back to article Blighty goes retro with 12-sided pound coin

In agreeable news for those readers who can remember when it was all trees round here and you could get an enormous paper bagful of gobstoppers for thruppence, The Royal Mint has unveiled a decidedly retro 12-sided design for Blighty's £1 coin. The proposed 12-sided pound coin. Pic: The Royal Mint The mint reckons that a …

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WTF?

12-sided...

So I was told there was a reason why the 20p and 50p had an odd number of sides, something to do with mechanical detection.

Was that bollocks or when you get to 12 sides is it close enough to a circle that it's not worth worrying?

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Re: 12-sided...

The 20p and 50p have constant diameter no matter where you measure them

this new £1 will be the first coin in a very long time not to have a constant diameter

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curve_of_constant_width

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A question of balance

> the 20p and 50p had an odd number of sides

Yes, but you can't have fun and games seeing how many you can stack, on edge.

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Re: A question of balance

you can.. its just more difficult

http://i.imgur.com/EBFUcUv.jpg

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Re: A question of balance

They appear to have twelve sides - so that's a pretty neat trick, balancing a number of seven sided coins on edge so that they somehow gain an extra five sides.

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Balancing act

As far as I can make out, those are Australian coins, not UK 50p ones. Cripe's, he's hung them from an upside-down table!!

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Re: 12-sided...

yes. an equilateral curved heptagon has a constant diameter.

therefore, the new coin should have had 11 sides, curved...

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Trollface

Re: 12-sided...

"The 20p and 50p have constant diameter no matter where you measure them"

You mean they're spherical?

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Re: A question of balance

balancing a number of seven sided coins on edge so that they somehow gain an extra five sides."

That's because it's a three dimensional visualistion of the 4 dimensional hyper-heptagon.

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Why not bury a RFID tag in them? I know this would put the price up by a penny or two but wouldn't that be a difficult one to duplicate/fake, make the fakes easier to spot using a reader and it might come in handy when you want to know how much you've got sutffed down the back of your piggy bank/sofa.

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Anonymous Coward

Anything you can make...

... I can fake better.

Remember when silvery holograms were a sign of authenticity?

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Why not bury a RFID tag in them?

Because they're made of metal?

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Coat

Brilliant idea

Then you could make contactless payments with coins

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TRT
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Hard currency has gone the way of the dodecagon.

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Coat

I read that as "Dogecagon". much sides.

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Couldn't you use the coin itself an antenna?

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Pint

Re: Brilliant idea

Didn't anticpate that application. Here you go (see icon).

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Anonymous Coward

"Hard currency has gone the way of the dodecagon."

No. No it hasn't. To clarify its 13/03/2014. In this year hard currency is not dead.

I suspect this will be the case in years to come.

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Alert

Re: Brilliant idea

"Then you could make contactless payments with coins"

My head wants to explode thinking about this.

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That sort of thing is what I'm worried about with this "authentication". While it's unlikely that they use RFID because the coins are metal, I'm concerned that they may give coins individual identification, which will make cash transactions trackable.

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Re: My head wants to explode thinking about this.

If that doesn't do it - wait till they give you your change!

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Bank notes already have serial numbers. (Or don't they in the UK?)

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Anonymous Coward

Exactly. Please el-reg, follow up on the 'technology' angle and find out what they mean.

Anon because of reasons.

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... and a fitting tribute this is.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne, enthused: "...paying tribute to the past in the 12-sided design of the iconic threepenny bit." before continuing with the astute observation that this is also a quite fitting tribute considering that the new £1 coin of 2014 will also have roughly the same purchasing power as the iconic threepenny bit of 1953 had in its day.

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Re: ... and a fitting tribute this is.

Back in 1953 a skilled worker would get about £20 per week; that's 1600 threepenny bits.

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Thumb Up

Re: ... and a fitting tribute this is.

A huge exaggeration. Today's £1 has the equivalent (RPI) purchasing power of 9 old pence in 1953.

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Re: ... and a fitting tribute this is.

Buying power... That was my first thought, when I read the article.

My other thought was, introduce the Euro, it is already a 2 metal coin, you'd get a good deal on them as well, 1.2 Euros for every pount - if it goes like the rest of Europe, the shops would then also be able to double the price of all goods over night.

