View Full Version : Defacing the coinage

27th Mar 2014, 08:33
Laws against defacing the coinage most probably go back to Roman times, when coins actually had an intrinsic value and chipping bits off the edge was frowned upon. Be interested in getting opinions on their applicability when applied to coins that have been declared no longer in circulation or those from different countries.

I have some Australian 2c coins and some UK 10p coins, plus others - DM's & francs. My plan is to drill small holes in the centre of each - about 1.5-2mm dia. Then tap a tightly fitting nail into the hole, cut off most of the nail leaving about 5mm. Coat them with a clear epoxy, so producing some very original golf ball green markers.

Before I do thought it worth asking whether I would be in breach of any law.

27th Mar 2014, 08:40
You could always say you found them like that, but why not just use the coin as it is as a marker? I use a UK 20p coin, smaller than a 10p, and in my experience they don't move.

27th Mar 2014, 08:58
Technically, defacing the 2c coin would be naughty, in Oz but dont think any one would be worried about it as they basically have no value unless there are lots of them. They arent really considered as coin of the realm any more. Shops certainly wouldnt want them.

As for furriner coins, dont think that would be a problem as they would have no value, even to the bank.

tony draper
27th Mar 2014, 08:58
I remember a band in the sixties The Four Pennies?getting into a lot of trouble for having cufflinks made out of pennies,twere certainly frowned upon back then.

27th Mar 2014, 10:01
I remember a band in the sixties The Four Pennies?getting into a lot of trouble for having cufflinks made out of pennies,twere certainly frowned upon back then.

Juliet - The Four Pennies - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCNIj0wyR0U&feature=player_detailpage#t=1)

Lon More
27th Mar 2014, 10:02
My parents had a brass ashtray with one of each coin in circulation in IIRC 1944 sweated onto it. Dad'd probably have been locked up in the Tower for making it.

27th Mar 2014, 10:04
Mrs TTN has a collection of dozens of silver coins, the earliest going back to Elizabeth I, all of which have been defaced in some way, often commemorating a birth or a marriage, with names, dates etc engraved on the coins. It seems that although it was always an offence, it was one that was not taken too seriously. What was a serious offence was clipping gold or silver coins to steal a proportion of the silver before passing the coin on. That was why milled edges were introduced from the 17th century on.

I'm pretty sure that unless there is some fraudulent intent, there is no longer any problem with altering coins in the way the OP describes.

27th Mar 2014, 10:14
Alisoncc - Just let us know the visiting times of the particular HM Hotel you end up in, so PPRuNe'rs know when to come and visit - and remember that in the "olden days", smacking the image of the current regent into a defiled image on coins, could see you promptly dangling mid-air from a rope ... :eek: :)

Using coin designs (http://www.ramint.gov.au/designs/ram-designs/using.cfm)

tony draper
27th Mar 2014, 10:23
'dangling mid-air from a rope'
Only if the Judge was feeling merciful that day.:E

Ken Borough
27th Mar 2014, 10:25
I understand that Australian one and two cent coins are no longer legal tender, nor are they current. That being so, you could probably do what you like to them without fear of being hung, drawn and quartered From memory, there's something in the Crimes Act about defacing notes and coins.

27th Mar 2014, 10:37
There must be many ladies who possess a bracelet with several pierced coins attached around it, some of which might still be "legal tender". Can't say that I've ever heard of anyone being prosecuted over this sort of thing.

Regarding the addition of milled edges to silver or gold coins to deter rogues from shaving off bits, I would think that any felon doing that to earn a dishonest crust would also be enterprising enough to re-mill the shaved edges before passing the coins on. Or am I revealing an undesirable tendency towards criminality? ;)

Perhaps the bigger rogues in the coinage department recently are those rascals who have been counterfeiting UK £1 coins, which used to be given the nickname of "chocolate drops". Apparently about 3% of all these coins currently in circulation are forgeries, so they are obviously not too difficult to reproduce, and since the cost per dud coin is said to be only 20p, you can rather see why the wide boys have been so busy. The proposed new coin to replace it is claimed to be very difficult to reproduce, but one would have expected that to have been the aim of the existing ones, so someone boobed somewhere, n'est-ce pas?

Alloa Akbar
27th Mar 2014, 10:43
Alison - If you work a bit more on your short game, leaving yourself with just a "gimme" then you wouldn't need the markers, therefore no trasngression..:ok:

(Said the guy who couldn't hit a cow on the arse with a banjo)

27th Mar 2014, 11:10
There was, of course, the Irish counterfeitter caught filing the corners off 50p coins to pass as 10p.

27th Mar 2014, 11:11
I've seen numerous machines in UK holiday "resorts" designed to mangle up pennies or tuppences into some tacky souvenirs.

Presumably not illegal therefore.

27th Mar 2014, 12:59
I used to have my pennies and ha'pennies defaced for me by British Rail chuffers.

Wonder if the new coin will cause alarm and despondency to the folk who charge a quid for you to take their shopping trolley for walkies?

27th Mar 2014, 13:04
@Ken Borough -
I understand that Australian one and two cent coins are no longer legal tenderNot correct. See below.

