I’m not sure whether I’m just particularly unlucky when it comes to being passed counterfeit pound coins, or whether I just happen to notice them more often. Either way, the amount of dodgy one pound coins in circulation must be enormous (1% I’m told).

Anyway, how do you spot them? Well here’s a few good examples of bent coins. It’s easier than you might think, as fortunately counterfeiters aren’t the sharpest tools…

Example #1:

Fake Coin #1 (click on image for larger version)

As far as crooked £1’s go, this is pretty good and will easily pass as real from a ‘quick glance’. The front and back have been stamped centrally and clearly and the colour is good.

It’s much harder to achieve a readable edge inscription “DECUS ET TUTAMEN” though and it’s this that gives this coin away as being fake when inspected more closely. The inscription is half missing, not centred correctly and the coin is only 80% milled.

The year on the front of this coin is 1996. The reverse for this year should be a Celtic cross. Oops! Those not so clever fakers have stamped a Rampant Lion from 1994’s pound coin on the back.

Example #2:

Fake Coin #2

In contrast to the previous example, it’s the colour on this coin that tips you off to it being a fake. I’d imagine that when this coin was freshly counterfeited, it was a pretty good copy. A few years in circulation and the signs of wear give it away now though. But, the fakers aren’t really going to give a toss if it doesn’t stand the test of time, are they.

As you can see from the picture, the silver of the metal below is blatantly showing. You can see on the reverse where I’ve scratched off the ‘gold top coat’ with my fingernail! When compared against a real pound coin, this fake is also very slightly too large and misshapen. Doh! You’d have trouble passing this bad boy through a vending machine then.

Example #3:

Fake Coin #3

The texture of the front of this coin just looks wrong. It has a ‘sprayed’ look, which probably doesn’t come across that well in the picture. Both front and back are centrally stamped, but the edge inscription is of very poor quality and is only partially milled. The reverse Celtic cross isn’t as clear as it should be and is obviously lacking in any detail. When compared to a genuine £1 coin, it’s again very slightly too big.

Having said that, it’s another fairly good copy and could easily be passed off.

Quite remarkedly, the year, edge inscription and reverse picture again all tie up. It’s unbelievably common for them to not match, as you’ll see…

Example #4:

Fake Coin #4

The face on this fake isn’t quite centrally stamped. The edge is 90% milled. The quality of the lettering on the face stamp isn’t marvellous.

As you can see, the face is stamped 1992 and “DECUS ET TUTAMEN” is stamped around the edge. The reverse shows a thistle sprig in a coronet. Doh!! Those pesky fakers have got it wrong again. 1992 was an oak tree in a coronet!

Anyway, that’s enough dodgy pounds for now… more another time!

Part two and part three.

Comments on: "Fake One Pound Coins – Part One" (140)

  1. patricia pointer said:

    dear sir my friend have found a 1 pound coin which is plain both sides and with the words around the edge is this a fake or worth something please reply by email many thanks

    • Patricia,

      Can you post images on the site for us to take a look?

    • it sounds like a mint error or trial strike where the planchet has been left plain as the edge milling and inscription where being trialed. to rule out a fake you must weigh it to compare with a real pound using digital scales. And secondly check with a magnet as some fakes are ferrous.
      I could probably tell you from a digital camera picture that has been zoomed in on edge and on both blank sides

      sounds an interesting coin I know quite a bit on the subject because i own a couple of trial strikes and they are hard to identify if you need further advice send photos or question and i’ll try to help

  2. shelby rodgers said:

    dear sir
    i have foud a one pound a one pound coin with a skull one on one side and under neaf the skull it says discovery of neanderthal skull in gibraltar 1848 but it says it was made in 2009 is it worth anything.

    • That sounds to be like a genuine 2009 Gibraltar coin.

      They crop up in loose change regularly.

      In my collection, I have Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey one pound coins and I haven’t gone out of my way to deliberately collect them.

      • Dominique McNeil said:

        I also have one of these coins, the only thing I’m curious about is the fact that there is no inscription around the side of the coins? Is this normal or worthless?

      • can someone help me….. got a 1 pound coin, with a boat with 3 sails on one side, and 3 lions on the other side…. no queens head.. around the edge it reads ”bailiwick of guernsey” any one know anything about it??

  3. shaun smith said:

    dear sir.

    hi have a 2009 pound coin, but on the back where it says one pound it has one POUNI ive been told its a real pound? could you plz e-mail me back to let me no what you think thank.

    • Shaun,

      Can you post images of the coin on this site, for those of us with a bit of a trained eye, to take a look?

  4. I have (x2) 1983 one pound coins that I have examined very closely. One of the 2 coins has the DECUS ET TUTAMEN milling upside down (when the “head” side of the coin is up, the side inscription is upside down) – the other coin has the inscription on the side oriented to be read correctly when the head of the coin is upwards.

