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How to detect counterfeits

Euro coins incorporate highly sophisticated security features, which make the euro one of the safest currencies in the world.

Although the stability of the euro makes it particularly interesting to counterfeiters, the number of counterfeit coins detected accounts only for a negligible share of coins in circulation. 

However, a counterfeit coin cannot be exchanged for a genuine one: whoever accepts a counterfeit coin when it is passed off as a genuine coin will lose their money. Therefore, it is essential to recognise a genuine coin when receiving one. 

If you suspect a euro coin to be counterfeit, always check several security features (do not rely on just one). If in doubt, compare the coin with one you know to be genuine, looking for differences and not similarities.

If any doubt persists about the coin’s authenticity, it should be taken to a branch of Banco de Portugal or a credit institution, where due clarifications will be given.

If you come across a coin you suspect is fake or counterfeit:

  1. Note any relevant information on the person that has given you the counterfeit/suspect coin, and how it came into your possession.
  2. Report the matter to the police, Banco de Portugal or any credit institution, detailing the circumstances in which the counterfeit/suspect coin was given to you.

Do not try to pass on a coin which you believe or know is a counterfeit, as it is a criminal offence (Penal Code, Article 265 and following).

 

Check the security features 

It is very easy to check security features, without the need for additional equipment, by using the simple FEEL, LOOK and CHECK method. 

FEEL 

When touching, the relief of the design differs strongly from the rest of the coin’s surface.

The following elements are depicted in relief on euro coins:

LOOK

Edge: Each denomination features an edge with specific size, thickness and shape.

The edge milling is raised, well-defined and uniform. You can check it more easily with a magnifying glass.

Edge lettering: With a magnifying glass, you can check the edge lettering in €2 coins. The edge milling is raised, well-defined and uniform.

Edge lettering features characters and/or symbols, which vary according to the issuing Member State.

Edge alignment: If you align two or more €2 coins with the same national side, the edge lettering is also aligned.

The same applies to €1 coins. If you align two or more €1 coins regardless of the national side, the milled spaces and the smooth spaces are aligned.

Micro dots: Using a magnifying glass, the map on €1 and €2 coins is portrayed in negative relief. Micro dots are also a feature of the first design of the euro coins.

CHECK

Magnetic properties: Using a magnet, check the magnetic properties of each coin:

€1 and €2 coinsTheir inner part is slightly magnetic. The outer part has no magnetic properties.

10, 20 and 50 cent coinsThey have no magnetic properties.

1, 2 and 5 cent coinsThey are highly magnetic.