£2 coins were introduced in 1998 to prevent against counterfeiting and were the first bi-metallic coins to enter circulation in the UK.
Made with two different metal components, £2 coins are very complicated to manufacture and very difficult to counterfeit… or so we believed.
As we know, 1 in 30 £1 coins are fake. The Royal Mint are so concerned, they’ll be introducing a new 12-sided £1 coin in March which is billed to become the most secure circulating coin in the world.
But, this means that counterfeiters are now turning their attention to the £2 coin.
To begin with, early £2 counterfeit coins were just a lump of led tin alloy, spray painted to look like a genuine £2 coin and were easy to tell apart from the real thing.
Now, they’re becoming a lot harder to spot, even by professionals. Some fake £2 coins are even being accepted in vending machines and car parking machines.
So how many fakes are out there and who’s responsible?
Fraudsters require a highly sophisticated press to produce bi-colour coins. It’s thought that there are hundreds of thousands of fake £2 coins in circulation and is definitely a form of organised crime.
Can you spot one?
There are a few simple ways to tell if you have a fake £2 coin. One of the most obvious ways to spot a fake is by comparing the quality of the writing on the edge inscription to a genuine coin and also checking that the edge inscription matches the design.
However there are still some fake £2 coins that pass the two tests above.
According to experts, fakes can usually be detected by the weight. Genuine £2 coins should weigh 12g, but these remarkable new counterfeit £2 coins are also weighing in at 12g.
Each UK denomination is made up of different compositions which are agreed between The Royal Mint and HM Treasury but the exact amount is kept top secret.
The only way to find out for definite if the coin is real or fake is for it to be x-rayed by a special machine which gives a reading of all the different elements that have gone into the coin.
So should we be increasing the security of the £2 coins to make it harder for them to be counterfeited?