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£1 coins: a guide to the changeover

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

If you’re not sure about the upcoming changeover in £1 coins, here’s everything you need to know.

From Sunday October 16th, 2017, round £1 coins will no longer be legal tender.

Instead, the 12-sided £1 coin introduced earlier this year will take its place.

Hunt down your old £1 coins

The Royal Mint and HM Treasury are calling on people to hunt down any old £1 coins to spend, bank or donate to charity.

With that in mind, start looking down the back of your sofa, through your pockets and bags. You never know how many you’ll find.

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Jones, says: “The hard work of the British public has paid off and I am delighted that more than 1.2 billion round pound coins have been returned. Added together, these coins match the weight of around 3,500 elephants or 900 double decker buses. That is a lot of coins!

There is still time to get involved. I would encourage anyone who is yet to do so to dig out their remaining coins before Sunday.”

What to do with your old £1 coins

HM Treasury and The Royal Mint have partnered with Children in Need. They are encouraging the public to donate any old £1 coins to Pudsey’s Round Pound Countdown.

Alternatively, after the 16th October deadline you can exchange your old coins for new coins in most high street banks and post offices.

Though some shops, such as Poundland, say they will continue to accept the old coins until Tuesday 31 October, 2017. And The Federation of Small Businesses has also advised its members to continue to accept old coins for a “transition period” of a couple of weeks.

Why the change?

The round £1 coin was introduced in 1983 and has since become vulnerable to counterfeiters. Around one in thirty in circulation are thought to be fake.

In March 2017, the more secure 12-sided £1 coin. Its aim is to prevent counterfeiters from profiting, and end the financial burden on taxpayers and businesses.

Security measures include an image that works like a hologram and micro-sized lettering inside both rims. The Royal Mint claim it as the “most secure coin in the world”.

Teething problems

It’s not been as smooth a transition as hoped, though.

Sainsbury’s and Tesco say a small minority of their trolleys don’t accept the new coin – but that they will soon be able to.

Meanwhile, Transport for London (TfL) said that 27 of its ticket machines at 22 London Overground stations don’t accept the new coins. However, each of these stations has at least one machine that accepts them and TfL are working to update the aforementioned 27 machines.