EDGY

Britain’s new 12-sided £1 coin was designed by a teenager

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Design

A public competition to design the UK’s new pound coin has yielded a winner: 15-year-old David Pearce. His montage, unveiled today by the Royal Mint, features the four emblems of the UK’s constituent parts—a rose (England), leek (Wales), thistle (Scotland), and shamrock (Northern Ireland). The design beat out more than 6,000 other entries for what should appear on the non-Queen side of the coin (otherwise known as the “definitive reverse”).

The government admitted that the teenager’s design was “refined” by professional coin and lettering artists, but the finished product is still “entirely true to David’s original entry,” the treasury said in a statement. Other contest entries included motifs involving cups of tea, the weather, and the Rolling Stones logo, among other symbols of Britain.

The new coin, which goes into circulation in 2017, will be “the most secure coin in circulation anywhere,” the government said.

Quartz covered the original unveiling of the bi-metallic, 12-sided coin last year, a big day for fans of the dodecagon. From that story:

The treasury said that the run-of-the-mill round version of the one-pound coin was long overdue a refresh. Around 3% of the 1.5 billion one-pound coins are thought to be forgeries, it says, with some two million fakes removed from circulation every year.

In 2007 an industrial coin-forging operation which police said cranked out two million fake one-pound coins per year was shut down. The owner, who served a five-year jail sentence, received around £2,000 ($3,330) a week for his services, a comfortable but hardly spectacular income for a high-tech criminal organization (especially when adjusted for risk)…

… For the numismatists, the new coin will mark Britain’s return to the dodecagonal fold. The design was inspired by the threepenny bit, which was used from 1937 to 1971. Polygonal coins in active circulation are relatively rare, phased out in the name of circular uniformity and found mostly as small-batch commemorative coins.

Active users of 12-sided coins can be found in Australia, Croatia, and some Pacific islands, among other countries.

dodecagon coins
From left, the Australian 50-cent coin, Croatian 25-kuna coin, and Tongan 50-sentiti coin. (Royal Australian Mint, Croatian National Bank, Numista)
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