New £1 coin features banknote anticounterfeit technology

Technology employed to protect banknotes from counterfeiters has been introduced into a prototype £1 coin by The Royal Mint. 

Integrated Secure Identification Systems (iSIS) is the result of R&D from engineers at The Royal Mint that has so far seen £2m of investment into a coin that will have ‘covert’ security embedded into it for the first time.

Launched in May 2013, iSIS is said to give coins three tiers of ‘banknote-strength security’ that can be authenticated through high-speed automated detection. A survey undertaken in November 2013 found that the rate of counterfeit UK £1 coins in circulation at the time had risen from 2.74 per cent to 3.04 per cent, and the Royal Mint add that a new level of detection in vending machines will also be possible too, thereby removing this method of introducing fake coins.

Expected to be introduced in 2017, the new 12-sided coin will be constructed from two different – but as yet unspecified – coloured metals.

According to Royal Mint, iSIS is expected to reduce costs by replacing expensive clad and homogeneous coins with a more affordable full-plated option rather than a surface coating that is prone to wear over time.

In a statement Adam Lawrence, chief executive of The Royal Mint said: ‘We are already known as the world’s leading export mint, but iSIS confirms our place as leaders within our industry, as we continue to expand the boundaries of minting technology.’

A public consultation will be held over the summer before a final decision is made on the precise specification of the new coin.