First post of 2011! Just when it seemed the Police had the pound coin forgers licked (or at least nicked) a possible new fake pound coin type has emerged, if not a new type it is certainly a new one to this area at least, far brighter and shinier than the previous ones:
Though the numbers of fake pound coins in circulation seems to have decreased over the last few months, I still wonder what impact they are having on the economy. Time to go back to the good ole £1 note!
The easiest way to spot them is still the poorly executed edge inscriptions:
Wikipedia says: “A Royal Mint survey in January 2009 estimated that 2.58% of all £1 coins in circulation are counterfeit. This represented a considerable increase, up from 2.06% a year earlier, with the highest level of counterfeits being in Northern Ireland (3.6%) and London and the South East (2.97%) and lowest in Northwest England. Some estimates place the figure closer to 5%. An earlier survey in 2006 gave an estimate of 1.7%, which itself was nearly twice earlier estimates.
In July 2010, it was reported there were so many counterfeit pound coins in circulation (about 2.81% or about 1 in 36) that the Royal Mint were considering removing the current £1 coin from circulation and replacing it with a new design. Bookmakers Paddy Power offered odds of 6/4 (bet £4 to make £6 profit) that the £1 coin would be removed from circulation.
One common method of detecting counterfeits (if the sound of the coin on a table or the colour of the metal does not indicate something suspicious) is to check whether the reverse matches the edge inscription for the alleged year – it is extremely common for counterfeiters to get this wrong. Also, the writing on the edge may be in the wrong font and look very poor (see image), and the coins often generally look much less sharp and defined, lacking intricate details. Most counterfeit £1 coins in circulation are made of brass, and most lead copies are easy to spot and are quickly removed from circulation.”