both robust and secure, its issuance protects the reputation of a country, projecting a positive image of the nation and its economy.
  • It will reduce costs by replacing expensive clad and homogeneous coins with a more affordable full-plated option.
  • It will generate lifetime cost savings through unmatched durability, lasting up to 30 times longer than an equivalent value banknote
  • iSIS is not a surface coating so it will not wear off over time.
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