Rushda: Royal Mint has unveiled new designs for British coins which have not changed in appearance in over 40 years, since decimalisation April 1968. Described as one of the biggest events in British History, the new coins, which can be seen here combine modern designs with traditional elegance. They were announced as the result of a competition which ran since 2005 and received over 4000 entries. The winning designer of the coins is 26-year-old Matthew Dent, a graphic designer who lives and works in London. What makes the designs particularly striking is that the royal coat of arms has been split amongst the six denominations, the crowning piece being the £1 which displays the entire heraldic shield. This is the first time the coins have contained elements of a singular design. The other side will retain the traditional image of the Queen's head and the two pound coin has not changed. Dent is understandably amazed that his own designs will be on every new British coin. He says:
"For designs of mine to appear on a medium as significant and prestigious as the United Kingdom's coinage and to be produced and circulated in millions is a tremendous honour."The new designs mark a huge event in British history. As Andrew Stafford, chief executive of the Royal Mint explains:
"It is the only work of art that every member of the general public touches every day, that is important to the nation's way of life,"The coins will gradually begin to circulate in the summer, though old coins will remain legal tender. Personally, I really like the thoughtful new designs and though the old coins will be missed (especially the 50 pence coins with images of Britannia), I'm sure most people will like the fresh new look which was long overdue. I can't wait to get my hands on some (though I suspect I'll be reluctant to use them as anything but a jigsaw puzzle initially!).