Ahead of his budget announcement on 18 March, 2015, Chancellor George Osborne has unveiled a new 12-sided £1 coin that is set to be introduced in 2017. The coin was designed by 15-year old schoolboy David Pearce as part of a competition involving 6,000 competitors.
The coin is marked with four symbols of the UK - a rose, leek, shamrock and thistle - and is the same shape as the threepenny coin, which was withdrawn from circulation in 1971.
As part of the crackdown on fraud, the coin will also include the Royal Mint's new anti-counterfeiting technology "which can be authenticated by high-speed automated detection". The coin will replace the £1 currently in circulation because of the latter's "vulnerability to sophisticated counterfeiters." The Royal Mint says that around 3% of pound coins are fake.
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."
Walsall-based Pearce added: "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."