I guess when it comes to counterfeit £1 coins, I’m a bit of a geek. I’ve blogged a couple of times before about fake coins, but it’s been a while, so I thought I’d post another small bunch.

If you’ve read the previous two parts in this ‘series’, you’ll probably be quite familiar with common mistakes that counterfeiters make. It never really occured to me before, but perhaps fakers intentionally make ‘errors’ so that they can distinguish their own dodgy currency lying around from the pukka stuff that can be easily spent / laundered / exchanged / banked etc…? You’ll perhaps see what I mean later.

Anyway, remember, about 1 in every one hundred poind coins is supposedly counterfeit, so you’ve probably had quite a few in the past and just never noticed… read on…!

Example #9:

Fake Coin #9

As far as fake pound coins go, this isn’t bad. Actually, none of the fakes in this post are particularly poor. They could all be quite easily passed on.

Here we’ve got a year 2000 coin (at least that’s what it’s stamped). We should find ourselves a nice Welsh dragon on the reverse. Oooh, we do! So far so good.

We can also expect a Welsh “PLEIDIOL WYF I’M GWLAD” inscription. Ahhh. This is where it goes a bit Pete Tong and we get a quite poorly inscribed “DECUS ET TUTAMEN” instead. The edge is only partially milled and the ‘cross crosslet’ or ‘Llantrisant Mint Mark’ is pretty much totally missing. That’s the little cross that sits between the word “TUTAMEN” and “DECUS” before you ask! Oh, you can see a picture of this at the end of the post…


Example #10:

Fake Coin #10

I would probably say that this is one of the better quality fakes I’ve seen! The front and back are quite clearly stamped. In fact, there’s a surprising amount of detail on both sides. It’s not been stamped totally centrally, but it’s 99.9% there. You can see the slightly raised edge on the reverse side at the top right which shows it’s not quite perfect.

Moving on. You can see it’s another year 2000 coin, this one has got a Celtic cross on the reverse though, not the Welsh Dragon that a genuine would have. It also has “DECUS ET TUTAMEN” incorrectly inscribed instead of “PLEIDIOL WYF I’M GWLAD”. But again, it’s the poor quality of the inscription that alerts you that this is a counterfeit coin.

Example #11:

Fake Coin #11

Probably the worst of the bunch. The colour is a bit too dark and makes it just look suspicious. I’m sure most people would think that it’s been discoloured naturally however.
1989 was a Scottish year and had a thistle on the reverse, which only goes to prove that this ’89 Ornamental Royal Arms backed coin isn’t legit.

We should have had “NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT” as the inscription, but yet again the fake reads “DECUS ET TUTAMEN“. I guess this is the phrase most people associate with one pound coins, regardless of the image on the reverse. It’s very poorly inscribed and only half the coin has a milled edge.

Last one then…

Example #12:

Fake Coin #12

This just looks a bit dodgy! It’s difficult to explain and doesn’t really come across in the scan above, but I guess it’s the detailing on front and back which don’t look quite as sharp as it should and the colour being very slightly off.

It’s been stamped 1997 and the Three Lion reverse does match correctly. Shock!

Most fakes seem to have “DECUS ET TUTAMEN” inscribed around the edge, so you’d almost expect this to have it too. It’s a fakers favourite and it would also be the correct inscription after all. Rather oddly then, this one has the Welsh “PLEIDIOL WYF I’M GWLAD” instead. Hmmm, odd! It’s this coin that made me think that perhaps these mistakes aren’t always intentional. The edge has been well milled, but the lettering is pretty dire in places.

…and finally…

Fake Coin Stack

I probably should of thought out this part a little more, but not to worry! The pic above has got all the coins I mentioned above, sandwiched inbetween 2 genuine coins for comparison. The first stack shows the coins lined up with the ‘cross crosslet’ I mentioned earlier. The second stack is rotated slightly to better show the quality of the lettering.

In order then, the coin stack is:

1st (top): Genuine 1985
2nd: Example #12
3rd: Example #11
4th: Example #9
5th: Example #10
6th (bottom): Genuine 2001

I probably won’t do another of these again (“hurrah” you say!), or at least not this angle for quite a long while. Mainly because I’ve again run out of hooky quids and also as I’ve covered most of the main ways of spotting them over the last few posts. I haven’t really covered coin weight, simply because I haven’t got an accurate enough way to measure it!

Hopefully that little lot has been mildly interesting. Good job I gave a geek warning before I began isn’t it! ;-)

Comments on: "Fake One Pound Coins – Part Three" (129)

  1. Better start looking closely at the 2004/5/6 Bridge series of pound coins. There’s a fair few dodgey ones of them about… but not having wiggly lines instead of the edge inscription makes them stand out less.

