The counterfeiting of circulating coins is rare in comparison with paper money counterfeiting, but as higher-denominations coins have appeared, so have the fakes. Last summer we discussed fake one-pound coins circulating in England. This week a report from London (Ontario) notes that suspected counterfeit Canadian $2 coins have been seen and submitted to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The $1 coin depicts a Loon and is called a "Loonie". The $2 coins acquired the nickname "Toonie". -EditorEven the humble toonie isn't immune from counterfeiters.
A suspected counterfeit $2 coin, the first reported in London, turned up in a vending machine at a plant in the city earlier this month.
Martin Hodgson, a vice-president at Williams Form Hardware on Industrial Road, became suspicious when a toonie jammed a pop machine inside the plant.
A collector, Hodgson said the toonie didn't get past the magnetic sensors in the vending machine because it wasn't magnetic like the real coin.
He said the toonie didn't look or sound real, and he suspects it's made of aluminum.
"It was too shiny and it sounded different when you dropped it on a desk -- sort of a clunking sound," he said.
The suspect toonie appeared slightly thicker than normal and the engraving was a bit sloppy when examined under a microscope, Hodgson said.
He called London police, who sent the toonie to an RCMP counterfeit lab in Ottawa for testing.
About 800 fake coins from across the country have been turned in to the RCMP lab in Ottawa during the past year, Laporte said.
Cpl. Elaine Laverne of the Quebec RCMP says a few other small counterfeit coin operations have been investigated in the province.
Laporte said the RCMP considers counterfeit coins a "rare" problem compared to fake bank notes, because of the machinery and expertise required and the much lower profit margins.
"They are so costly to produce it can outweigh the profit. It's not like making $100 bills" said Laporte.
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Wayne Homren, Editor
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