CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak has named Kenyan-born British artist Michael Armitage as the designer of a new £1 coin which will enter circulation in 2023, marking the 40th anniversary of the modern £1 coin.
The new £1 coin design will be minted at The Royal Mint, who will also release a special collector’s edition to coincide with the launch in early 2023. The new design will celebrate the culture, creativity, heritage and history of the UK in the 21st century.
It is the first change to the £1 since 2017, when a new 12 sided coin replaced the former ‘round pound’ and introduced a range of anti-counterfeit features. The new £1 design will retain these safety measures and feature the fifth effigy of Her Majesty the Queen on the obverse.
The son of a Yorkshireman and Kikuyu mother, Michael Armitage was born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1984 and now lives works between London and Nairobi. He trained at the Slade School of Fine Art, London and the Royal Academy Schools. In January 2022, the Royal Academy of Arts, London, elected him a Royal Academician in the category of painting.
Speaking at the official opening of the RCA’s Rausing Research and Innovation Centre, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “I am delighted that Michael will lend his vision to the creation of this new £1 coin design in its 40th anniversary year. This coin will symbolise the rich tapestry of modern Britain and honour our deep heritage and history.”
Coin artist Michael Armitage said: “It is a great privilege to have the opportunity to collaborate with The Royal Mint on the design of the new £1 coin. It is an honour to be part of the lineage of coin-making in the United Kingdom and I am grateful to the Chancellor and the selection panel for the opportunity to contribute to this history in considering what it is to be part of Great Britain today.”
Chief Executive of the Royal Mint, Anne Jessopp said: “The £1 coin is a symbol of Britain that is recognised around the world. As such we are delighted to work with Michael Armitage to create a new design that celebrates the people of Britain and our diverse culture. It is the first new £1 design since 2017 and will combine our 1,100 years of craftsmanship, with cutting edge design to champion modern Britain.”
Michael Armitage was chosen by an independent panel with expertise in coin design and art. The panel was established to advise the Chancellor on the artistic merits and ideas behind proposals put forward by selected candidates.
Further information on the history and previous designs of the £1 can be found here: £1 Coin | The Royal Mint.