Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Is Your Change Counterfeit?

An interesting story on the BBC News this morning that as many as 1 in 20 £pound coins in circulation may be counterfeit.

There's a BBC video here which shows you how to spot the fakes and so having two pound coins in my own pocket I put both to the test. One appears to be clearly counterfeit with no script around the outside edge and the second is most probably counterfeit but I'm not certain. In any event, 50:50 isn't a good result.

Strangely enough, I wouldn't be surprised if we had a higher than average circulation of dodgy coins here in Thanet and that I find worrying!

Have a try spotting the signs for yourself.

Finally, today has the first meeting of the council's new General Purposes Committee, whose first task is to review and agree upon the levels of our public sector pay claims and settlements for 2009.


Michael Child said...

Simon when I asked The Bank of England about this the answers I got as I questioned them the were just astonishing, there are so many variables in genuine coins that it is pretty much impossible to come up with a precise set of rules for identifying a fairly well produced fake.

Not all genuine coins have a cross on the edge, not all genuine coins have script round the edge there is a whole series that just have two interwoven wiggly lines.

The main problem with the coins is that there are so many different designs in circulation, I have just been through the 40 or so in the shop till about 5 suspect ones but nothing you could say was definitely forged.

There is certainly no method of telling the fakes that would be practical to use on a busy till, ridiculous really as even being in possession of one without knowing that it is a fake is against the law.

From my days in engineering I know it wouldn’t be difficult to manufacture ones that are exactly the same as the real thing, so here is the big question, what are you supposed to do if someone offers you a suspect pound coin?

Anonymous said...

One and a half percent if the TDC moles are to be believed I gather!

Tony Beachcomber said...

Micheal, all coins produced by the Royal Mint have to undergo a conductivity test.This ensures that vending machines will accept them as most vending machines use conductivity instead of just going by the weight. If they fail the test, the coins are scrapped and recently batches of £2 coins were rejected.The nickel brass alloy has to be very precise in one pound coins, plus the edge lettering has to be level all the way round if it is close to the edge or out of line the chances are a fake. I had to check out a batch of £800 recently and found 2 of the Forth Bridge design with the IRB queens head design which are the most common design found forged in the UK. A light tap with a hammer will mishap them and I had to destruct them. Forgers usually prefer coins that have a symetrical design such as the German 2 Euro coins which has an eagle on the back.Over the years most forged coins were cast and easily identified but now some are pressed on a factory style production which does cause a problem. The blanks for forged coins have been suspected of being produced in Italy,Bulgaria and China and exported illegally for finishing off by the big boys with the dies. The Chinese production of forged blanks for illegal export was believed to have been on a factory production scale.
The Chinese authorities didn't really put themselves out to track down the offenders until they started producing blanks for the Chinese Yuan.

Anonymous said...

anon again!

Were there not 2 Criminals jailed a few months back for producing £14,000,000 in pound coins!

Tony Beachcomber said...

Another indicator for a forged coin is how weak the coin is struck. The Royal Mint will change a punch and die after so many strikings to maintain the quality of a coin , they have many sets s as back up. Forgers probably have a limited amount of sets as they are expensive to produce and they will simply run the punch and die into the ground by using a worn die therefore producing weak strikings.