News story

New £1 coin design unveiled

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Chancellor unveils the design of the brand new £1 coin.

A teenager’s design is set to line millions of pockets and purses across the UK within the next 2 years after the winner of a public competition to design the ‘tails’ side of the new £1 coin was unveiled by the Chancellor today.

David Pearce, 15, and a pupil at Queen Mary’s Grammar School in Walsall, beat off fierce competition from over 6,000 entries with his winning design being chosen following a public competition organised by the Royal Mint on behalf of Her Majesty’s Treasury.

The teenager took a surprise telephone call from the Chancellor earlier this week who delivered the good news. Yesterday David joined a group of other young entrants whose designs were highly commended at Downing Street for a special reception to celebrate their success.

Competition entrants were asked to create a design which symbolises Britain and entries included cups of tea, flags, maps, the weather, famous writers, seaside piers, and even the Rolling Stones motif.

David’s design takes in 4 well known symbols of the UK with a rose, leek, thistle and shamrock emerging from a Royal Coronet and it will now be taken forward to be struck onto the new £1 coin being introduced in 2017.

The final design, which is entirely true to David’s original entry, has been refined for use on the final coin with the support of the renowned coin artist David Lawrence and lettering expert Stephen Raw.

The £1 coin is being replaced for the first time in over 30 years because of its vulnerability to sophisticated counterfeiters.

The new £1 coin, which was announced by the Chancellor at last year’s Budget, will have the same shape as the 12-sided 3 pence piece or ‘threepenny bit’ and will be the most secure coin in circulation in the world.

The Royal Mint estimates that about 3% of all £1 coins (or 45 million) are now forgeries. In some parts of the United Kingdom, it could be as high as 6%. Over the past few years, around 2 million counterfeit £1 coins have been removed from circulation each year and the new, highly secure coin will reduce costs to business and the taxpayer.

The proposed new coin has a number of features which the Royal Mint confirms will make it the most secure coin in the world.

These features include:

  • bi-metallic construction, of 2 colours
  • 12-sided design
  • inclusion of the Royal Mint’s new anti-counterfeiting technology, which can be authenticated by high-speed automated detection

This project represents a great success for UK science and manufacturing with the new, world-leading security technology having been developed in-house at the Royal Mint’s headquarters in Llantrisant, South Wales.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said:

Designing the new £1 coin was a brilliant opportunity to leave a lasting legacy on what will be the most secure coin in circulation anywhere.

The competition captured the imagination of thousands of people and David Pearce’s winning design will be recognised by millions in the years ahead. It was fantastic to congratulate him and other young entrants in person in Downing Street.

Coin design winner David Pearce said:

I was really excited to hear that I had won the competition to design the new £1 coin but hugely shocked as well! I heard about the competition through my design teacher at school and I thought I had nothing to lose so I decided to enter. I spent a lot of time researching what coin designs looked like and what sort of designs would represent all parts of the UK before submitting my idea and I honestly cannot believe I have won.

Adam Lawrence, Chief Executive of the Royal Mint said:

We are delighted to have the opportunity to support Her Majesty’s Treasury in modernising the iconic £1 coin and helping to re-define the world of coinage. Made from 2 different metals and including ground-breaking technology developed at the Royal Mint, this new 12-sided coin will be the most secure circulating coin in the world.

As an organisation we have been established for over 1,000 years but we are constantly looking to the future, so it’s fantastic to see the work of a talented young artist like David Pearce being replicated on a coin, that will be used by millions of people in Britain and recognised world-wide for years to come.