The Strategist

Why Do Counterfeiters Like 5-Franc Coins So Much?

03/04/2016 - 14:51

Banknotes are not the only kind of money attractive to counterfeiters in Switzerland.
While the SNB is fighting off allegations that their one thousand francs bills facilitate illegal activities, their colleagues from Swissmint also face problems.

Number of counterfeit five-franc coin has increased over the past 2 years. The counterfeiters are trying to make hay forging one of the most precious metal coins in the world, circulating in daily use.

In 2014, 14 thousand counterfeit 5-franc coins were withdrawn from circulation. In the past year, according to official statistics, the number was 7 600. For comparison, less than 1 thousand such coins was forged in the previous years.

"Of course, the criminals decide what will bring them more money, - says the managing director of Swissmint Marius Haldimann. Most of the counterfeits show up in Italy. Given the costs, it is clear that there is organized crime engaged in it."

Once a group of Italians was arrested at the border for hoarding fake five-franc coins in their car.

Some fakes are of high quality, but there are also those that can be easily tracked. "Even a passer-by would be able to say that something is wrong," - says Haldimann.

However, number of counterfeits is still relatively low.

Only 1 out of a thousand five-franc coin is counterfeit, notes Swissmint.

For comparison, the Mint of Britain says that there is 2.6% of 1-pound coins counterfeited in the country.

The low level of counterfeiting is obliged to the fact that coins are made of special alloy, their finish is of high quality and their special design includes means of protection.

Haldimann also notes that the demand for coins is constantly increasing, which leads to the fact that annual production has grown by a third over the past twenty years. Such an expansion of demand was triggered by increase in population and growth of tourism.

Special events in the country can also cause the growth of demand. Thus, the demand for coins of 1, 2 and 5 francs rose during the European Football Championship in 2008.