New UK coins
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
“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
“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.”