Help DeskValuations

Forgery of a George III shilling

Michael Ruczynski contacted me about the high number of forgeries of George III silver coins dating from the 1816 to 1820 period. Mike said that in 46 years of detecting he had unearthed 16 genuine coins and 15 base metal forgeries.

In my experience there were more forgeries made between 1816 and 1820 than almost any other period in British history. Most if not all of these were made in Birmingham, which was a major centre for the production of a very wide range of buttons, some of which were embellished with complicated imagery. Some of the people who made buttons seem to have had a side-line in making fake coins. An example from Mike’s collection is illustrated here.

I’ve only been involved with detecting for a much shorter period than Mike but I have unearthed 17 shillings and two halfcrowns – all fakes and all of the 1816-20 period. They are all struck from very well produced dies but all are base metal. When first made they would be tinned or silver-plated and must have been a nightmare for small traders. In terms of genuine coins of the 1816-20 period I have 3 shillings and 2 sixpences.

I have more fakes but fewer genuine coins than Mike, who is based in Berkshire. I’m based in Yorkshire so that could mean that more fakes and fewer genuine coins circulated in my county than in Mike’s.     

The other coin copied in huge numbers was the modern £1 coin. This was replaced fairly recently by a new £1 coin, which was designed in such a way that made it far more difficult to copy.

Valuation Service

If you would like your coin identified or valued, please read about my valuation service and contact me

1 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments