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|Counterfeits and Forgeries|
Previously, it was widely believed that the two pound coin, being bimetallic (partly in order to deter counterfeiting), would be too difficult and expensive to forge convincingly enough for it to be worthwhile for a counterfeiter to mass produce, especially when the monometallic pound coin is much cheaper and easier to manufacture from simple brass blanks in order to circulate as currency.
An Interesting Discovery...
However, this morning, our resident assistant numismatist discovered a fake two pound in his change, just as he was about to buy a newspaper with it. The specimen itself appears to have been cast or struck on a single cast flan, and then artificially worn to reduce the obviously 'unusual' looking bubbled surface it would have had when newly-made. It is monometallic, made from a silvery-white metal that has been coated on the outer-fringes to give the appearance of being bimetallic and some of this coating has spilled over into the centre flan through carelessness. The coating itself has also started to wear off, exposing the underlying metal. The lack of an edge-inscription further condemns this two pound piece as a fake, as does the weight, which at 12.835 grams, is slightly heavier than the usual 12 grams. (Interestingly, when I put this fake in various people's hands and told them it was fake, one of the most common comments was that it 'felt lighter' than a genuine coin).
Why Create This Counterfeit?
A counterfeit manufactured for the purposes of circulating as currency only has to be good enough to change hands a few times before it becomes almost impossible to trace back to its source.This particular specimen is clearly not the most convincing fake we have ever seen, but was obviously just good enough even for a coin specialist to accept it in his change when he wasn't paying much attention! We don't yet fully understand why counterfeiters would be turning to forging two pound coins when we would have thought it would be easier and more worthwhile to focus on one pound coins. The only reason we can think of is that it is becoming more widely known that many fake pound coins are in circulation, and hence are subject to greater scrutiny, whereas the two-pound coin is assumed not to be a target for counterfeiters and people are therefore more complacent about accepting them.
Whatever the reason, it now seems prudent to assume that few, if any denominations are truly safe from the attentions of the counterfeiter, and it would be wise for people to check their change even more carefully to avoid getting ripped off.
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