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. Hello!
    Haha I have no idea why my name came up as ????
    Nice mistake on your coin! However I have no idea if it’s a genuine or fake one…
    Here are pics from mine:

  2. Frenchie,

    From first look at the Queens head side and the weakness of the year date I thought its a fake………..but on seeing the bridge side I’m now more of the opinion that you have a ‘mint error’ coin, ie an incomplete coin that has slipped the RM Quality Control.

    Suggest you keep hold of it as there are mint error coin collectors out there who might be interested in it.

  3. The Dark Numismatist said:

    Hi Frenchie,

    Great pictures! The weak strike on the obverse is caused by the imperfection on the reverse. As to whether it is a fake, yes, I think it is. I note the lack of detail in certain areas of the design, particularly the chains and the arches on the left side of the design. I have seen many fakes of similar appearance and I think that this design is currently one of the most common forgeries, sometimes appearing dated 2004. However, it is also possible that the lack of details in the chains, &c could be caused by the imperfection too. I would like to see some shots of the edge as that would quite likely clear up any ambiguity.

  4. Thanks for your replies guys!
    Here are closeups from the side. I can try and shoot more detailed ones if you wish. However, I believe that if you download and save them, you can enlarge them further.


    • Like Simon, I reckon that’s an ‘error coin’ rather than a fake too. As The Dark Numismatist says above, it appears the coin hasn’t been evenly struck due to a broken die, leaving part of the blank coin untouched. The pics of the edge kinda backs that up (might be my eyes, but it looks ever so slightly twisted too in that third picture).

      I’d hold on to it if I were you. Might be worth a few quid (which would make a refreshing change from all the worthless fakes we normally see!).

      Thanks very much for posting those pictures though – very interesting.

  5. The edge isn’t twisted I’d say but rather deeply struck at the beginning and then less deep towards the end.
    I wouldn’t be able to shoot it next to a regular coin since I moved out of London a few years ago and where I live now we use Canadian Dollars. I don’t think I could even buy one off a currency exchange since they don’t bother with coins I believe.
    Do you think I could show it to someone here in Montréal to find out whether it is genuine or not?
    Anyways, I’d rather keep it than sell it unless it’s worth a lot of money. Not worth parting with it for a couple of quids, I kinda like this coin I’ve kept it for 2 years already and it’s been around the world with me ;)

  6. For those of you interested, please visit the following;


    • Over the past year I have been putting together a catalogue of all the different types of counterfeit £1 coins that we have collected, now in excess of 500. You can see the complete list which has been sorted by reverse design, date, and inscription by following the link on our home page. http://www.willings.co.uk

  7. how much to buy these ?

  8. Message to C

    Could you possibly check the 1993 dated Welsh Dragon fake pound you listed above on 4th Sept?

    Most mules seem to have been copied and duplicated but I’ve not come across a 1993 dated Welsh Dragon from any other source. Sure that wasn’t a typo, or a misread date?

    Many thanks

  9. Thanks for the speedy reply. That coin has had a fair bit of circulation by the looks of it! My list of known fake pound mules is now an astonishing 90 varieties, including 36 new ones added by Andy at Willings in his very helpful catalogue mentioned above. That 90 figure is simply date/reverse mismatches and not counting any further variations such as Welsh, English or Scottish edge motto. Andy’s list has 85 of those mules, not counting those where the date is only partly legible.

    For some reason your 1993 Dragon appears to be something of a rarity, which is why I needed to check with you. Thanks.

  10. jack kynaston said:

    well on the fake coins you can tell by the queens nose. on the fake coin the nose is straight and on the real coin its rounded

  11. If you like reading these great articles on fake pound coins, remember there is another site at


  12. At lunch today I received a Ugandan 500 shilling coin instead of a £1 coin. Size is very slightly off, colour is very close, thing’s worth about 20p I think.

  13. Hey, today i found two £1 coins both from 1989, they are both exactly the same on front and back but the writing round the band is written the other way up on one. i would never have notice if i hadn’t got both at the same time. I was wonder if anyone could tell me anything about them?

  14. I have recently found a fake £2 coin in my change. It is bi-metallic, and can’t find any feference to them existing. Also have a fake 20p.

  15. It was very interesting actually. Well done!

  16. hello,
    i recieved a coin that came in a bag of coins from the bank. it looks as though the coin has been caught in the machine, and so has line indentations accross it and a break at one edge. is this worth money or is it a fake??
    thank you

  17. http://i446.photobucket.com/albums/qq183/maddie5588/1.jpg

    Hiya I think I have an error coin, the fourth digit of the date is missing, can you help me out! Dont know what to do with it!