  2. … and if you tape a small stack of coins together and carefully roll them down the scanner as it scans… you can scan the entire edge-lettering ;-) Practice!

  3. I’ve not seen any 2004/5/6 fakes yet… I’ve been looking but perhaps not hard enough! Let me know if you’ve got any scans of those.

    That’s a genius idea for scanning the edges by the way. Seems so obvious now I think about it, but it would never have occured to me if you hadn’t mentioned it, so thanks for stopping by – I’ll give that a try!

  4. Great Info and reading. some good ideas too. I will have to try the scanner trick.
    I have seen many types of fakes in pound coins and tried to put them in some kind of collective order but its hard to list them.
    I have noted there seems to be a collective edge inscription done by the same forger with different dates and designs. seems the forger uses the same roll marker on an assortment of coins.
    some forgeries are so good that only the letter spacing arround the edge gives them away.
    they make an interesting collection.
    I have just got a 2004 in my change.It looks a bit gritty but with the correct date/bridge and edge.
    feels sharpe edged,and there is a small dot on the roll marked edge at one side of the pattern. and one gap between the edge pattern is weak. must be wear they start/stopped .`one pound` looks double struck under a lense.
    I have seen others, some good some bad. and some with no edge insciption/pattern.
    I hope to find and here more about this subject.
    and hope the change in coins in 2008 will not make them all just dissapear.
    happy hunting.. Brian

  5. Interesting! Yeah, the edging is usually the give away isn’t it. If you could post a scan of that 2004 fake, that’d be great… as I’ve still not seen one. :-(

    I’ve not seen any £2 coin fakes either. I’ve heard a couple of times that people have had them in their change, so perhaps that’s just a matter of time…

    • hello, i heard about fake coins a few days ago, i have a pound coin with a bridge from 2005, the edge has ribbon type but is notably off centre. is this normal?

  6. i think i have a dodgy 2006 bridge coin as there is so little detail on it and the lettering that reads _one pound coin_ doesn’t look like the right font.

  7. This is a fascinating subject. I once got a counterfeit 50p in my change which is now in my collection. Can you answer this question: Is the £1 coin edge inscription always oriented the same way, ie if you are holding the coin looking at the head side, then rotate it through 90 degrees so you see the edge, is the inscription always the right way up, or does it vary?

  8. As far as I know it’s random. The inscription can start/end at any point around the coin too.

    I believe the head and tail of the coin are stamped simultaneously, then it’s fed through another machine to do the edge inscription. So it’d just depend upon whichever side the coin falls on.

  9. Thanks for the reply, that seems logical. The £1 coin I am suspicious of is 2003 with the correct reverse, however, it is not struck square with the obverse, being about 10 degrees out of true. The font used on the edge inscription appears incorrect, and the actual inscription is not central on the depth of the coin. This seems like a great subject for a collection!

  10. It might be worth lining the edge inscription up against a genuine ‘DECUS ET TUTAMEN’ pound to check if the lettering has the same spacing. Unless the coin has had a particularly hard life, it should also have a good, even milled edge. If it is a fake, it sounds like it might be a pretty good one!

  11. I am still not sure about this coin. I have checked the spacing as suggested and it *is* slightly different, but not markedly so. I will wait until I find another 2003 coin and compare the two. However, as I mentioned before, the reverse is 10 – 15 degrees out of true with the obverse, and struck very slightly off centre. The reverse also has a couple of dark streaks running across it at an angle. It has much of the original lustre. I will not be happy with it until I can compare it with another example from the same year.

  12. Yes, checking how the obverse/reverse alignment compares against another coin of the same year should be another good ‘test’ to make. I don’t actually remember mentioning that particularly method in previous posts – so thanks for bringing it up.

    Hmmm, what else… If you can weigh it accurately enough, perhaps you could see how close it is to the 9.5g that it’s supposed to be.

    Alternatively, if you’ve got the right equipment, there is a “sure test” mentioned on this page. Quite an interesting read even if you haven’t got a decent microscope.

  13. Thanks for referring me to the page mentioned above. As you say, it is a very interesting read. I took the coin to my local post office but the scales there were accurate only to the nearest gram, and it weighed 9gms. I showed it to the chap behind the counter (a fellow coin collector) and he agreed it was counterfeit. I picked up another today (2001 with the correct reverse) but close inspection clearly shows it to be a fake: very shiny (appears quite new) but a lack of fine detail, in fact it is quite a poor strike, and the Celtic cross is at an angle of about 45 degrees from true. The edge inscription (DECUS ET TUTAMEN) matches exactly the one on the previous coin I found: in both position (not centred), font and spacing, so maybe it is from the same source. I’m hooked now! This subject is fascinating and is definitely going to be a branch of my coin collection! Many thanks for your help.

