A shiny new £1 coin will start to turn up in the nation’s wallets and pockets in the coming weeks.
The Royal Mint, in Llantrisant, South Wales, is producing 1.5 billion new £1 coins at a rate of up to 2,000 each minute and three million in total every day.
The new 12-sided coin, which resembles the old threepenny bit for those old enough to remember, enters circulation on 28 March – although it might be a little while later before you start seeing it in your loose change.
According to recent research from Mastercard, fewer than one in five people realise that the new coin enters circulation on this date.
So here’s what you need to know about the new coin:
Why the change?
The new coin boasts high-tech security features, including a hologram.
It is being produced following concerns about sophisticated counterfeiters’ ability to produce fakes of the old “round pound”, which was first introduced more than 30 years ago.
Around one in every 30 £1 coins in people’s change in recent years has been a fake.
What does the new £1 coin look like?
The new £1 coin is based on the design of the old 12-sided threepenny bit, which went out of circulation in 1971.
The new coin is made of two metals, with a gold-coloured outer ring and a silver-coloured inner ring. It has small lettering on both sides of the coin and milled edges.
It is thinner and lighter than the round pound, but its diameter is slightly larger.
The design of the coin also has features reflecting England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with a rose, a leek, a thistle and a shamrock.
What will happen to the old £1 coins?
Some of the round £1 coins will be melted down and reused to make the new £1 coin.
At first, the new £1 coin will be accepted in shops alongside the round pound.
But eventually, the round pound will be phased out of use, so it’s important to go through your drawers, jam jars and anywhere else you keep your loose change to hand in any old pound coins.
People are being urged to return the round pounds before they lose their legal tender status. They can either spend them before 15 October or bank them.
The Royal Mint has produced more than 2.2 billion round pound coins since 1983 – equating to the weight of nearly 6,000 elephants.
Around £1.3 billion-worth of coins are being stored in savings jars across the country, and the round pound is thought to account for nearly a third of these.
Mastercard’s research suggests that people aged 18 to 24 are particularly likely to have larger numbers of £1 coins sitting around at home.
Meanwhile, analysis by M&G Investments has found that since the original £1 coin was first minted in 1983, inflation has wiped away two-thirds of its value in real terms.
It found that, when the eroding impact of inflation is taken into account, a £1 coin left sitting in a piggy bank since 1983 would be worth just 32p now.
If the quid had been put in a cash savings account in 1983, it would be worth around £1.33 today in real terms, according to the calculations.
And if it had been invested in stocks and shares, its real value could be around £11.66.