Sunday, September 6, 2009

Not a victimless crime.

A shopkeeper recently rejected a pound coin proffered by a family member.

Estimates vary but somewhere between 1% & 2% of one pound coins in circulation are believed to be fake - up to 1 in 50 - if this is the case then we must have cheerfully successfully passed on a great many in complete ignorance. This is the first one that we've been aware of.

A little research revealed the salient characteristics of a forgery:

The obverse and reverse (heads and tails to you and I) change from year to year - often the year on the dud does not match the faces - this one is correct however.

The faces are often out of alignment - if the obverse is vertical then the reverse should be as well. This one is OK here also.

The most common mistake is that the Cross showing the start and end of the edge inscription is missing as it is here (fake on top). Why this should be I'm not sure - the cross has serifs and may be hard to do.

The font in the inscription is woeful - look at the S in DECUS in particular. I guess the forger has literacy problems and can't see the difference between these letters as they dance in front of his dyslexic eyes.

The faces are slightly off centre.

The metal is not magnetic, and is much the same weight and hardness (neither coin will scratch the other) but most astonishing of all - the fake has corroded.

What to do with it now? It would be fun to eBay it and see what it's worth as a declared forgery. Unhappily eBay will not allow this.

Passing it on via a parking meter would be kind of fun too - but it will surely eventually end up in an old ladies purse and she'll be unhappy to pass it on and so end up a quid short. Best bin it I suppose.

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