Design errors, poorly defined edging and extra shiny surfaces have been named by the Royal Mint as things to look out for when trying to identify a counterfeit one pound coin, telegraph.co.uk reports.
The advice comes after a Royal Mint survey established that an astonishing three in every 100 pound coins are fake. Tracking levels of counterfeit coins, the bi-annual survey found that three per cent of all pound coins in circulation are forgeries - a worrying increase of three million in just nine months. The Royal Mint now estimates that some 44 million coins are fake.
Keen to point out that using such a coin is breaking the law, the Royal Mint has issued some tips on how to spot a counterfeit coin. They include scrutinising the precision engraving on the coin's surface for uneven lettering or mistakes in dates and designs on either side.
Another tip is to look for a 'poorly defined ribbed edge', while a coin that appears 'too shiny' for its issue date might well be a fake. Using common sense is key - if the coin doesn't look quite right, then it probably isn't.
The Royal Mint claims to take forgery very seriously but the rate at which the fakes are circulating is cause for concern. Assay Master (senior coin tester) Robert Matthews told This Is Money: "If the number of fakes keeps increasing at this rate, there will have to come a point when the Treasury makes the decision whether to remint or not."