top of page

Artist Michael Armitage to Design New £1 Coin

Chancellor Rishi Sunak names artist Michael Armitage as the designer of a new £1 coin which will enter circulation in 2023, marking the coin’s 40th anniversary

  • Rishi Sunak reveals that Michael Armitage will design a new £1 coin entering into circulation early 2023

  • The new design will celebrate the culture, creativity, heritage and history of the UK in the 21st century

  • Michael Armitage is the son of a Yorkshireman and Kikuyu mother and spent his childhood in East Africa before training as an artist in Britain

During a Royal College of Art’s (RCA) reception on Tuesday evening (10 May), Rishi Sunak announced that Mr Armitage’s new design will celebrate the “culture, creativity, and heritage and history” of the UK in the 21st century.

Mr Armitage is one of Britain’s brightest artists, weaving his East African and British heritage to produce complex, lyrical works that draw from past and current events, recollections and mythology, popular culture and art historical references to reflect the rich heritage of modern Britain.

Speaking at a celebration of the RCA’s new design and innovation campus, which includes the Rausing Research and Innovation Building, 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.

Mr Armitage was born in 1984 in Nairobi, Kenya and lives and works between London and Nairobi. He received his BA in Fine Art from the Slade School of Fine Art, London (2007) and has a Postgraduate Diploma from the Royal Academy Schools, London (2010). In January 2022, the Royal Academy of Arts, London, elected him a Royal Academician in the category of painting. Armitage will be the subject of a major solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Basel in May 2022, which will travel to London’s White Cube gallery in September.

Mr Armitage was chosen by the Chancellor on advice provided by an independent panel with expertise in coin design and art, established to assess the artistic merits and ideas behind proposals put forward by selected candidates.

The design will become the standard circulating £1 coin and will include the current world-leading high security features to protect against counterfeiting. This is the first time that the new 12-sided £1 coin has been redesigned since its introduction in 2017.

Cash remains vital for millions of people across the UK and around 5.4 million adults rely on cash to a great extent in their daily lives and this government is committed to protecting access to cash. Today (Tuesday)’s Queen Speech confirmed that the government will bring forward legislation to ensure the continued provision of cash withdrawal and deposit facilities in the UK so that our cash infrastructure is sustainable for the long term.

The RCA’s new campus in Battersea, which includes the Rausing Research and Innovation Building, was supported by £54 million of government funding from the Treasury. The new campus embodies the College’s transformation into a dynamic, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics)-focused postgraduate university, expanding into computer and materials science, robotics, advanced manufacturing, complex visualisation and data science, and intelligent mobility, enabling its students to tackle some of the most pressing challenges of our times.

Further Information

  • The selection panel consisted of:

1) Panel Chair and Senior Representative of HM Treasury – Azin Roussos. Deputy Director of Debt and Reserves Management

2) Senior Representative of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee - Baroness Gisela Stuart. Chair of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee

3) Senior Representative with experience in contemporary art - Eliza Gluckman. Director of the Government Art Collection

4) Senior Representative with experience in coin design - Kevin Clancy. Director of the Royal Mint Museum and Secretary to the Royal Mint Advisory Committee

  • 2023 marks the 40th anniversary of the modern £1 coin, which was introduced in April 1983. It replaced the one pound banknote which was gradually withdrawn from circulation. The 1983 £1 coin was fully redesigned in 2017, including the introduction of new security features.

  • This new design will feature on the reverse (or ‘tails’) side of the 2017 coin.

  • The design will be revealed later this year and the coin will enter circulation early 2023.

  • Founded in 1837, the RCA is the world’s largest community of postgraduate art and design students. A research-led institution, the RCA is the highest ranked specialist art and design university in the UK.

  • Innovation RCA, their centre for enterprise, entrepreneurship, incubation and business support, helps staff, students and alumni transform compelling ideas into successful businesses. So far, it has helped over 75 RCA business ideas become a reality and created over 800 UK jobs, which have in turn generated £184 million of turnover – £34 million just in the last year alone.

  • Prominent alumni include: Barbara Hepworth, Bridget Riley CBE, Christopher Bailey CBE, Chris Ofili CBE, Clare Waight Keller, Clarice Cliff, Sir David Adjaye, David Hockney, Sir Frank Bowling, Henry Moore, Ian Dury, Sir James Dyson, Lubaina Himid CBE, Monster Chetwynd, Orla Kiely, Sir Peter Blake, Sir Ridley Scott, Rose Wylie, Thomas Heatherwick, Tracey Emin CBE and Zandra Rhodes.

bottom of page