A British company whose business it is to check coins for authenticity says there may be twice as many circulating counterfeit one pound coins than thought. -Editor The number of fake pound coins in circulation may be twice Royal Mint estimates, the BBC has learned.
Official figures suggest around 2.5% - or one in 40 - are copies, but coin testing companies say it is one in 20.
Andy Brown of Willings, a firm which makes machines to check coins for other businesses and organisations, says there could be 73 million fake coins.
He said: "We would estimate that as many as 5% of coins we test are fakes.
"We've been collating them for the past four months or so, and already have a collection of several hundred."
The figures quoted by the Royal Mint were wide of the mark, he added.
A fake pound coin (right) alongside the real thing
Former Queen's Assay Master Robert Matthews - a leading authority on fake coins - is also worried.
He said: "The Mint is really trying to play down the problem and keep it as low-key as possible.
"They've not produced any publicity material for banks etc to tell us how to differentiate between real and fake coins.
"They don't want to undermine public confidence in the coins, you might get people refusing to take them."
Mr Brown believes the Royal Mint's official figures on the number of fake coins will continue to rise.
"Their percentage will go up as they get better at detecting fakes," he said.
To read the complete article, see: Fake £1 coin estimate 'doubled' (news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7988001.stm)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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