A new 12-sided £1 coin, said by the Royal Mint to be "the most secure coin in circulation" is to be introduced in an effort to curb counterfeiting, under government plans announced Wednesday.
The new bi-metallic, two-coloured coin will have the same shape as the old "Threepenny bit", replacing the 30-year-old current model, which the government says "is no longer suitable for a coin of its value, leaving it vulnerable to ever more sophisticated counterfeiters."
Figures released by the Royal Mint estimate that around three percent of all £1 coins are now forgeries.
"Whilst law enforcement agencies are successfully cracking down on counterfeiting groups, the only sustainable solution to ensure that we stay ahead of the criminals is to introduce a new, highly secure coin, reducing costs to business and the taxpayer," said a Treasury statement.
The coin is expected to be in circulation by 2017, following a consultation process. There will be a public competition to decide the design on the "tails" side of the coin.
"After thirty years loyal service, the time is right to retire the current £1 coin, and replace it with the most secure coin in the world," said a Treasury source.
"With advances in technology making high value coins like the £1 ever more vulnerable to counterfeiters, it's vital that we keep several paces ahead of the criminals to maintain the integrity of our currency.
"We are particularly pleased that the coin will take a giant leap into the future, using cutting edge British technology while at the same time, paying a fitting tribute to the past in the 12-sided design of the iconic Threepenny bit," he added.