The history of counterfeit money is as old as currency itself and, despite the use of the most sophisticated modern technology, the battle still persists today between the banks and the fraudsters.
There was almost £30m worth of fake “round” £1 coins in circulation at the time the new 12-sided £1 was introduced in March 2017.
So what are mints doing to counter the counterfeiters?
The Royal Mint launched the 12-sided £1 under the label of ‘the most secure coin in the world’.
Having 12 sides makes it immediately harder to copy than a round coin and it’s struck from two metals – nickel-brass on the outside and nickel-plated solid alloy on the inside. This, combined with the 12 sides, is what the Government believes will be the key security feature.
But The Royal Mint didn’t stop there in their quest to make it impossible to counterfeit.
They also added hidden electromagnetic signatures, milled edges (grooves in the side of the coin) and secret images etched into the coin that are only visible when held into the light.
Now, The Royal Canadian Mint has provided a glimpse into the future of minting by releasing an actual set of test coins showcasing up-and-coming minting innovations.
Here’s what they look like and the security features trialled on each “coin”:
The product of tri-metal technology, this token has an outer ring of brass plated steel. The reverse features a maple leaf on a nickel-plated steel insert, and the obverse features the Royal Canadian Mint’s logo on a copper-plated steel insert.
Crafted from multi-ply plated steel, the token includes raised and incused beads. The reverse features raised and incused maple leaves above the image of a moose as well as micro text.
Crafted from multi-ply plated steel, the token includes raised and incused beads. The reverse features raised and incused maple leaves above the image of a caribou. As an added security feature, micro text is hidden in the animal’s fur and gives shape to the maple leaf above the caribou’s neck.
This token has various micro text in the shape of a pie chart on the obverse and the reverse.
Crafted from brass-plated steel, the token includes raised and incused beads. Both sides feature a circular pattern of raised and incused maple leaves that surround the Royal Canadian Mint’s logo.
Crafted from multi-ply nickel-plated steel, the token includes raised and incused beads. Both sides feature a circular pattern of raised and incused maple leaves that surround the Royal Canadian Mint’s logo.
Sold out at the Mint
This fascinating set didn’t take long to sell out its 10,000 edition limit – perhaps the counterfeiters bought some for research purposes…
If you’re interested
Very few of these sets would have made it to the UK before the total sell-out, but I have 25 available on a first-come, first-served basis for just £95.