The number of fake £1 coins in circulation appears to have doubled in the past five years, it was reported yesterday.
The results of a sampling test by the Royal Mint, obtained by the BBC, show that up to 2 per cent of all pound coins in circulation may be fake – approximately 30 million coins.
The last time sampling results were released was in 2003, when the number of forged £1 coins was estimated at 1 per cent. The BBC said it means that one in every 50 of the £1 coins in circulation was counterfeit.
Robert Matthews, formerly the Queen’s Assay Master until he retired to become a coin consultant four years ago, said confidence in coins collapsed in other countries when forgery rates reached similar levels.
The Royal Mint said: “The survey consists of taking a random sample of coins from across the country and subjecting them to individual analytical inspection.”