The Treasury has unveiled the design of the new £1 coin, set to enter circulation in 2017.
The new reverse (or “tails”) side of the coin was designed by David Pearce, a 15-year-old student from Walsall, who won a competition with more than 6,000 entries, launched in September last year.
The new design features four plants and flowers to represent each nation of the United Kingdom: The rose of Lancaster for England, the leek for Wales, the Scottish thistle, and the shamrock for Northern Ireland. The four flowers emerge from the same stem within a crown to represent the monarchy.
The new coin will have 12 sides, rather than the circular shape of the current coin. According to the Royal Mint, this will help fight counterfeiters: the current £1 coin has been in circulation for more than 30 years and the Mint fears it has become easier and easier to fake.
According to the Royal Mint, about 3% of all £1 coins (or 45 million) are counterfeit. In some regions it could be as high as 6%. Around 2 million counterfeit £1 coins have been removed from circulation each year.
According to the Treasury, the new coin will be the most secure in the world, thanks to its 12-sided, double-colour design.
The flipside of the coin (“heads”) will feature the new portrait of the Queen, unveiled at the beginning of the month. It is only the fifth official profile of the Queen that has appeared on British coins.
Pearce said he did not expect to win the competition when he submitted his entry: “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.”