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Article updated: 3/19/2014 7:22 AM

Royal mint unveils new pound coin

By

LONDON -- After 30 years of work, the pound coin is ready for a makeover.

The Royal Mint announced plans Wednesday to replace the weighty flat piece with a 12-sided coin made with two separate metals. It resembles a "threepenny bit" -- a coin that circulated in Britain from 1937-1971.

British officials say the new coin will be harder to fake -- as many as 45 million, or 3 percent, of the pound coins in circulation are said to be counterfeit.

The new coin, which will start to circulate in 2017, will feature a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

Royal Mint chief executive Adam Lawrence says the goal is to "produce a pioneering new coin" that will boost confidence and cut fraud.

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