The Royal Mint is introducing the new £1 coin. Magicians are concerned that their special magic coins are about to become useless.
Magicians that perform coin magic have always had mixed feelings about the UK £1 coin. It's a little too small and thick to be good for palming, which makes it's use in coin magic limited. However, it's a great coin to gaff, and magicians have been using it to make special magicians coins for many years. Coin gaffs like coin unique, cig thru coin, and cap and coin monte, use the properties of the £1 coin to their advantage. Those special magic coins can be quite expensive, so many magicians are concerned that their special magic coins are about to become unusable.
Why is the new UK £1 coin being released?
The Royal Mint is introducing the new £1 coin because it has estimated that 3% of the current coins in production are fakes. That would mean there are over 45 million fake £1 coins in circulation! If you have ever owned a coin unique and spent it in error, you'll have added to that figure!
The old coin is very easy to copy. The new £1 coin is being marketed as 'the most secure coin in the world'.
The new £1 coin.
The new £1 coin is based on the old threepenny bit, a 12-sided coin in circulation between 1937 and 1971. A competition will take place to choose the image to put on the "tails" side of the coin.
"In honour of our Queen, the coin will take the shape of one of the first coins she appeared on – the threepenny bit. A more resilient pound for a more resilient economy." – Chancellor George Osborne
The new UK £1 coin will be about the same size as the old £1 coin.
Like the UK £2 coin, it will have two colours and will include mechanisms to allow it can be checked using high-speed automatic detection. The Queen's head will be on the heads side of the coin, the tails side will have a design chosen at a later date.
The coin is due to be released in 2017
The New £1 coin and magicians.
There are a few points that are important to magicians. Firstly the size. It's going to be the same size as the original £1 coin, which is not so good news for magic. The small size made it hard to palm and manipulate, so a larger coin would have made it far more useful.
Secondly, it's going to be bi-metal. That's a nightmare for gaffing the coin. The UK £2 coin has a similar issue, which resulted in many poor gaffed coins that would fall apart with use. Creating shells is much harder with a bi-metal coin as the insert needs to be supported.
On the plus side, the edging of the coin should make it easier to grip for coin manipulation. It may be a better coin to palm, and it's size would make it suitable for spellbound routines with a UK 20p coin.
Shoud magicians worry about their existing gimmicked £1 coins?
Not yet. It will take many years for the old coins to be phased out of circulation. Even then, the old coins can still be used with a story about the 'REAL' reason that the coins were changed, leading into your coin magic tricks. When the new coins are released, there will be a race to manufacturer the first gimmicked versions of the coins. Whilst the transition takes place, using the old coin will give magicians some fantastic presentation ideas to breath new life into their coin magic.