3.4.1 Examples of binary brass alloy counterfeit one-pound coins

Binary brass alloys occur commonly in the general engineering industry. So it is perhaps not surprising that, at least since the early 1990's, a small number of counterfeit one-pound coins have been found made of this material.

A type I counterfeit


The faces of
 the P14 counterfeit one-pound coin

The faces of the P14 one-pound coin. Note the partially worn away white coating.

This coin has been categorised as a type I coin. This is mainly because it appears to have the same edge type as D.J.Cane's edge I. It should be noted that Cane described the three counterfeits he had examined with this type of edge as having been made from an orange-yellow alloy and coated or toned to disguise this colour. This counterfeit certainly had a coating but the author would not have described the underlying alloy as orange-yellow.

This example was identified in the English Midlands in 1999. It had a 1996 obverse with the "Ensigns Amorial" reverse. This means it was a mule as the 1996 obverse should be matched with the "Celtic Cross" reverse. The alignment between the two faces was significantly incorrect. It is the author's opinion that this counterfeit was produced by striking.



The main characteristic of this type is the large distance between the edge lettering words of DECUS and ET. A secondary identifier is the endings of the top elements of the cross finishing with "blobs" rather than crossed crosses.

Obverse Reverse Edge Weight Diameter Edge Thickness Alignment
1996 Ensigns Amorial DECUS ET TUTAMEN + 9.626g N/S 22.68mm
E/W 22.67mm
3.00-3.3.10mm 10.0 o'clock

Edge Lettering distances

Identity A B C D E F G H I
Genuine 1996 £1 coin 7.4mm 8mm 14.7mm 6.6mm 4.7mm 5mm 18.5mm 6.6mm 7.9mm
Coin P14 5mm 5.4mm 12.1mm 14mm 3.9mm 5.9mm 17.1mm 6.2mm 7.2mm


Coin P14, photograph of the counterfeit edge showing DECUS

The DECUS of the counterfeit's edge lettering.

Coin P14, showing the large distance between DECUS and ET

There was an abnormally large distance between DECUS and ET on the counterfeit's edge.

Coin P14, photograph edge showing ET

The ET of the counterfeit's edge lettering.

Coin P14, showing part of the TUTAMEN of the edge lettering

The E of the TUTAMEN of the edge lettering appeared set above the preceding M.

Coin P14, photograph of the counterfeit edge showing the cross

The cross on the counterfeit's edge ends in blobs rather than cross crosslets.

Cross on a genuine 1983 one-pound coin

The cross on the edge lettering of this type of counterfeit is very different from the cross on a genuine coin from 1983 [see left]. Unfortunately the quality of the cross on the coins produced by the Royal Mint has deteriorated. So that the cross on a genuine 1997 coin [see below left] is often only marginally different from that on the counterfeit shown.

Cross on a genuine 1997 one-pound coin


The obverse of this counterfeit had a defect on its left hand table [see below]. This defect was considered a manufacturing defect but not one that would reoccur in exactly the same position.

Coin P14, showing obverse defect

The counterfeit had a defect on left hand side of the obverse table.

Coin P14, showing an enlargement of the obverse defect

An enlargement of the obverse defect.

This edge lettering type has been found in a counterfeit made with a different grade of brass, see coin P17.

Copyright Robert Matthews 2006

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This page was last updated in February 2006