The Royal Mint struck its billionth new £1 coin today, with three months to go until the old pound coin goes out of circulation.
The Royal Mint had predicted that the number of new pound coins in circulation would overtake the old ones in August this year but this has now been revised to the end of July. People have already returned 800 million of the old coins.
You now have less than 100 days to spend, bank or donate your remaining old pound coins before they lose their legal tender status on 15 October.
The transition to the new pound coin
The new coin, said to be the most secure of its kind, has security features that make it much harder to counterfeit – around 1 in 30 old £1 coins are fake. But the introduction of the new coin hasn’t gone entirely smoothly.
In June, the Royal Mint admitted that there was an error in striking the new £1 coin which meant that two different dates appeared on the coin. It was dated 2016 on the Queen’s head side and 2017 on the ‘tails’ side (which you can only see with a microscope).
Usually this would be a giveaway sign of a counterfeit coin, but not in this case. In fact, coin experts Change Checker have encouraged people to take a closer look at their change as these rare error coins could fetch sums considerably higher than their face value.
There were also more obvious errors, such as chunks missing from the edge of the new £1 coin (these are attracting bids of around £130 on eBay).
Exchanging your old £1 coins
The Treasury said a poll has suggested that a third of people still have old round pounds kept in savings jars or in piggy banks, and the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Jones MP, has used today’s milestone to encourage people to exchange them ahead of the 15 October deadline before they stop being accepted by retailers.
What happens if I miss the deadline for exchanging my old £1 coins?
While you won’t be able to spend them in shops after the deadline, you’ll still be able to exchange or deposit your old pound coins at most high street banks.