    • loftybob said:

      Hi Maddie

      What does the edge inscription look like? Should be DECUS ET TUTAMEN and in clear regular script. Date starting 200_ with this portrait and reverse should have been 2003 or more rarely 2008.

      Does the face align with the back, same way up? If not, or if the edge looks different compared with a genuine 2003 coin, then it’s likely to be a fake.

  18. decus et tutamen is there fine, looks fine and the faces align ok. i havent a 2003/8 coin to match it too but when i do i will check.
    do you think people would be interested in collecting it?

    • loftybob said:

      Possibly collectable for someone out there. Depends if it’s genuinely a mint error or if the end digit was removed in some way, after production but before it was passed to you. It sounds odd for a mint mis-strike to just leave one digit blank. I don’t think it’s a fake from the photos and description, but can’t be 100% sure.

  19. I think i have got a fake coin, instead of dots on the front it is short lines, there are no dots on the back. The edge is only half rumpled and there is no writing. As well as that could someone tell me whether the design for 1998 is a castle with a key and MONTIS INSIGNIA CALPE. There are also dots of metal on the front of the coin.

  20. I just found a fake, the same one as Coin #12. Correct obverse and reverse, but wrong edge inscription. The reverse is mushy, but with more detail in the lions faces – which makes it look odd. And the queen’s face is pretty mushy as well. I notice it looked strange, but didn’t really bother. Then I found out that the vending machines wouldn’t accept it!
    Anyhow, glad I could find it’s equivalent.

  21. David Bellis said:

    I have a number of £1 coins one in particular has no date on it.Everybody I have spoken to,including the bank haven’t heard of anything like it before.The people at the bank weighed and measured it and checked that both sides align correctly and the inscription is correct with the shield design.When I rang the Royal Mint they needed to see it either by photo e-mail or in person.I have yet to do this because I have been looking on websites similar to this one to find out more information.Looking forward to hearing from you to see what you think I should do next.I also have a £1 coin with a design of a mobile phone on it,I was wondering if this was really rare and worth alot of money or a fake and not worth any thing at all.On the head side around the edge it says’ISLE OF MAN’ then ELIZABETH11 and the date is 1994.The side of the coin just has lines and smooth spaces and no inscription.On the coin with no date on its a large shield and the words ‘one’ on the left and ‘pound’ on the right side of it.The inscription around the coin says’DECUS ET TUTAMEN’.Thehead side of the coin has the ‘EL’ missing from ‘ELIZABETH’.

    • David, the mobile phone Isle of Man pound coin is almost certainly genuine. Not particularly rare or worth much more than £1 (if at all) as far as I know.

      The dateless coin could be genuine coin just mistruck, or the date could be worn or rubbed off. Check this website:

      It sounds like your coin should be the Matthew Dent designed shield shown for 2009 to 2011. If I’m right and it is that design, it is more likely to be genuine, as fakes for this design are rare. Without seeing a photo of it there’s not much more to be said …

  22. David Bellis said:

    I have photo’s of the one pound coin with no date but don’t know how to send it on here.If you e-mail me I can attach it.dbweR5@hotmail.com thanks

    • Hi David, I found a fake Matthew Dent designed shield last year but it is dated 2009. I had the coin verified (although an obvious fake) by the Mint and was told that they had only seen a few. Last week in one batch of 500 fakes coins I saw 3 more fakes, maybe as rare as first thought?
      Apart from the look of the coin the designer initials under the queens neck was incorrect, you may need a magnifying glass to check.
      I would like to see the pictures, can you e-mail them to my home address:- andy@soflex.co.uk.

  23. i have two £1 coins i have one with two queens heads on either side and the other has two tails on either side could some please verify these if you need to email me i will provide pictures i also need help on finding out if they are genuine. i dont trust sending it to Royal Mint then it gets ‘lost in the post’ which is called Royal Mail.

    Email: ricardo.williams92@live.co.uk

  24. Great pictures! The weak strike on the obverse is caused by the imperfection on the reverse

  25. James Rebecchie said:

    Ive never thought about pound coins like this, who really looks at them when there are with a bunch of change? I will now however :-)

    This leads me to a question about a pound coin that you may be able to shed some light on.

    I got a sealed bag of 20 £1’s from Barclays bank and found one coin to be compleatly blank, very strange as I had never seen one. I have tried in upmost vain to research other examples and have come up blank (excuse the pun lol) Do you have any ideas or have you come across other examples? Id appreciate any help that you can give. Thank you.

    Kind regards.

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