4/8/09 11:18 am - if an egg-n-a-half and a maid-n-a-half - half a mo', auntie beeb: News at 11: the end of the ukL?
the beeb's radio news round-up/headlines've been darkly foreboding, regarding the state of the "thatcher", or pound coin (sterling): apparently, coin-testers sampling the intake of vending-machines have reported that one coin in twenty is a dud, fake or forgery.
the beeb's take on this is that one in twenty pound coins in circulation may be forgeries.
but half a mo', auntie beeb - is this quite the right way to spin this particular golden thread?
should you be so unfortunate as to notice a dud pound coin in your change [a] too late to refuse it, what can you do with it?
legally, you are required to surrender forged notes and coins to the bank of england (normally via your own, or another, bank or post office); the bank's receptionist or teller should thank you for your public-spiritedness, though this is optional, and accept your private-enterprise thatcher.
which leaves you out of pocket or purse one pound - or more, depending.
alternatively, though not legally, you may attempt to pass it on in turn, by spending it. however, should they discover your malfeasance, your victims and, for some reason, hmq lizzie II, her ministers and officials, including the police also take a dim view of this, and it was historically an offence - one which sir isaac newton found to be of great gravity - and subject to the death penalty.
not only might feeding slot-machines and one-armed bandits with them seem somewhat safer, therefore, and less liable to immediate execution of sentence, but it's also potentially quite lucrative, if that which is obtained from the may be sold on for significantly more than the cost of the forgeries..
the more likely correct interpretation of the statistic is surely
[a] - they're generally made of lead, which doesn't take so sharp an image, so they tend to be a bit "blurry" in detail; and the brassy colour is but a very thin skin: so a scratch will reveal the initially grey-silvery base metal below (though this oxidises to the duller grey of litharge)