Store owners have been warned to be on the lookout for counterfeit £1 coins after the Royal Mint revealed that one in 36 pound coins are fake. This is up from last year’s figure of one in 40.
Nearly two million fraudulent pound coins have been returned to the Mint in the last financial year, more than 23 times the amount in 2003-04 when it first began collecting fake pound coins.
Retailers are advised to contact the Royal Mint or their local bank if they suspect a coin to be fraudulent, however a refund for the money handed in will not be given.
The Royal Mint warned retailers to look out for a poorly defined ribbed edge and an indistinct image of the Queen. They are also advised to check the alignment of the Queen’s head against the pattern on the reverse of the coin.
The increase prompted speculation that the coin could be re-issued given the level of forgeries in circulation.
Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell, who originally asked Treasury Economic Secretary Justine Greening about the amount of fake pound coins during a parliamentary question session, said the number of forgeries was "a genuine matter for concern".
"Clearly the one pound coin is something the Royal Mint needs to reconsider,” he said. “Even one in a hundred fake coins is too many.”
Former Royal Mint chief assayer Robert Matthews said: “If the number of fakes keeps increasing at this rate, there will have to come a point when the Treasury makes the decision whether to re-mint or not.”