Paid in false coin

15 Feb

One in every 36 British pound coins is fake.  This is a fairly shocking number: that’s about 41 million pounds (64 million dollars!) worth of counterfeit money in circulation.  BBC news has some articles discussing how to spot fake coins.  There are detailed sites helping individuals identify fake coinage.  It’s gotten so bad, apparently some people have floated the idea of reminting the pound.

It was only a matter of time before we received a counterfeit coin during a commercial transaction.  I know to look for misaligned front and back designs, incorrect printing on the sides of the coins, poor workmanship, differences in weight … but what do you do, right at that moment when you think you are being given a counterfeit coin?  I, of course, took it so I could show the kids and take photos.

Which is the counterfeit coin?  Can you guess which one I suspect?

I should note that I don’t *know* that the coin is counterfeit for sure — but I haven’t found a coin machine that will accept it yet.  I’m taking that, along with my observations and my one in 36 chance of picking one up eventually, as proof.


12 Responses to “Paid in false coin”

  1. Sarah Scott February 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    Oooh! I love this post! I did NOT know that fact!! I am guessing…the one on the right is the fake. I bet your coin loving son loves this factoid too! Is he keeping the fake for his collection? xo

    • Monique February 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

      Yes! Since it’s a criminal offence to knowingly pass on a counterfeit coin we will now be collecting them!

  2. Jeanne February 15, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    We’re used to getting Canadian coins here in Ohio, and a lot of people will accept them without noticing. The other day, though, I got what turned out to be a South African coin worth about 26 cents and tried to pass it as a quarter. The cashier wouldn’t accept it, and that’s when we looked it up to see what it was. Still have no idea where it came from.

    • Monique February 15, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

      I think the SA rand is (or was) famously frequently forged? So numerous were the forgeries they ended up in Ohio??!

  3. Tesni February 15, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

    I’ve had fake pound coins over the years but they aren’t too much of an issue, as shop cashiers take them without analysing them anyway. It’s bad that they are technically worthless but I’d imagine most people would rather send them back into circulation rather than be a pound short if they were given a fake as change.

    • Monique February 15, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

      Oh my gosh, one out of 36 faked not an issue? That’s a lot of money!

  4. Zazzy February 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    Well the middle one looks different to me. I was going to say that having such very different designs in circulation must make it harder to spot – then I remembered the 50 different state quarters and I guess they’ve added colonies or something, too. I wonder if 1 in 36 is fairly typical around the world or really high. I found a source that said 3028 people were arrested in the US in 2011 for counterfeiting but that doesn’t really help me compare.

    • Monique February 15, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

      It’s really high. In contrast about 3 dollars in every 10,000 USD is forged. According to Google. =)

      • Zazzy February 15, 2012 at 11:52 pm #

        Your research is better than mine!

  5. krisgal February 29, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    Interesting! I’m so pleased to know this. I’m going to be checking every pound coin that I receive for the rest of my life now! I have no idea which coin is the fake. They all look totally legit. I’m dying to know, which one is it???

  6. Monique March 1, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    To follow up … I don’t know for sure, but I suspect the one on the far right is counterfeit. It is a different weight from the other coins, the two faces don’t line up, it is rejected by coin machines, and it just looks sort of poorly done. So, still a mystery, but observation suggests the one on the right is the false coin!

  7. Hester Crothers April 30, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    I was always told that a true coin will have writing around the circumference whilst forgeries just have a ribbed pattern or nuffink. All you have to do is check the edge. Useful knowledge, no?

    And no, neither of my parents work at the Mint, I just watch an unhealthy amount of QI.

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