It said there was a strong case for introducing a new £1 coin to help reduce counterfeiting and ensure the integrity of the United Kingdom’s currency.
The Royal Mint has produced a 12-sided prototype, echoing the pre-decimalisation threepence piece, which it said would be the most secure circulating coin in the world to date.
The public consultation will be held on how to manage any impacts before a final decision is made on the precise specification of the new coin.
A public design competition will be held at a later date to choose the design for the reverse side of the coin, which is expected to be introduced in 2017.
George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “After 30 years loyal service, the time is right to retire the current £1 coin, and replace it with the most secure coin in the world. With advances in technology making high value coins like the £1ever more vulnerable to counterfeiters, it’s vital that we keep several paces ahead of the criminals to maintain the integrity of our currency. I am particularly pleased that the coin will take a giant leap into the future, using cutting edge British technology while at the same time, paying tribute to the past in the12-sided design of the iconic threpenny bit.”
Adam Lawrence, chief executive of The Royal Mint, said: “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to support Her Majesty’s Treasury and work on such an exciting project, which could potentially change the way that coins are made in the future. The current £1 coin design is more than 30 years old and it has become increasingly vulnerable to counterfeiting over time. It is our aim to identify and produce a pioneering new coin which helps to reduce the opportunities for counterfeiting, helping to boost public confidence in the UK’s circulating coins.
“The Royal Mint works closely with HM Treasury, the National Crime Agency and the cash-handling industry who are committed to maintaining the integrity of the UK’s currency and exploring ways in which counterfeiting can be combated. Together we ensure that every effort is made to maximise opportunities to identify and withdraw counterfeit coins from circulation.”