A teenager's design is set to line millions of pockets and purses across the UK after the winner of a public competition to design the 'tails' side of the new £1 coin was unveiled by Chancellor George Osborne on Wednesday.
David Pearce, 15, and a pupil at Queen Mary's Grammar School in Walsall, west Midlands, beat off fierce competition from over 6,000 entries with his winning design being chosen following a public competition organised by the Royal Mint on behalf of the Treasury.
The teenager took a surprise telephone call from Osborne earlier this week who delivered the good news. Competition entrants were asked to create a design which symbolises Britain and entries included cups of tea, flags, maps, the weather, famous writers, seaside piers, and even the Rolling Stones motif.
Pearce's design incorporates four well-known symbols of the UK with a rose, leek, thistle and shamrock emerging from a Royal Coronet and it will now be taken forward to be struck onto the new £1 coin being introduced in 2017, official sources said.
The £1 coin is being replaced for the first time in over 30 years because of its vulnerability to sophisticated counterfeiters. It will have the same shape as the 12-sided 3 pence piece or 'threepenny bit' and will be the most secure coin in circulation in the world.
The Royal Mint estimates that about 3% of all £1 coins (or 45 million) are now forgeries. The new coin has a number of features which the Royal Mint confirms will make it the most secure coin in the world.
These features include: bi-metallic construction, of 2 colours; 12-sided design; inclusion of the Royal Mint's new anti-counterfeiting technology, which can be authenticated by high-speed automated detection.
Pearce said, "I was really excited to hear that I had won the competition to design the new £1 coin but hugely shocked as well! I heard about the competition through my design teacher at school and I thought I had nothing to lose so I decided to enter."
"I spent a lot of time researching what coin designs looked like and what sort of designs would represent all parts of the UK before submitting my idea and I honestly cannot believe I have won," he added.