I have a new obsession. Since learning from the TV that 1 in 40 pound coins was a fake I have decided to make a study of any and all counterfeits that come my way.
This is the first; it was obtained, in change, from the local garage.
At first sight it looks like an ordinary pound coin, and the fakers did get some things right. Everything matches. The two sides are aligned properly and the picture on the tails side matches the date on the heads. Both match the inscription around the edge.
So far so good, but a closer look soon shows that it is not a genuine pound but a not so clever fake.
On both sides the impression is poor. The images, and particularly the writing, seem blurred, as though the letters are thicker than they ought to be, their edges less crisp.
Furthermore the stamping has been slightly misaligned. This can be seen on the heads side as a thinning of the edge on the top and a thickening below. There is also an obvious ridge, particularly noticeable at the bottom of the coin. Lastly there is some disruption of the circle of raised dots at the top of the coin.
The tails side suffers from the same problems. Here again can be seen the evidence of the uneven die strike. The ridge is particularly apparent at the top of the coin.
The most obvious evidence of fakery comes on the edge of the coin. Although it carries the correct inscription 'Decus et Tutamen', it is badly printed, the lettering unclear and too close to the top of the coin. When placed against a genuine coin (below) it can be seen that the letters are not spaced correctly, the word 'Decus' taking up more space on the fake than on the genuine coin. It is not clear from the photo, but the top edge also shows signs of filing and smoothing.
Conclusion - Obvious fake.
It was returned to its proud owner and has probably returned to the garage by now.
Such are the cycles of life.