02 October, 2008

How to tell if you have a fake pound coin

So, since the story hit the news a couple of weeks ago, I thought I would keep my eyes open and see if I ended up getting palmed off with one of the 30 million (or approximately 2%) fake pound coins that are reported to be in circulation...I had a few pass through my hands that were definitely a "maybe" (but I couldn't be 100% sure) until I happened to be lucky(?) enough to get two identically dated Welsh-themed year 2000 pound coins - comparing the two, it was immediately clear that they had some considerable differences (you can click these pictures to zoom in much further if you like, I took them at quite high res) -
Fake Pound Coin #1
Firstly - looking at the front, you can see the fake coin (on the right) is a much lighter colour, the face image isn't centred properly, and lots of the detail, including many of the little dots around the edge are either blurred or missing completely...
Fake Pound Coin #2
Next step, carefully spin the coin over, flip it horizontally without turning it at all (this is important) you can see a similar lack of detail to the front, but most tellingly, the front and back of the coin are not perfectly aligned, the fake coin is close, but it's definitely off by a few degrees...a classic sign of the amateur mint...
Fake Pound Coin #3
Thirdly, turn the coin on it's side and examine the edge, you can see that not only is the fake coin's text irregular (check out the giveaway tiny "S" in a slightly different font) and wonky, it's also not even Welsh! If you are in any doubt at all, you can check out which edge corresponds with which front here in the Royal Mint Design Portfolio...some are obvious, like this example, others not so, also make sure the text is good and deep, and the lines running all along the edge are clearly defined...

Now comes the difficult part...As an academic/investigative exercise I've successfully identified that I have been given a fake coin. However, this does now mean I will be guilty of commiting a crime if I go ahead and spend it...So I think the lesson learned here is, as long as it looks convincing enough at first glance (when you are handed it), don't bother looking too much further (I don't really want a pile of fake coins cluttering up the house)...Sometimes ignorance is bliss...

>:S

2 comments:

Flyingpops said...

I thought Car parking meters were the best place to dispose of dodgy coins!

¨°º©[ Fink ]©º°¨ said...

Well, if one is to follow the official line then vending machines should universally reject the fake ones...but if that is the case then about 60% of coins I have ever owned have been fake, rather than the 2% claimed... ;)