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The pound in your pocket

The FT has a table of average UK annual wages. In 1953 it was £625.80.

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Re: ... and a fitting tribute this is.

Do you have a reference for that? It sounds like a hell of a lot to me. The ONS suggests an average wage of £9.30 but neglects to mention if that is a mean or median average.

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/about-ons/business-transparency/freedom-of-information/what-can-i-request/previous-foi-requests/labour-market/average-gross-weekly-earnings-in-1953/index.html?format=print

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Re: ... and a fitting tribute this is.

"the shops would then also be able to double the price of all goods over night."

No, it could be beneficial on balance because shops like to round prices up to the next multiple of £10 and then take 1p off to make silly shoppers think it's cheaper. €9.99 is less than £9.99.

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Re: The pound in your pocket

I think I was getting 6d a week pocket money.

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Re: ... and a fitting tribute this is.

@Uffish

Mr Average took home £9.75 a week in 1953. I got less than £20 a week at my first job in 1971.

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Re: ... and a fitting tribute this is.

"€9.99 is less than £9.99."...

...at time of posting.

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Holmes

Re: ... x.99 rounding

This was originally introduced as an anti theft procedure when electronic tills were introduced- it gave the customer a reason to hang around and see the sale registered cos they were waiting for their change.

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Re: ... and a fitting tribute this is.

There wasn't a single currency which adopted the Euro where shops cut their prices. Why would it happen here?

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Re: ... and a fitting tribute this is.

According to the Bank of England Inflation Calculator (http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/education/Pages/inflation/calculator/flash/default.aspx) £1 in 1953 has the buying power of £23.64 in 2012, or, if you prefer, £1 in 2012 had a value of 4p (or about 8d) in 1953.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ... and a fitting tribute this is. @moultoneer

9.30 times 52 weeks a year = 483.60 per year. That's specifically for manual workers, so the population average is likely to be somewhat higher, although less than double surely.

Anyway, 9.30 works out at 744 thruppeny bits a week. If, as posted by someone else, a modern pound is equivelent to about 8d in 1953 money, that means the 'average manual wage' in 1953 was equivalent to about 14,500 pounds a year in today's money.

So that's how far living standards have risen in over half a century. Isn't progress nice?

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Pint

Re: ... and a fitting tribute this is.

Back in the '50s, 3d was the price of a Mars bar. Thanks to "Mr. Rising Price" Mars bars got proportionally smaller as the years passed. Sometime around 1960, Mars finally restored the size, but upped the price to 4d. Using the Mars bar standard suggests that the present day pound is a bit more valuable than 3d in 1953. (A normal (58 g) Mars bar is now about 60p.)

Foreign readers please note that there are no nuts in a Limey Mars Bar, d=denarius, the standard abbreviation for the old penny that was 1/240th of a pound:) and 3d was, of course, pronounced "thruppence".

Beer: A nice pint of Massey's, with a proper head, to toast those pre-Grotney years when you could buy a round with a ten bob note and still have change for fish and chips.

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Re: ... x.99 rounding

It's a lot earlier than electronics. 19/11d was a common price for quid(ish) goods, way back in my youth.

Yes, part of it was persuading the punter he was saving money, but part of it was ensuring the salesperson opened the till.

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WTF?

Re: ... x.99 rounding

"This was originally introduced as an anti theft procedure when electronic tills were introduced- it gave the customer a reason to hang around and see the sale registered cos they were waiting for their change."

I'm sure there were prices such as £2 19/11d (one old penny short of an exact £3) long before there were electronic tills.

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3 per cent?

That sounds like a lot. Who's got the time or the patience to manufacture all those fake pound coins? You can buy bugger all with a quid anyway. The crooks should invest their time in Bitcoin exchange hacking or something instead.

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Re: 3 per cent?

Could buy someone a hell of a lot of tat from pound shops... they are springup all over the place... ;)

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You can get the fakes at clubs

The fakes are roughly the right size, colour and weight but would not pass casual inspection by someone sober in daylight. I assume the new design will be faked just as badly and given in change at clubs to those too drunk or high to spot the difference.

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Pint

Re: 3 per cent?

According to Wikipedia, a 2011 BBC test of 5000 pound coins found 3.5% to be counterfeit. With 1½ billion in circulation, that will buy several pints even at 2014 prices. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pound_coin)

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