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Behold the new 12-sided £1 coin, designed by a teenager

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For years, we've been used to the solid, comforting presence of a round £1 coin.

But in a radical new shake-up to combat counterfeiting, a 12-sided £1 is soon to hit our shelves - with the round versions being phased out from 2017.

The new design will feature a rose, leek, thistle and shamrock in a symbol of the UK's four nations, and was unveiled by Chancellor George Osborne on Twitter ahead of his budget announcement today:

The coin was created by 15-year-old David Pearce, who fought off more than 6,000 entries to win a competition to design the "tails" side.

"I was really excited to hear that I had won the competition to design the new £1 coin but hugely shocked as well," the teenager, from  Walsall, told the BBC. "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."

The Chancellor rang Pearce to tell him the good news. 

"Designing the new £1 coin was a brilliant opportunity to leave a lasting legacy on what will be the most secure coin in circulation anywhere," Osborne said

"The competition captured the imagination of thousands of people and David Pearce's winning design will be recognised by millions in the years ahead."

coin

The heads side of the new £1 coin

The new coin will be introduced into Britain in 2017 and features the same shape as the old threepenny bit, which was withdrawn in 1971.

The current £1 coin has become increasingly vulnerable to forgery; around one in 30 of them are believed to be counterfeited.

The Royal Mint says the new design will come with a host of cutting-edge features to make it the most secure coin in the world. This includes two colours of metal, 12 sides and the use of anti-counterfeiting technology, which has been adapted from banknotes to be embedded in coins for the first time.

It will hit our market around the same time as Jane Austen is set to replace Charles Darwin in a new design of the £10 banknote. This followed a high profile campaign that highlighted the lack of women on UK banknotes - apart from the Queen - after it was announced that Sir Winston Churchill would replace social reformer Elizabeth Fry on the £5 note from 2016.

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