Two cents (http://www.ramint.gov.au/designs/ram-designs/2c.cfm)

27th Mar 2014, 17:47
There was, of course, the Irish counterfeitter caught filing the corners off 50p coins to pass as 10p.

Not so far from the truth, Magnus

In 1966 the Irish mint issued a new legal tender silver ten shilling coin. Unfortunately the coin contained slightly over ten shillings worth of silver at the current bullion price, so the coins no sooner entered circulation than they disappeared, many of them melted down to make a quick profit!

27th Mar 2014, 18:11

Then presumably they would no longer be legal tender.

27th Mar 2014, 18:14
Don't ever try it in Thailand - lèse-majesté - 14 years in the slammer.

27th Mar 2014, 20:22
Looks like you would be in breach of certain Aussie Legislation.

See Aussie Mint link here (http://www.ramint.gov.au/designs/ram-designs/using.cfm).

And Section 16 of the Crimes (Currency) Act 1981 (http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2004A02499)

An Act to make provision with respect to offences connected with the counterfeiting of money or of certain kinds of securities and other activities injurious to Australian currency, and for related purposes

16. A person shall not, without the consent, in writing, of an authorized
person, wilfully deface, disfigure, mutilate or destroy any coin or paper
money that is lawfully current in Australia.

Penalty -

(a) in the case of a person, not being a body corporate - $5,000 or
imprisonment for 2 years, or both; or

(b) in the case of a person, being a body corporate - $10,000.

Ken Borough
27th Mar 2014, 23:46

The problem with your assertion is that neither the one cent coin nor the two cent coin is current. To prove my point, try to pay your grocery bill with some of them!

28th Mar 2014, 03:57
The Australian one cent and two cent coins are still legal tender for transactions, even though they are non-current.

However ... a merchant is legally within their rights, to refuse a transaction if a buyer presents currency that is in an unacceptable form to the merchant - i.e. - handfuls of five cent coins, or lots and lots of small notes, for a large transaction.

These forms of payment result in inconvenience and extra cost to the merchant, and it's widely recognised that someone who is aggrieved in regard to the likes of a fine, has often tried to pay in small denominations - whereby the payment is refused until a more acceptable form of payment to the creditor, is presented.

A A Gruntpuddock
28th Mar 2014, 05:33
Why not just glue the coin onto a screw or nail using a heat-sensitive glue?

Not really defacing it, as you can prove by sticking the assemblage into a kettle and separating the bits.

28th Mar 2014, 23:09
Sorry I just cant get the hang of posting photos directly onto the thread, but click on the links.

buttons589.jpg Photo by tankertrashnav | Photobucket (http://s565.photobucket.com/user/tankertrashnav/media/buttons589.jpg.html?sort=3&o=1#/user/tankertrashnav/media/buttons589.jpg.html?sort=3&o=1&_suid=139604729514004768241719118952)

buttons590.jpg Photo by tankertrashnav | Photobucket (http://s565.photobucket.com/user/tankertrashnav/media/buttons590.jpg.html?sort=3&o=0#/user/tankertrashnav/media/buttons590.jpg.html?sort=3&o=0&_suid=139604744359302173060819863672)

The pictures are of a rather worn old Charles II crown, or five shilling piece, around 1670 which has been defaced in a novel way. The reverse has been buffed flat and the following inscription engraved on it:

"Sarah Gouger at Mrs Long's, South Audley Street, Grosvenor Square"

The coin has been in Mrs TTN's collection for many years, and we've never been able to work it out. However we have two theories. One is that Mrs Long was a high class Mayfair dressmaker or milliner, and Sarah Gouger was one of her top workers. The second is that Mrs Long kept a high class Mayfair knocking shop, and Sarah Gouger was one of her top girls!

Such a high face value coin would only circulate among those with plenty of money, so whether it was a dress shop or a knocking shop, either way it would be advertising to wealthy clients!

Which explanation do you go for?

29th Mar 2014, 12:52
I have a friend who us a jeweler and he regularly cuts up Aussie coins - cutting out parts to leave just the animal and outside edge/ring, for example. He quotes a law/regulation that says it is only illegal if done with the intent to defraud. I'll try and get details from him.

But even if it us illegal I can't see you getting more that 20 years with hard labour :ok:

29th Mar 2014, 13:33
When I needed large washers when building my boat trailer I drilled appropriate diameter holes in 10 and 20 cent pieces. They wouldn't rust and were much cheaper than stainless ones.

29th Mar 2014, 14:10
I believe that some coins cost as much, if not more to produce, than their face value.

Also, it's an ongoing tradition to fix a coin of some value to the keel of a new-build ship.

cockney steve
29th Mar 2014, 20:53
^^^^^^^ ISTR reading that a half-crown was placed in the mast-step of an America's cup contender, in the days of the huge "j" class vessels...when the mast was unstepped, the coin was a large, well-battered disc.

Lots of pre-war 2-shilling coins were melted down when the silver -content exceeded face value...I may still have some floating around, somewhere :hmm: