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Money: Counterfeit Coins

Volume 715: debated on Monday 7 December 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many counterfeit one pound and fifty pence coins they estimate are in circulation; and what steps they are taking to withdraw them. [HL143]

The most recent survey conducted by the Royal Mint found that its sample contained a £1 coin counterfeit rate of 2.52 per cent, or approximately £37 million.

The Royal Mint does not currently undertake regular surveys for other denominations. It is widely believed (by the Royal Mint, the Serious Organised Crime Agency and industry partners) that there is not a significant counterfeit issue with any other denominations.

The Royal Mint is working with banks, the Post Office, cash handling and sorting businesses, the police and the vending industry to remove counterfeit £1 coins from circulation before they reach the pockets of members of the public. Coin handling businesses, such as banks and the Post Office, handle over three billion £1 coins every year. They use high-speed, automated systems to process customer deposits and prepare coin for reissue. These automated systems are capable of detecting and withdrawing a significant number of counterfeit coins. All counterfeit coins detected from coin processing are sent to the Royal Mint for disposal.

The Royal Mint holds awareness seminars to educate the public and the coin handling industry on how to identify counterfeits, and has issued educational leaflets and posters.

The Royal Mint is also working with other validator and coin sorting manufacturers to help improve the counterfeit detection rate.