(Recasts, adds Royal Mint director comments)
LONDON, March 19 Britain plans to replace its
1-pound coin with a new version modelled on the country's
historic threepenny piece, finance minister George Osborne will
announce later on Wednesday.
The new pound's proposed twelve-sided shape composed of two
different coloured metals will help with efforts to crack down
on fake currency, the finance ministry said.
"After thirty years loyal service, the time is right to
retire the current 1-pound coin, and replace it with the most
secure coin in the world," Osborne said in a statement.
He will formally notify Britain's lawmakers of the proposed
new coin, to be introduced in 2017, as part of his annual budget
announcement in parliament.
The current pound has become vulnerable to sophisticated
counterfeiters, the finance ministry said, with about 3 percent
of all 1-pound coins, or 45 million, believed to be forgeries.
That figure rises to 6 percent in some parts of the country.
The new coin will be armed with new Integrated Secure
Identification System (iSIS) technology developed by the Royal
Mint, the maker of Britain's coins whose history dates back over
"We think it's suitably British," the Royal Mint's director
of circulation Andrew Mills told BBC Radio. "It's very
reminiscent of two other British coins. The twelve-sided shape
is very reminiscent of the threepenny bit and secondly, of
course, it doesn't look that dissimilar to the 2-pound coin."
ISIS has three tiers of banknote-strength security and can
be authenticated via high-speed automated detection at all
points within the cash cycle.
A public consultation will be held over the summer to
consider the metal composition and to weigh up the impact of the
new-shaped coin on different stakeholders such as vending
(Reporting by Sarah Young in London and Richa Naidu in
Bangalore; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Kate Holton)