A new 12-sided one-pound coin described by the UK’s Royal Mint as the “most secure coin in the world” went into circulation across the UK today.
There is material inside the coin itself which can be detected when electronically scanned by coin-counting or payment machines, making it impossible to counterfeit.
Other security features of the coin include an image that works like a hologram and micro-sized lettering inside both rims.
“It’s been designed to be fit for the future, using security features that aim to safeguard our currency, and currencies around the world, for years to come,” said Adam Lawrence, chief executive of the Royal Mint.
The new coin, with an image of Queen Elizabeth II, replaces the old rounded one-pound coin, which is estimated to have been faked to the value of 45 million pounds.
The old coin will remain a legal tender until October 15 this year, after which shops in Britain are under no obligation to accept it.
After that date, consumers will have to take the coin to a bank to exchange it.
Supplies of the new coin have initially been delivered to 33 banks and post offices around the UK.
As many as 1.5 billion new coins will flood the system and the old coins will be melted down to make new ones.
The outer ring is gold-coloured, made from nickel-brass and the inner ring is silver-coloured, made from nickel-plated alloy.
However, there are some fears of chaos as it remains to be seen if all machines across train stations and parking metres are able to accept the new diameter coins.
The UK Treasury has admitted it was “inevitable” that some organisations will not be ready to accept the coins right away until upgrades are complete.