    I have read closely, and compared your pictures on this site to the coins, and both coins (circulated) look genuine. The color of the metals are the same, a scratch test with a thumbnail doesn’t scrape any coloring off, a slight drop test on a hard surface makes them ring of the same alloys. Is this possibly a minting error that could make the coin worth more than the standard? (est American grading would render about a vf5 to a vf6 condition – circulated).

    • The way you describe them, they sound genuine.

      The edge description is put onto the coins as the stamped coins fall from one machine to another. depending upon how they twist when falling will mean the inscription will either be the ‘right way up’ or ‘upside down’.

      In theory this should be 50/50 just like when you flip a coin.

      There is no known difference in value just because the inscription appears ‘upside down’

    • The Dark Numismatist said:

      Hello Daniel, the orientation of the edge lettering on one pound coins is entirely random. The lettering is put onto the blanks first, then they are fed into the presses at random. By the law of averages there should be 50 per cent of each variety.

  5. i have a pound that has no date on.

  6. natalie mckeever said:

    shelby rodgers i have also got a coin with a skull but says made in 2007 and has urs got written round the edge as mine hasent and im wondering if it is real fake or worth anything can any body help?????

  7. Paul Voller said:

    Dear Simon

    I just happened across this blog after Google returned this as a top result for the search “counterfeit pound coins”. I too have received many fakes in my change before but often have (ashamedly) foisted them on to unsuspecting vending machines.

    I have a question. In my recent experience the pound coins minted by The Royal Mint from 2000 onwards tend to look more “fake” when compared to those minted from 1983-1997. By this I mean the image of the Queen and the reverse of the coin lack detail and definition plus the milling on the edge looks shallow. Only this week I had a pound coin minted in 1983 which looked in better shape than other coins I had in my pocket from 2000 onwards.

    Is there a reason for this? I suspect either poorer quality control as inflation erodes the value of a single pound or softer alloys used in manufacture.

    I’d be interested to hear you opinion as someone who appears to be a numismatist.

    Thanks for your time,


    • Paul,

      In answer to your question I believe its a combination of factors such as quality control and the alloys used. I do agree that younger coins do look ‘worse for wear’ than the older ones and the milling does tend to be shallower. However if you see the 2008 and 2009 designs the milling or ‘reeding’ is once again much deeper.

  8. BazzaS said:

    I have on with the the reverse 180º misaligned with the obverse.


  9. stevey g said:

    I have a one pound coin but only has the word “one” on the back instead of one pound is this rare


  10. i have a pound coin with a skull on one side,underneath it says discovery of neanderthal skull in gibraltar 1848, on the back it is dated 2006, is it rare? :)

  11. Hi, I’m from Germany, I collect coins, I bought a lot of British coins on ebay and I noticed one pound coin, in a very poor condition, that has a wrong edge inscription. It’s a 1994 coin with rampant lion, but with edge inscription “DECUS ET TUTAMEN”. It thought it’s possibly a genuine mint error, the obverse and reverse and the milling on the edge all loke quite clear, despite the poor condition. But when I compared the edge inscription to a real “DECUS ET TUTAMEN” from 1993, the difference is quite clear, the “M” looks totally different, it’s like a turned W and not with parallel lines

    • Anonymous said:

      Hello Roland,

      That’s a great photo, and you are right when you suggest that it is a fake, there is no question about it! It is a shame about the damage to the obverse, but a nice fake, nevertheless.

  12. We have been given as change, a silver-coloured metal coin with the words ‘pirate pound’ written on both sides. On one side there is a skull above two crossed swords and a sailing ship and in small lettering above the word ‘pirate’, the word ‘Simba.’
    On the other side there is a depiction of the head and torso of a pirate. The edge of the coin is smooth. Is this play money?

  13. I have a pound coin from guernsey, on one side is a scooner and the other said 3 lions, the queens head is not there, anybody know why??

  14. hi i was wanting bit advice i have a pound coin 1985 welsh leak design but on the side it has no ‘ in between the i’m is says just im i have read sum were this is a error could u give me advice on this are they worth enything r not x

    • It is genuine. I read once on eBay a bus driver had eight of them, over time, as he collected fares all day and looked out for them. I too have one. I think he also had a Royal Mint letter explaining they were aware the ‘ was missing (reading IM not I’M). I think this was not a case of that part of the die being broken, it was a mistake when the die was made to not include it.

  15. I have found a 1 pound coin with no queens head on it it only has a boat on one side and three lions on the other and it is dated in 1983 and around the edge it says BAILIWICK OF GUERNSEY is this worth anything.

