Is the new 1 Pound coin safest in the world? (though looks quite similar to India’s 10 Rupee coin)

UK’s Royal Mint has introduced a new one pound coin. The Mint proudly says it is the safest coin in the world.

It has 12 sides and made of two metals (bimetallic). The outer ring is gold coloured and inner ring is silver coloured. This bimetallism feature is quite similar to our very Rs 10 coin as well. Just that we have gold in the inner and silver in the outer ring.

The new coin has a number of features that make it much more difficult to counterfeit.

12-sided – its distinctive shape makes it instantly recognisable, even by touch.

Bimetallic – it is made of two metals. The outer ring is gold coloured (nickel-brass) and the inner ring is silver coloured (nickel-plated alloy).

Latent image – it has an image like a hologram that changes from a ‘£’ symbol to the number ‘1’ when the coin is seen from different angles.

Micro-lettering – it has very small lettering on the lower inside rim on both sides of the coin. One pound on the obverse “heads” side and the year of production on the reverse “tails” side, for example 2016 or 2017.

Milled edges – it has grooves on alternate sides.

Hidden high security feature – a high security feature is built into the coin to protect it from counterfeiting in the future.

Hmm..

Given how empires and governments have thought about coins, is this something new?

Richard Farmer has a piece saying 12 sided coin has been tried in the past.

The coin it replaces, introduced in 1983, had become prone to counterfeiting, with about 3% of £1 coins estimated to be forgeries. To stymie the counterfeiters, the new coin incorporates a range of security measures, including micro-lettering, a bimetallic design, a hologram-like “latent image”, and a mysterious hidden feature intended to future-proof the coin against as yet unspecified threats.

It will also have 12 sides, and so harks back to one of the most fondly remembered coins of the 20th century, the dodecagonal threepenny bit. This threepenny coin was first introduced in March 1937 and was withdrawn after decimalisation in 1971.

 

Yet for all the nostalgia associated with the reintroduction of a 12-sided coin, it should be remembered that the 1937 threepenny was not widely feted when initially introduced. It was the first non-circular coin to be struck in Britain, and was so unusual when it entered circulation that the Nottingham Evening Post wryly observed that “we shall know that the British public is past being surprised at anything” if “nobody jibs at receiving … a strange [polygonal] coin”.

The physical feeling of cash encourages us to develop emotional feelings about it. The new £1 coin is thinner, lighter and slightly broader than its predecessor, and it seems likely that the shock of the new will ensure that it generates debate. As was the case with the new five pound note introduced in September 2016, some will welcome it, others abhor it. Opinions will abound.

Acceptance of new coins takes time. Though some coins are never popular:

The process of familiarisation takes time. But there are some coins that the public never warms to, or actively rebuffs: the 1887 double florin (worth four shillings) was withdrawn after just four years. And for a while, the 1937 threepenny was at risk of being added to the list of numismatic rejects. Being 12-sided, it was thought to look insufficiently British – polygonal coins were at the time associated with “foreign” currencies.

Plus, the threepenny was an unusual colour – its nickel-brass composition lent it a distinctive yellow tinge. It also had no history and people didn’t know what to call it – newspapers ran competitions asking readers to suggest a suitable nickname, which would bring it into line with popular coins such as the tanner (sixpence) or bob (shilling). In Scotland, many harboured a preference for the smaller, lighter, rounder silver threepenny, which the Mint continued to produce until 1945. The two threepennies had to compete for the public’s affections.

Distrust lingered because of the time it took to produce enough dodecagonal threepennies for them to become commonplace. Of the first 30m struck, most quickly vanished from sight, hoarded in personal collections rather than circulating freely. The Mint eventually forced the new coins into wider circulation by asking government departments to include them in the pay packets of state employees. It was only during World War II, with bronze pennies in short supply, that the 12-sided threepenny came to enjoy any real popularity. Its unique shape also made it easy to distinguish by touch in the blackout.

The extensive promotional campaigns run by the Mint ahead of the new £1 coin’s introduction suggest that lessons have been learned from the past. A concerted effort has been made to prepare the public for the change. And as cash is less important these days, whether or not the public develops any sort of affection for the this coin that seeks to blend the old and the new might not, in the end, matter tuppence.

All this is pure fascinating..How states try and keep maintaining their monopoly over minting and printing.

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