Is my coin Genuine?
Reproduction coins and how to spot them.
At AMR Coins we get weekly queries asking us to value coins which turn out to be reproduction coins produced by Westair Reproductions Limited. Based in Birmingham, they are a reputable UK manufacturer of reproduction coins and other objects of historical interest. They cast all their own metal products, including coins, and supply them to castles, museums, historical houses and sell them to individuals.
What to look for
1) WRL Stamp
Unlike fake or forgery coins, which are purposely, and illegally, trying to pass as the "real deal", these reproduction coins are clearly stamped with the letters WRL. This is usually the most obvious indication and is predominantly found on the reverse of the coin but can also be by the side of the portrait for example on Saxon/Norman pennies.
2) The type of coin
The most common WRL coins we get enquiries about are as follows:
Oliver Cromwell crowns, Elizabeth I crowns, sixpences and 'portcullis money', Groats:- Henry VIII, Edward I and Richard III, Pennies:- William I and Harold I and Commonwealth coins
This list is not exhaustive but if the coin you have is listed here it may be worth having another look to try and find a WRL stamp.
3) The surface of the coin
Real coins have been struck whereas reproduction ones are cast. This can give the surface of a cast piece the appearance of tiny pores making it appear "soft" whereas the struck coin will have sharper, crisper edges on the detail.
4) The shape of the coin
As genuine hammered coins have been individually struck each one has a unique shape depending on how the blank flan was cut out. However reproductions tend to all be a distinctive, uniform shape as they have all been cast from the same coin. For example all Henry VIII groats that are produced by WRL have this distinct shape:-
5) The edges of the coin
A cast coin may have a raised ridge on their edge where the two halves of a mould were joined creating a seam around the edges.
6) The sound of the coin
If you tap your coin lightly on its edge the tone it makes can be an indication of whether or not it's a reproduction. A duller, lower pitched tone can indicate a cast coin when done in comparison to a similiar struck coin, which tends to produce more of a "ring" of higher pitch.
We hope you have found this guide informative. If you have a coin that you are still unsure about then please feel free to get in touch and we will endeavour to help you.