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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 August 2005, 15:21 GMT 16:21 UK
Royal Mint seeks new coin designs
Six of the UK's eight coins will be re-designed
The Royal Mint has launched a competition to find new designs for six of the UK's coins.

The winning designs will be used on the "tail side" of coins from the penny to 50p with each designer winning 5,000.

The existing designs, except for the 20p, have not changed since they were introduced with decimalisation in 1971.

Would-be designers have been asked to come up with images that better reflect modern Britain, while the Queen's portrait will remain on the other side.

The Queen has ultimate say in the final design of the 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p and 50p coins, after the chancellor approves the selection chosen by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee.

The public will have to compete against invited artists and the Royal Mint Engraving Department.

Royal Mint chief executive Gerald Sheehan said: "Although we use coins everyday and we often take them and their designs for granted, it is fascinating how strongly people feel about the coinage and how integral it is to our history."

Design ideas

The Royal Mint, based in Llantrisant, south Wales, did highlight "heraldry" as a potential design element, but want it to be shown in an "imaginative and creative way".

Other themes it suggests are flora or fauna, geographic features, social, political or cultural achievements or British institutions.

The Royal Mint advised against having a person on the reverse side because of the difficulty of choosing a candidate and to avoid having two heads on a coin.

The competition closes on 14 November when the public will be consulted on the designs prior to formal approval.

The one and two pound coins are not included in the competition as they were only recently re-designed.

Find out what designs the public would choose

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