    • i have one exactly the same, but can’t find out if it’s worth anything either,i’ve been on all the sites and have not yet had a reply. we may be sitting on a fortune…….or not!

      • Can you send/post some pictures of both sides and part of the rim inscription if possible.

      • Hi, I have one of these coins too. Did you find a value for it?

      • Janine, Bonnie and Gloria, it’s worth… a pound. Does it look like this?
        If so, it’s just a pound coin used in Guernsey, the value of which is pegged at the same value of Sterling.

        If I remember rightly, it’s technically not legal tender in England, but go into a bank and they’ll most likely swap it for you. Saying that… it’s not unusual to find pound coins from Gibraltar in your change either, so I’m sure you won’t have any problems spending it just like a normal pound coin and I’d wager that most shops would accept it without question.

        There’s still a chance it might be a fake coin from Guernsey, but without a good scan it’d be difficult to say.

      • To all with the 1983 ballwick of guernsey coin,ichecked all the coin collectors and several other agencies and unfortunatly its not worth anything i was really dissapointed aswell,however if anybody has a gold proof of this that may be a little more valuable, i spent mine after i found out being so pissd about it.

      • The boat is called HMS Crescent and there were 269,000 made (only 1983). It is a genuine coin. Information from …
        If a coin has the Queen’s head on it is legal tender – that is the rule I’m sure. For those countries who’s currency is ‘pegged’ to the Pound Sterling – such as Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey, etc. So other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada who also have the Queen’s head on their coins are not in the same rule, as they have their own currency (dollars etc).

  16. hi

    do all pound coins have the writing on he edge, as I have some that have a criss cross pattern and a dot. Do all pound coins have the cross on the edge too?

    thanks sarah

    • Most have lettering, but some years there is just a pattern.
      I have a 2006 UK pound that is one of the ‘bridge’ series, and this has like a double helix around the edge, with a dot halfway round and another opposite. Information from …
      There are various pages on there, including pound coins.

  17. Do genuine £1 coins ever have a double helex around the milled edge? as only lettering seems to be mentioned.A shop I went into had a till full of such coins insisting they were genuine.

    • Ah – that’s spooky. I just wrote a reply to a different question directly above yours, and I gave the answer there.

  18. hi janine, no i did;nt find out anything, been on all the sites and can’t find anything, it’s sitting in my kitchen cupboard, don’t know were else to go to find out!!

  19. what do you guys think about this one (middle)


    it is real as i had it checked by the bank!
    oh hi all by the way!!

    • Looks ok to me. The “one” and the “pound” doesn’t look very clear but could just be the angle or wear.

      What makes you think it’s fake?

      • haha sorry i’ve posted on the wrong site.doh!!
        i dont think its fake, its minted wrong..
        sorry about the mix up. i come here to read about fake coins and also had another site open (where i was ment to post) about mint Errors on coins. what a donkey i am.
        sorry guys!
        nice bit of info on here tho!! keep it up guys
        please feel free to remove my post’s.
        happy new year!!!!
        im so stupid

  20. Collect coins from Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.
    I would be very grateful for any coin in one pound of these countries.
    I changed to a one pound coin in the UK.
    Write to astsa@list.??
    Yours faithfully Alexander.

  21. There is one pound in 2001. I am sure that he is a fake.

  22. I have a 1 pound coin which is dated 1971, with then queens head on 1 side and thistle on the other. The inscription around the edge doesnt look central and the coin looks quite warn. Can you tell me anything about it please? the edge of the coin reads “NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT”. Please help me! is it fake?

    • Well, if it really has 1971 as the year, then it’s definitely fake, as pound coins weren’t first issued until 1983. We’d only just gone decimal in 1971.

      If however it’s actually 1991 and the text is just a bit unclear, well, it’s still a fake, as pound coins that year had flax and a DECUS ET TUTAMEN edge inscription.

      So from what you’ve said, I’d call it a fake, but would quite like to see a scan as I’ve never seen one with such an incorrect date on before.

    • loftybob said:

      Frankie, your 1971 pound is a known and very rare fake pound with thistle reverse. The front/obverse showing the Queen’s head appears to be a made-up design rather than a direct copy. I’ve only known of two of these; one of them is photographed on the website http://www.counterfeitcoinclub.info Your coin is far more rare than the undated (genuine) 20p coin that fetches such high sums when these are occasionally seen for sale.

  23. I have a pound coin with a skull on it, judging by the comments above it seems to be a commemerative ‘gibralter’ coin, the only thing is that my coin is minted 2007 rather than 2009 as is says above, also it has nothing round the edge, is it a fake??

  24. If anyone is intreasted there is a Fake Britain program on Monday 16th May at 9:15am which investigates the number of fake £1 coins given out over the counter by the high street banks.

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