Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The return of the threepenny bit

_73667988_73667987 The twelve sided threepence coin was in circulation between 1937 and 1971 and was only abandoned when decimal coins were introduced. As children, we grew up with that coin and loved it. Its distinctive shape made it easy to identify even in your pocket. 

The existing circular one pound coin has been around now for 30 years and is increasingly subject to counterfeit. There are an estimated 45 million forgeries in circulation. I recall having one once, it was made of soft metal and was rejected by the toll booth at the Mersey Tunnel *.

In a bid to beat the forgers, the Royal Mint have decided to revive the 12 sided design in 2017 with a new one pound coin. They say that it will be the most secure coin in the world and will employ state of the art technologies.

* For my shame, I admit that I did manage to pass it off in a shop.

1 comment:

Bill said...

I seem to recall that the thrupenny coin had a portcullis design on the reverse and as you write it was easy to identify in the pocket.

Obviously the problem with counterfeit £1 coins means it needs to be replaced with something more secure and the new coin looks good to me. I hope whatever design is chosen for the reverse will be simple but effective. I do find the variety of reverse designs on the current £1 coin to be excessive - 3 or 4 would be fine (perhaps for the 4 parts of the UK), but there seem to have been many more than that, so I hope the new coin design is not a similar 'free for all' or what seems like it, possibly for 'marketing' reasons. I hope the new design will not require too much retooling of vending or ticketing machines, or supermarket trolley releases - if it does it will be an immense and expensive procedure, even with 3 years to plan for it. Mind you, in our local Sainsbury, the trolleys take either a £1 or a €1 coin, so if the overall size of the new coin is similar perhaps it won't cause too many problems, but for vending machines it may be more complex as I think they use electrical conductivity and weight to differentiate real from 'fake' coins.