Saturday, 23 February 2013

New coins to feature local icons; Third Series coins to be issued into circulation on 25 June 2013

By Magdalen Ng, The Straits Times, 22 Feb 2013

A NEW series of coins depicting Singapore landmarks is due out in the middle of the year.

The new coins, designed by Singaporean designer Fabian Lim, will look and feel quite different from existing ones.

Their appearance will be essentially Singaporean, featuring the Merlion, Port of Singapore, Changi Airport, public housing and the Esplanade.

They will be made of multiply plated steel, a steel core with other alloys plated on it. This material is lighter and cheaper to produce than that used for existing coins, bringing savings of 35 per cent to 40 per cent, compared to the cost of production last year.

Mr Lim is a designer with home-grown agency Royal Fly, and has previously designed commemorative coins for the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

The new series will be sized progressively by denomination, so the five-cent coin will be the smallest and the $1 coin the biggest. The $1 coin will retain its octagonal shape but will become bigger than the 50-cent coin. It will also be bimetallic and will have two colours - a silver middle and gold on the rims. The one-cent coin - which has not been issued since April 2002, partly because it costs more than its face value to mint - will not be re-introduced.

Each coin will have a different edge pattern to help the visually impaired better distinguish between them. The denomination numerals will also be larger for easier identification.

Each coin denomination also has a unique electro-magnetic signature, an anti-counterfeiting measure. The $1 coin has an extra security feature - a laser mark micro-engraving of the Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid, Singapore's national flower.

There are about 4.4 billion coins in circulation, with a face value of about $1 billion. Each year, about 150 million new ones are issued.

The new coins, known as the Third Series, will gradually replace the current collection, which depicts local plants and flowers, over four years.

The Garden Series, as these coins are known, was issued in 1985 and is fast approaching the 30-year tenure for coins.

All past and current series of coins can be used for payment alongside the new ones.

MAS managing director Ravi Menon said yesterday that coins reflect a nation's significant events, people and symbols.

The central bank will ensure that new and existing coins will be accepted at ticketing machines at MRT and LRT stations.

Vending machines, payphones and supermarket trolleys will be calibrated in phases.

The Association of Banks in Singapore said machines at the banks will be ready to accept the new coins by the time of issue.

Ms Lui Su Kian, managing director and head of deposits and secured lending at DBS Bank, said: "In addition to coin exchange services over the counter, DBS receives an average of 12 million coins each month via its coin deposit machines islandwide... For our customers' convenience, these machines will also accept the new coins when they are in circulation."

Mrs Foo-Yap Siew Hong, assistant managing director at the MAS, said: "There will be a period of adjustment as we all get comfortable with the new coins."

Counsellor Cheethow Weiliat, 27, likes the idea of lighter ones. "I'm pretty used to the fact that a dollar coin is smaller, but I guess with time, I'll adapt."

No comments:

Post a Comment