The United Kingdom’s New 12-sided £1 Coin

Project Owner:The Royal Mint (on behalf of Her Majesty’s Treasury (UK’s Ministry of Finance)


The new coin has 12 sides, is bimetallic and contains a range of hidden and visible security features, including The Royal Mint’s High Security Feature. The combination of multiple features makes it the most secure circulating coin in the world, and it is immediately recognisable. Representatives from across the global currency industry, including many from central banks, have remarked on the unique design and composition. The original design helps the coin to stand out clearly from the other UK coin denominations and its 12-sided shape clearly identifies it from other countries’ coins. The designs on the obverse and reverse of the coin are uniquely British, with the Queen’s effigy on the obverse complemented by iconic emblems from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales featuring on the reverse.

Historical or Local Content

The introduction of the new 12-sided £1 coin was a historic and momentous event – replacing a coin that had been in circulation for 34 years. The easily-recognisable round £1 coin is being replaced because of its vulnerability to sophisticated counterfeiters. The British public and tourists alike know the round pound well so its replacement needed to be adopted favourably as a new piece of British history.
Like all other UK coin denominations, the new £1 coin features the fifth coinage effigy of Her Majesty the Queen on the obverse. The reverse design was chosen via a design competition that engaged a wide variety of people – 6,000 competition entries were received from around the world. The winning design, by a 15-year-old school boy, features historical icons: the English rose, the Welsh leek, the Scottish thistle and the Northern Irish shamrock, all emerging from one stem within a royal coronet.

Feedback from Stakeholders, Including the General Public

Following the launch of the coin in March 2017, a public survey (YouGov, April 2017) indicated 94% public approval of the new £1 coin with 94% aware of at least one key feature of the new £1 coin. The message on counterfeiting had also come across strongly, with 91% of the general public aware of the reasons for the new coin.
Feedback from central banks around the world:
“You really succeeded in presenting something of high quality.”
“I would like to congratulate you, our Mint would be highly interested in learning more, especially features such as innovative security elements.”
“Congratulations to The Royal Mint for great innovation in the coin industry.”
“The coin looks beautiful and modern.”
“Congratulations for your new coin launch. It is really a piece of art.”
“It’s indeed a beautiful coin with advanced security features.”
“The coin is absolutely outstanding.”

Aesthetic Appeal

As detailed in the Feedback section above, the new £1 coin has huge aesthetic appeal with excellent feedback from the British public and industry colleagues. The unique design and composition (12-sided bimetallic with multiple eye-catching features and an edge that is alternately milled and plain for easy identification) is appealing for many reasons:

  • It is very different to other UK denominations as well as coins for other countries so is clearly recognisable
  • It was produced in consultation with charities so that visually impaired people will be able to recognise it by touch
  • It has a unique combination of different security features that make it visually attractive and clearly identifiable
  • It looks and feels like a highly secure, high quality coin

Denomination Differentiation and Integration of Security Features with Graphic Design

The new £1 coin is immediately recognisable and different to other coins. Its design and security features have evolved in consultation with currency industry experts, technical groups, the cash-handling industry and the British public (consultations were held in 2014). Multiple security and design features work together to make it easily recognisable and harder to counterfeit:
Historical British icons in an intricate design
12-sided – instantly recognisable, even by touch
Bimetallic – two metals of different colours
Latent image – an image like a hologram changes from ‘£’ to ‘1’ when seen from different angles
Micro-lettering – it has very small lettering on the lower inside rim on both sides of the coin: obverse – ‘ONE POUND’, reverse – year of production (which matches the date on the obverse)
Milled edges – grooves on alternate sides
Hidden high security feature – built in to protect it from counterfeiting in the future.

Awards | Coin Awards 2017


Best New Circulating Coin or Coin Series


Finalist | Winner