Select Committee on Treasury Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex 1

  Timetable of the £2 coin, showing variation of the electronic signature from initial samples to original production batch and the consequent delayed release of the coin:

  Proposed introduction initially set as 1 November 1997. Initial pre-production samples stuck in January 1997 and May 1997.

  Electronic signatures tested and appear virtually the same.

  All coin user industries use these samples to program new and existing coin validators.

  Pre-production samples tested in early September 1997 are totally outside the windows set for the original samples.

  Royal Mint statement on 19 September 1997 admits there is a problem.

  Two meetings arranged for 16 December 1997 between Royal Mint and firstly validator manufacturers and secondly coin machine operators (including vending, car parks etc).

  At these meetings, Royal Mint denied any changes to the production process and blamed a variety of things including:

    (i)  the age difference between the original samples when received compared to the pre-production ones;

    (ii)  old type coin validators;

    (iii)  the advice given by the coin validator manufacturer;

    (iv)  a "minute" variation in the contact resistance of the coin's join, which was nevertheless easily detectable by all the old coin validators.

  Further Royal Mint meeting on 12 February 1998, where they revealed they had finally solved the problem.

  Release date set for 15 June 1998.

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