Colin's Cornucopia

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Coin Collecting

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Troughton sketch

Spot the differences
The two coins shown above show the Forth Bridge. The one on the left is genuine and that on the right is fake - it has the wrong date on the other side. But when viewed under a microscope the differences on this side are numerous.
1. The fake has a pronounced lattice-work under the first arch.
2. The circular railway on the fake is much less pronounced.
3. The left hand top beam has much detail on the genuine coin.
4. The top beam is visible through the access arch but not on the fake.
5. The left hand lattice on the approach is much more detailed on the genuine article.
6. There is a ship or object under the central arch, missing on the fake.
7. The pile of stones in the foreground touches the first pier but not on the fake.
8. Some of the uprights on the far side of the first span are visible on the genuine but not on the fake.
9. The deck carrying the rail track is missing from the fake.
10. The stones in the foreground are quite different.

The font on the 'ONE POUND' is fairly good but not quite right. It needs a ruler applied to see it but the railway track has not the right width. In addition, some of the edge characters are not quite right and nearly run off the blank in one place.

Troughton sketch

On the Obverse
The date on the fake is 2008 and should be 2004. The font is not bad and the differences could be due to wear but the finials look doubtful.  The head has nearly the correct dimensions and placing and the crown is not bad. The hair style is almost completely different but of more-or-less the correct profile. The real facial features actually look a bit like the Queen while the fake looks like a zombie.

The designation IRB under the Queen's head on the genuine coin is matched on the fake but is very faint and seems to say 'squiggle R8'. The characters are protected by the Queen's head so are unlikely to have suffered severe wear. Under much higher magnification the font on the fake has rounded finials while the genuine ones are sharp and pointed.

Something between 1 and 3 percent of one-pound coins are fake and the Royal mint is shortly to introduce a new two-colour design to help prevent forgery.

7th November 2014

Colin Walker

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