The one-pound counterfeit coin files Robert Matthews Coin Authentication

The United Kingdom one-pound coin has been counterfeited almost since it was introduced in 1983. This group of files attempts to give information on the genuine coin and details of some of the various counterfeit coins and counterfeit cases involving the pound coin. No claim is made that the files include all types of counterfeit one-pound coins. Much of the material has been obtained from published sources; wherever possible the sources of the material have been acknowledged.

The pages of this group of files contain a number of images. For those without a fast broadband connection these may require patience while they download.

There is much more material to be added to these files. Future material will include: explaining the edge lettering measurements used and the type NP counterfeits. For the latest news on UK counterfeiting see the Counterfeit Coin Newsletter, an index of recent articles on UK counterfeiting is at CCN Index

Coin Information

The one-pound coin


One-pound reverse designs used
 in the first twenty years

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The one-pound coin is a relatively small, chunky coin made from nickel brass. The legal and Royal Mint factory specifications of the coin are noted below. The nickel brass is a 5.5% nickel alloy. This alloy is a pale yellow colour and is distinctive from the straw yellow of most binary brass alloys.

The one-pound counterfeit coin files

1.0 The types of counterfeit one-pound coins and identifying them.

2.0 The lead alloy counterfeits
2.1 The "Big Issue" exposé April 1996
2.2 "Bellshill Counterfeiters", 1999
2.3 "Heckmondewicke Counterfeiters", 2000
2.4 Examples of lead/tin alloy counterfeits

3.0 The brass counterfeits
3.1 Operation Merlin
3.2 The "Fruit machine scam"
3.3 The Mushroom Farm
3.4 Marcus Glindon

3.4.1 Examples of binary brass alloy counterfeits:
A type I counterfeit

3.4.2 Examples of leaded brass counterfeits:
A type XX counterfeit
A type XXI counterfeit
The type LA counterfeits

3.4.3 Other brass alloy counterfeits:
A type I counterfeit in a different alloy

UK One-pound Coin Specification

Parameter Nominal Tolerance
Diameter 22.5mm + or - 0.1mm
Weight 9.50g + or - 0.05g [as an average per coin of one kilogramme]

+ or - 0.238g [individual coin tolerance]*

Edge thickness 3.15mm* + or - 0.15mm*
Composition Copper: 70.0%
Nickel: 5.5%
+ or - 2.0%
+ or - 0.75%
+ or - 2.0%

[*indicates a Royal Mint factory tolerance rather than a legal tolerance]



The coin designs

The one-pound coin obverse design is the traditional profile of the monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. Four portraits of Queen Elizabeth II have been used since the coronation in 1953. Three of these have occurred on the one-pound coin. The reverse design of the coin changes every year in a five-year cycle of designs representing the United Kingdom, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. In the first two cycles the same plant designs were used except for the United Kingdom's design. In the next two cycles designs based on heraldic representation of the individual countries were used. Currently a cycle of famous bridges is being used.

To see a larger reproduction of the images below, click on the image and use your browser back arrow to return to this page.

The Ensigns Amorial of the UK, reverse design

The reverse design showing, "The Ensigns Amorial of the UK".

The obverse designs used on the one-pound coin

The obverse designs used on the one-pound coin.

The 2004 reverse design

The 2004 reverse design showing the Forth Bridge.

The 2005 reverse design

The 2005 reverse design showing the Menai Straights Bridge.

The edge on the

The edge on the "Bridges" reverse design coins.

DATE OBVERSE DESIGN BY REVERSE DESIGN EDGE LETTERING No. of coins issued to general circulation
1983Arnold MachinEnsigns Amorial of UKDECUS ET TUTAMEN + 443.1 million
1984Arnold MachinScottish ThistleNEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT + 146.3 million
1985R.D.MakloufWelsh LeekPLEIDIOL WYF I'M GWLAD + 228.4 million
1986R.D.MakloufN.Irish FlaxDECUS ET TUTAMEN + 10.4 million
1987R.D.MakloufEnglish OakDECUS ET TUTAMEN + 39.3 million
1988R.D.MakloufRoyal ShieldDECUS ET TUTAMEN + 7.1 million
1989R.D.MakloufScottish ThistleNEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT + 70.6 million
1990R.D.MakloufWelsh LeekPLEIDIOL WYF I'M GWLAD + 97.3 million
1991R.D.MakloufN.Irish FlaxDECUS ET TUTAMEN + 38.4million
1992R.D.MakloufEnglish OakDECUS ET TUTAMEN + 36.3 miilion
1993R.D.MakloufEnsigns Amorial of UKDECUS ET TUTAMEN + 114.7 miilion
1994R.D.MakloufScottish Lion RampantNEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT + 29.8 million
1995R.D.MakloufWelsh DragonPLEIDIOL WYF I'M GWLAD + 34.5 million
1996R.D.MakloufN.Irish Celtic CrossDECUS ET TUTAMEN + 89.9 million
1997R.D.MakloufEnglish Three LionsDECUS ET TUTAMEN + 57.1 million
1998Ian Rank-BroadleyEnsigns Amorial of UKDECUS ET TUTAMEN + zero
1999Ian Rank-BroadleyScottish Lion RampantNEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT + zero
2000Ian Rank-BroadleyWelsh DragonPLEIDIOL WYF I'M GWLAD + 109.5 million
2001Ian Rank-BroadleyN.Irish Celtic CrossDECUS ET TUTAMEN + 58.1 million
2002Ian Rank-BroadleyEnglish Three LionsDECUS ET TUTAMEN + 77.8 million
2003Ian Rank-BroadleyEnsigns Amorial of UKDECUS ET TUTAMEN + 40.6 million
2004Ian Rank-BroadleyForth BridgeNo edge lettering, instead an " incuse decorative feature symbolising bridges & pathways"? 39.1 million
2005Ian Rank-BroadleyMenai Straits BridgeNo edge lettering, instead an
"incuse decorative feature symbolising bridges & pathways"?
99.4 million
2006Ian Rank-BroadleyEgyptian Arch Bridge, NewryNo edge lettering, instead an
"incuse decorative feature symbolising bridges & pathways"?
39.9 million
2007Ian Rank-BroadleyMillenium Bridge, Newcastle/GatesheadNo edge lettering, instead an
"incuse decorative feature symbolising bridges & pathways"?
15.5 million

The one-pound coin die axis is ↑↑. The edge lettering is randomly aligned. During manufacture the edge lettering is impressed on to the coin blank prior to striking in the coin press. The feed mechanism in the press presents the edge-lettered blanks to the coin dies randomly. During striking the collar imparts the fine millings on the edge of the coin. This means that on genuine coins there should be no evidence of these millings at the base of the impressions made by the lettering.

Copyright Robert Matthews 2009

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Coin Information


This page was last updated in December 2009