Disappearing Coins: 169 million pounds “lost” in the UK

Almost 169 million pounds have disappeared. The alarm is not related to the stock exchange or to Brexit, but it comes from the Royal Mint, based in Llantrisant, Wales.

Indeed, 169 million pieces of round 1-pound coins have not been returned to the Royal Mint, nine months after they stopped being in use. A new 12-sided coin was introduced for the first time in March 2017, while the round one stopped being exchanged in shops in October. Coins, however, can still be changed in banks.

The Royal Mint smelted 138 million old coins, meaning they were melted and used to create the new ones, which were described as «the most secure in the world» to fight counterfeiting: according to the Royal Mint, one coin out of 30 was counterfeit before the new ones were introduced.

New technology includes a hologram and micro-sized lettering inside both rims. It also has material inside which can be detected when electronically scanned by coin-counting or payment machines.