  14. I’m absolutely fascinated by this. I always check all the £1 coins in my change now, and have discovered quite a few. Some of the forgeries are so good, but it’s often the suspect edge inscriptions that give it away. On the newer counterfeit coins, I’ve found the lettering around the Queen’s head is also slightly fatter and less defined.

    Sub-sections 15(2) and 16(2) of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 say:

    15(2) It is an offence for a person to deliver to another, without lawful authority or excuse, any thing which is, and which he knows or believes to be, a counterfeit of a currency note or of a protected coin.

    16(2) It is an offence for a person to have in his custody or under his control, without lawful authority or excuse, any thing which is, and which he knows or believes to be, a counterfeit of a currency note or of a protected coin.

    It’s also an offence under section 10 of the Coinage Act 1971 to intentionally destroy a genuine British coin, although I’m not sure this is actively enforced anymore.

    Source: http://wiki.chiark.greenend.org.uk/HowToSpotAFakePoundCoin

  15. I agree that many of the current counterfeits are very good. At the moment we have a spate of the 2001 coins with the celtic cross on the reverse in this area. You are right about the edge inscriptions, they are often crude and certainly do not match genuine examples. The things I look out for are:
    General appearance, (does it have that ‘chocolate coin’ look about it?);
    does the coin look new? The 2001 coins circulating here seem to be made of brass and are quite shiny, and look newer than they should;
    Lack of fine detail in the design (the bust 1998 onwards is designed by Ian Rank-Broadley and the initials IRB should be clearly portrayed under the Queen’s head. If they are badly defined or turning into blobs the coin needs a second look;
    The base of the reverse should match the base of the obverse. Many counterfeits are offset at an angle;
    The final clinchers are: an incorrect reverse for the year; and wrong inscription for the reverse design (and of course the wrong font and/or spacing.
    I appreciate your pointing out the legislation regarding the possession of counterfeit coins. I guess I will have to destroy my collection now.

  16. Here’s quite a bit of further reading containing plenty more counterfeit £1 pics as well as an insight into the processes used to create fakes and the people behind it all. Although it’s not been updated to cover the December 2007 case.

    6/4/08 edit: there is now something about the Dec 2007 case too.

  17. Yes the base and the obverse are often not aligned, good spot. And thanks for the extra links too – I didn’t know about the December 2007 case. The amount of coins he produced is simply incredible.

    No way am I destroying my collection. I have no intention of ever using them as currency but I am just so fascinated I can’t bring myself to destroy them. They will be an important addition to my other coin collections.

  18. I have a fake £1 coin. It has a celtic cross on the reverse and 2001 on the top. However i noticed that the cross was missing, so i took a closer look. The edge inscription was rubbish! It really was! The paint is also flaky.

  19. Do you know if anyone would buy it and if so for how much?

  20. CSBlakebrough said:

    Had quite a few fakes over the years, mostly from the local Woolworths, so much so i now make sure i check any pound coins they give me before i leave the till and they get most unhappy when i pass the fakes back and ask for genuine coins!

    However, i only ever spot fakes by the quality and not by the date/image/edge inscriptions matching up, to be honest i don’t suspect many people would spot coins that way as how many people would know all the correct combinations anyway – if the forgers get it wrong (and there the ones who should be paying attention) joe public isn’t really going to know are they? It’s definately the quality that gives them away.

  21. hi how do i make coins if you can help thankyou

  22. Farooq, earn (or win) them, don’t make them yourself. :-)

    The reason I blogged about this in the first place was to try and enlighten people about how to spot fake pound coins, not to assist people with criminal activities. So to answer your question, I’m afraid I can’t help you.

  23. NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT-No one provokes me with impunity. seems a warning to all counterfeiters from ER.that’s why the forged coins never use these words….

  24. Thank you for your incredibly interesting blog.
    You may like to know that the BBC have just released an article on the same subject here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7628137.stm

  25. Thanks very much Hal, glad you enjoyed it. :-)

    Yes, I saw that article on the BBC news website, the video is pretty good and hopefully it’ll make people check the change in their pocket.

    If anyone reading finds any fake pounds (or any other coin for that matter), please feel free to scan it and post a link here.

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