No incidents of counterfeiting of new 12-sided pound coin so far, minister says
The new pound coin has stumped the counterfeiters, with no evidence the 12-sided design can be faked, a Government minister has said.
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Andrew Jones hailed the latest quid as the most secure form of currency in the world as he marked a significant milestone in the coin's introduction.
There are now more new pound coins in circulation than their round predecessor - a coin that had become an easy target for counterfeiters.
Mr Jones was at a high-security coin storage facility in Belfast to celebrate what he called a "tipping point" in the replacement process.
The new coins were first introduced on March 28, with the old coins ceasing to be legal tender on October 15, even though they can still be banked after that date.
Mr Jones noted that 3% of all the old coins were counterfeit.
"That basically adds up to almost £50 million of fake coinage in circulation in our country and that is very bad for our economy," he said.
The minister said there had been no evidence of counterfeiting with the new coin.
"There have been no problems identified at all so far," he said.
"Obviously that is something the Royal Mint monitors very carefully but we have had no incidents at all of counterfeiting thus far.
"This is a very, very secure coin. The Royal Mint estimate that this is the most secure coin in the world at the moment and they have their own individual and rather secret method of security which is new in this coin.
"You have to stay one step ahead of the counterfeiters but that's exactly where we are right now."
Mr Jones urged people to bank, spend or donate their old pounds before the October deadline.
"To have more new coins in circulation than old at this point is great news," he said.
"However, with less than 100 days to go, the clock is ticking."
Chief executive and deputy master of the Royal Mint Adam Lawrence said: "The Royal Mint is very proud to have delivered the new 12-sided £1 coin and ensuring a smooth transition is now our top priority.
"We hope our announcement about the changeover point in July will encourage those businesses who have not yet upgraded their equipment to do so ahead of the October 15 deadline."
Mr Jones was visiting a storage centre operated by G4S Cash Solutions.
The UK operations director for G4S Cash Solutions, John Lennox, said: "Since the launch of the new £1 coin in March, we have worked with the Royal Mint, banks and retailers to roll out the new £1 while at the same time removing hundreds of millions of old coins from circulation, as they pass through our national network of cash branches and coin centres to be returned to the Royal Mint."