The new designs have been chosen via an open competition which was widely publicised in the national media in August 2005 and attracted 4,000 entries. The winning designer is 26-year-old Matthew Dent, originally from Bangor who now lives and works in London as a graphic designer.
After exploring a number of different options, Matthew Dent finally developed the heraldic theme, taking the greatest heraldic device ever used on coinage the Royal Arms.
As you can see in the image to the right, the Shield of the Royal Arms has been given a contemporary treatment and its whole has been cleverly split among all six denominations from the 1p to the 50p, with the £1 coin displaying the heraldic element in its entirety. This is the first time that a single design has been used across a range of United Kingdom coins.
The new designs will enter circulation gradually throughout the year. It is normal practice for banks to order coins from the Royal Mint to satisfy public demand, which fluctuates over the course of the year. The current coin designs will remain in circulation and as legal tender for the foreseeable future.
To mark this major numismatic milestone, the Royal Mint is offering a range of magnificent limited-edition collections produced to Proof quality.