2% of British pound coins are counterfeit according to research

Monday, September 22, 2008

Research has found that approximately two per cent of British pound coins in circulation are counterfeit, since the number of fake £1 coins has doubled in the past five years. This means approximately 30 million of these fake coins are currently in circulation.

File:Euro coins version II.png

The Euro has a considerably lower percentage of counterfeit coins in circulation than the British pound
Image: European Central Bank.
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

Despite these large increases, the Royal Mint has claimed that these figures show "a comparatively low incidence of counterfeit coins by international monetary standards." Other people, however, disagree with the mint's assessment.

Robert Matthews, a coin consultant who was formerly the Queen's Assay master expressed his disagreement with the opinion of the Royal Mint to BBC News Online. "In 2004, people started refusing to take the South African 5 Rand coin, due to concerns about the number of counterfeits, and eventually the coin had to be redesigned and re-circulated," he pointed out. "Independent surveys showed the number of counterfeits to be 2% - the same as we've got here - and I'm worried that if we're not careful the same thing will happen to the pound coin."

It is illegal to make or use counterfeited coins, according to the Royal Mint, who said that all people who believe they are in possession of a fake must hand it in.

In comparison, the Euro has been estimated as having less than 0.1% counterfeit coins among the circulation of 50c, €1 and €2 coins.