Revealed: The new £1 coin with an English rose, a Welsh leek, a Scottish thistle and an Irish shamrock

his is the 12-sided £1 coin that will replace the version that’s been in circulation for more than 30 years in 2017.

Experts say the new, bi-metallic coin, which will be in two colours, will be the most secure coin in circulation in the world.

The striking design featuring a rose, leek, thistle and shamrock emerging from a Royal Coronet was created by 15-year-old schoolboy David Pearce, who won a Royal Mint competition. 

The current £1 coin has been in circulation since 1983 - much longer than the normal life cycle of a modern British coin.

Its technology is said to be no longer suitable for a coin of its value, leaving it vulnerable to ever more sophisticated counterfeiters.

More than 6,000 people entered the competition to design the new coin. David Pearce, of Queen Mary’s Grammar School in Walsall, was surprised by a phone call from the Chancellor this week telling him he had won. 


His design features the four well-known symbols of the UK emerging from a Royal Coronet.

The Royal Mint estimates that about three per cent of all £1 coins - or a staggering 45 million - are now forgeries. In some parts of the UK, the figure is as high as six per cent.

Over the past few years, around two million counterfeit £1 coins have been removed from circulation each year.

In a nod to Britain’s heritage, it is the same shape as the 12-sided threepenny or thrupenny bit, which was in circulation from 1937 until decimalisation in 1971 and was in the first group of coins ever to feature the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

The threepenny bit was the first British coin to use a 12-sided shape, which was popular during the Second World War since its distinctive size and shape made it the easiest coin to recognise during the blackout.

The new £1 coin will affect many aspects of daily life, including vending machines, parking meters and shopping trolleys. Ministers admit there will be costs for some businesses, but say the increasing number of forged £1 coins in circulation mean action has become urgently needed.

The current £1 coin has been in circulation since 1983. Pictured, annealed coins at the Royal Mint 

The current £1 coin has been in circulation since 1983. Pictured, annealed coins at the Royal Mint 

Many business leaders agree that such significant sums are now being lost through counterfeits that a new coin that is harder to forge is needed.

Mr 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.’

David said: ‘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.’

Adam Lawrence, chief executive of The Royal Mint said: ‘We are delighted to have the opportunity to support Her Majesty’s Treasury in modernising the iconic £1 coin and helping to re-define the world of coinage. 

'Made from two different metals and including ground-breaking technology developed at The Royal Mint, this new 12-sided coin will be the most secure circulating coin in the world.

‘As an organisation we have been established for over 1,000 years, but we are constantly looking to the future, so it’s fantastic to see the work of a talented young artist like David Pearce being replicated on a coin, that will be used by millions of people in Britain and recognised world-wide for years to come.’