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who wants to bother the police with a matter so seemingly trivial as a duff coin? This being the case most people will quickly pass the coin to the next poor soul and so on and so forth—hence the estimated 30 million that are out there — no one wants to take them out of circulation as no-one really wants to be out of pocket and, unlike a counterfeit £20 or £50 note, these things are relatively easy to pass on, and it’s unlikely that you’ll receive much more than a rebuke if you do.
Just why the forgers bother with £1 coins in the first place is something of a mystery. With the price of all metals skyrocketing it’s a wonder there is any profit in this crime at all, but apparently there is and so we’re sure to see these things around for some time to come. But the other wonder is the dreadful lack of attention to detail that they’ve applied to their work. Forgers of notes go to great lengths to ensure every tiny detail of the original is replicated; forgers of £1 coins just don’t seem that bothered and the errors outlined above are commonplace! And it’s that that is the real point of this comment.
The recent radio and TV interviews, and to a lesser extent the newspaper and website pieces, served not only to highlight the fact that there were millions of £1 coins out there that were a “bit dodgy”, but also the staggering ignorance of many people when it comes to what they should actually have in their pockets in the first place—an ignorance that I have actually experienced myself on more than one occasion recently with the new reverse designs, which are now beginning to get into circulation.
During one radio interview Philip was asked to give his opinion on a couple of coins that listeners had rung in about. One lady described the coin she had as being “different” from usual with a “different picture of the Queen” on and the word “Gibraltar” on it. She wanted to know if it was real or not. Another one couldn’t understand why she had £1 coins with different “heads” on. The fact that one was from 1983, one from 1996 and one from 2002 didn’t register with her at all. To give him his due Philip didn’t simply give a huge sigh, as many of us would, but carefully and patiently explained what to all of us is blooming obvious! But the fact remains that these listeners, and undoubtedly millions of others out there, just didn’t know what their £1 coins were meant to look like. So no wonder the forgers can get away with putting out rubbishy fakes. The trouble is, what to do about it? I mentioned the ignorance of the new designs: whilst out shopping in the past month I have been witness to at least three occasions when a new coin with the 2008 design was handed