With 1 in 30 of the old £1 coins estimated to be counterfeit, operators hoped that the new £1 would bring more security to the industry’s ‘golden coin’. For a moment this looked in doubt, but the Royal Mint quickly reassured the potential counterfeit was merely a misprint.
The reportedly forged example of a new £1 coin is in fact the result of a production glitch, the Royal Mint has admitted, after studying images of the coin.
Last week a charity worker claimed he had found a fake version of the new £1 coin, described by the issuing authority as “the most secure” in the world.
Roy Wright believed his partner was given the counterfeit coin in change when shopping at a Co-op store in Surrey after he identified little differences with the original one.
“The coin is completely different and is more rounded around the edge,” Wright told the Sun. “There is clearly space between the engraving lines, it’s a different size, the Queen’s head is to the left, and there is no detail of the head of the thistle – it’s just a blob. The stem of the coin has got no detail on it, there are a lot of things wrong with it.”
Wright added that the coin was heavier and had no hologram, distinguishing itself from the Royal Mint’s official design.
The implications of a widespread forgery of the new £1 would spell trouble for an industry that endearingly labels it as the ‘golden coin’, however the issuing authority responded to the claim, saying it hasn’t had further reports of fake 12- sided coins, but that the small variances are likely the result of a manufacturing glitch.
“We are not aware of any counterfeits entering circulation but welcome the public’s caution,” the Royal Mint commented. “The organisation produces around five billion coins each year, and will be striking 1.5bn new £1 coins in total. As you would expect, we have tight quality controls in place, however variances will always occur in a small number of coins, particularly in the striking process, due to the high volumes and speed of production.”
Numismatist Dominic Chorney of coin dealer A.H. Baldwin & Sons agreed with the Mint’s assessment of a ‘mis-strike’, telling The Telegraph the clue lay in the fact that multiple elements of the coin are out of alignment. “The coin appears to be a ‘mis-strike’, meaning it is a genuine coin which has become misaligned during the striking process,” he said.
Previous printing errors have led to coins becoming sought-after, fetching prices far above their face value, which has also been the case for more than 200,000 trial coins issued to amusements manufacturers and other businesses in preparation for the official release.
Despite the Royal Mint making clear that these coins don’t have legal tender status, and have no redeemable value, collectors are now eager to get their hands on them.
There are also penalties on businesses for losing possession of their trial coins, which may be part of the reason why bidding for the trial coins on eBay is starting at between £150 and £250, with some selling for up to £6,000.