Belfast Telegraph

You've got until October to lose the pounds as 'thrupenny bit' makes comeback

The pound in your pocket is soon going to be worth a lot less. That's because the Royal Mint is launching a new shiny 12-sided £1 coin next Tuesday to supersede the current round pound.

Thanks to its numerous anti-counterfeit features, the new quid - which closely resembles the old 'thrupenny bit' for those old enough to remember - is being dubbed one of the most secure in the world.

But consumers are being advised to use up any existing coins which have been stashed away before mid-October because that's when they will cease to become legal tender in the UK and won't be accepted in shops or vending machines.

The latest edition, boasting a variety of security features to help crack down on fraudulent copies, will replace a coin that was introduced over 30 years ago to replace the £1 banknote.

There are around 2.2 billon £1 coins in circulation at present, although an additional 45 million fakes - one in every 30 - are also believed to be in use.

Royal Mint chief executive Adam Lawrence said it was "delighted to have the opportunity to support Her Majesty's Treasury in modernising the iconic £1 coin and helping to redefine the world of coinage".

He added: "Made from two different metals and including ground-breaking technology developed at the Royal Mint, this new 12-sided coin will be the most secure circulating coin in the world."

When the new currency is launched next week, both £1 coins will be in co-circulation until October 15 and will be accepted by banks and businesses.

But after that deadline it won't be the case, and savers are being advised to empty their piggy banks and coin jars now to ensure they don't leave any round pounds lying about the house.

The new coin is made of two metals, with a gold-coloured outer ring and a silver-coloured inner ring.

It has very small lettering on both sides and milled edges. It is thinner and lighter than the round pound, but its diameter is slightly larger.

One of the security features is a hologram that changes from a '£' symbol to a '1' when the coin is seen from different angles.

The design also has features reflecting England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with a rose, a leek, a thistle and a shamrock.

Around £1.3bn-worth of coins are being stored in savings jars across the UK, and the round pound is thought to account for nearly a third of these.

Research suggests that young adults are particularly likely to have larger numbers of £1 coins lying around at home.

BY CLAIRE McNEILLY

Belfast Telegraph

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