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New UK coins unveiled
by Nico Hines

The new coins will enter circulation in the summer

Look carefully at the seven sleek designs on the right. Over the next year, a billion copies will be produced and the artwork will join the most iconic in the country.

For the first time since 1968, the Royal Mint has chosen new designs for the reverse of Britain’s small change. The coins, worth between 1p and £1, became legal tender today.

A public competition was launched to redesign the coins and Matthew Dent, 26, a graphic designer from Bangor, North Wales, successfully emerged from a field of 4,000 entrants.

The six coins, ranging up to 50p, can be arranged to form the outline of the royal shield of arms, which is embossed in full on the £1 coin.

“I can imagine people playing with them, having them on a tabletop and enjoying them,” Mr Dent said. “I felt it was important to have a theme running through from one to another."

Mr Dent, who lives in London, was paid around £35,000 for his designs, but he will not receive any royalties from their reproduction. There are currently more than 27 billion coins in the UK.

The new coins are currently being minted and will come into circulation this summer, gradually replacing the old coins with familiar designs such as the portcullis on the one penny piece and Britannia on the 50 pence piece. The old coins will remain legal tender until eventually they slip out of circulation.

Andrew Stafford, chief executive of the Royal Mint, said the current portrait of the Queen, introduced in 1998, would remain on the flip-side of the coins.

“It’s the only work of art that every member of the general public touches every day. That is important to the nation’s way of life,” Mr Stafford said.

“We had to make sure that the coin design was true to the heritage of British coins and gave fresh inspiration and modernity to something that has been in existence for 40 years.”


New Royal Mint designs which will feature on the reverse of seven British coins

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