A record amount of fake £1 coins are thought to be in circulation, prompting fears that a reissue could be the only solution.
According to figures a whopping 41 million pound coins in the UK are fake, equalling to around one out of every 36. This is up from last year when it was suspected that one in 40 coins were fake, and sources suggest that the figure has tripled in the last decade.
Now, UK politicians and money experts have hinted that the amount of fakes is simply too much, damaging consumer and retailer confidence in the vital coin. The millions of small retailers who operate throughout the UK are the most affected by such fakes as the money will not be refunded to them by the banks.
The forgery numbers were highlighted by Justine Greening, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, in a report handed to Tory MP Andrew Rosindell. Mr Rosindell said the fakes are “a genuine matter for concern.”
Rosindell went on to talk about the effects fake coins have on the economy: “This has a huge effect on confidence in our currency. Clearly the one pound coin is something the Royal Mint needs to reconsider. Even one in a hundred fake coins is too many. The effect on consumers has to be a major consideration. If you take it to the shop that gives it to you they may replace it on trust, but they don't have to. A lot of people have lost out because of this. I hope that the Government will look at it more deeply”.
Experts now suggest that there may be no option but to initiate a costly reissue. Robert Matthews, former Royal Mint bigwig and the UK’s foremost authority on coin testing, said: “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.”
If the £1 coin was to be reminted then the Government, already struggling with a huge deficit, would be faced with another huge cost to add to its collection. A spokesman for the Treasury said: “Any level of counterfeiting is a matter of concern and the Government takes it extremely seriously. Maintaining confidence in our currency is of paramount importance and we continue to keep our actions in response to counterfeiting under constant review.”