New quid on the block: UK revamps its coins to tackle counterfeiting

Royal Mint via Getty Images | Getty Images News

Britain is set to introduce a new version of its £1 coin for the first time in 30 years and the U.K. government called on citizens to raid their piggy banks before the current coin becomes defunct in October.

The new 12-sided £1 coin would be the most secure in the world when it enters circulation on March 28, the treasury announced on Sunday. This is as a result of several security features, most notably, a hologram.

The coin is to be released in spring in an effort to further prevent counterfeits which costs businesses and taxpayers millions each year.

'Historic moment'

"This is a historic moment as it's the first time we've introduced a new £1 coin since 1983, and this one will be harder to counterfeit than ever before," David Gauke, chief secretary to the U.K. treasury said in a statement.

"Our message is clear: if you have a round £1 coin sitting at home or in your wallet, you need to spend it or return it to your bank before 15 October," he added.

The treasury estimated around 433 million pounds are currently being stored in savings jars around the country and therefore urged consumers to spend it or deposit it in the bank before the current coin ceases to hold legal tender status.

The new £1 coin is based on an old 12-sided three-penny bit, a popular British coin which went out of circulation in 1971.

New notes to be unveiled

In November, the Bank of England also addressed counterfeit concerns when it introduced a polymer £5 note. However, the central bank was criticized for the apparent use of animal fat in the currency's production.

The Bank of England responded to say that it was "aware of people's concerns" and would treat them with the "utmost respect" moving forwards.

A polymer £10 note featuring novelist Jane Austen is due to enter circulation in 2017 with a new £20 note to follow by 2020.