§ Lord Killearn
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Why the edge lettering on the five variants of the £1 coin is imprinted in random fashion—so that the three mottoes may be either way up (relative to the obverse and reverse faces), and may start at any point on the circumference; and, if (as alleged) more consistent lettering would add significantly to the cost of minting, whether the total cost of minting is a significant part of the final value of the coin in the hands of the public or the vaults of the Bank,
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Lord Brabazon of Tara)
The edge lettering on the £1 coin is imprinted before the coins are fed into coining presses to strike the obverse and reverse designs, Partly finished coins, bearing the edge lettering only, are not orientated in any particular way before entering the presses, and consequently there is no guarantee which way the lettering will fall on the finished coins.
It is not possible, within the constraints of current technology, to mass produce £1 coins with edge lettering starting at a specified point on a coin's circumference; and it would increase costs disproportionately to ensure that the lettering was always the same way up. (It is not the practice to give more detailed information relating to costs which could be of commercial value to the Royal Mint's competitors).