Say goodbye to the round pound as new 12-sided coin arrives in March

 
Rebecca Smith
The public are being encouraged to use their current £1 coins or bank them before they lose their legal tender status
The public are being encouraged to use their current £1 coins or bank them before they lose their legal tender status (Source: The Royal Mint)

The new 12-sided £1 coin - billed as "the most secure coin in the world" - will enter circulation on 28 March.

The Royal Mint has unveiled the new circulating coin designs for the year with a pioneering theme linking them.

The 12-sided £1 coin was designed by David Pearce and features the flora of the four nations of the UK emerging from a coronet.

Read more: This is the new 12-sided pound coin

Then there's the £2 Jane Austen coin to celebrate the Hampshire author, the First World War Aviation £2 coin remembering the Royal Flying Corps and the Sir Isaac Newton 50p coin.

2017's new coins for the year
2017's new coins for the year (Source: The Royal Mint)

Dr Kevin Clancy, director of the Royal Mint Museum, said: “This is a particularly significant year in Royal Mint history as we welcome in the new 12-sided £1 coin, with its innovative security features.”

Read more: Plastic fantastic: The new fiver goes into circulation today

What makes the new £1 coin so special?

  • Well, it's 12-sided for starters, giving it a distinctive shape
  • Being bimetallic also makes it trickier to counterfeit. The outer ring is gold-coloured, nickel-brass, and the inner ring is silver coloured, nickel-plated alloy
  • It has milled edges; grooves on alternate sides
  • A latent image like a hologram that swaps from a £ sign to the number one when the coin is looked at from different angles
  • There's a secret hidden high security feature apparently, built into the coin to protect it from counterfeiting, though details on that haven't been revealed

Retailers have already been told to get ready for the 12-sided coin, particularly to check any equipment that handles £1 coins to make sure it's up to speed.

The round £1 will be legal tender alongside the new 12-sided coin until 15 October, with the public being encouraged to use up their current £1 coins or bank them before they lose their legal tender status.

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