Beware when traveling in areas using the GBP. I have been given a euro instead of a pound when receiving change. They are fairly similar in size.
In 2017 pound coins will become 12-sided.
Other coins to look out for are Turkish lira, and Thai Baht, masquerading as euro and sterling.
It's quite easy to tell the difference at the moment as the 1 euro coin is made of two different metals with an outer ring, while the £1 coin is a single metal.
Shortly the UK will introduce a new bimetallic £1 coin which, however, will be twelve-sided rather than circular. The current £1 coin is said to be very heavily counterfeited.
Twenty-year old worn legitimate pound coins look little more than brass slugs. Making them so thick to be discernible from other coins in a pocket has had some long term issues. As well as holes in pockets.
I also recently got passed a Swedish 2 kroner piece instead of a 10p, as they're very similar in size.
You're ahead of the game then, Philip
At one time it was the Germans being fobbed off with 5p instead of 1DM.
I had a handful of coins when I returned from Italy this year. A few weeks after I dumped them on my dresser, I looked at what I thought was a €1 coin. It was 20 Jamaican dollars! Worth 17 US cents. Had a good laugh over that.
I've gotten Canadian coins before as change in the US. I never thought of it as a scam - just coins that have gotten into the system and similar enough that people don't realize. Not everything is a scam.
I could see getting a 2 Euro thinking it was a 2 Pound coin, but not so much with the 1 since the two have nothing in common.
I got a handful of Gibraltar coins last time I was in London. Still Pounds, just not British. They really are indistinguishable from the proper British ones except for the word Gibraltar on the face.
Who spends these first generally knows what they are doing.
Sterling coins issued outside the UK - Falklands, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey etc- are not legal tender but do turn up particularly in the summer from people back from holiday (maybe not the Falklands). There isn't much notice taken of these.
Have they changed the Pound Sterling since 1990? I have a couple of 1 Pound coins from my trip then, and they are nothing like any euro coins - very thick. Anyway, it won't be long until a euro is worth more than a Pound, so keep it.
As I remember, there is an old Italian lira coin, about 200 lira, I think, that closely resembles a 2 euro coin, two metals and all.
A Singapore dollar coin looks just quite a bit like a 1 euro coin - as I learned in Italy, when I was given one in change (I didn't catch the scam until later).
The pound coin is the same size and shape now as when it was introduced in 1983, although as mentioned above these will be withdrawn from 2017 in favour of a smaller, bimetallic, 12-sided coin.
This is highly unlikely to be a scam! Very few crooks are going to bother for the sake of a few pence.
You were just accidentally given a wrong coin in a pile of change. It happens quite often. I have received all sorts of random coins over the years including a number of 10cent pieces which "could" be mistaken for 10p pieces. I also know I have a couple of stray euro coins in my purse from a recent trip which I keep meaning to remove but I am sure I might accidentally spend at some point.
If you happen to notice when you receive your change tell the assistant they will apologise and replace it. If you don't notice in time, keep it for your next trip or put in in a charity donation box then someone else gets the benefit!
We have a whole collection of coins that aren't euro but were given as change for euro. It happens. It isn't a scam. If I am not wearing my reading glasses, those coins will just end up in my pocket. Pretty sure I have passed many of them on to other stores without even noticing that they aren't euro.
Since 1988, when someone at Frauenkirche in Munich gave me in change a 200 (?) lire coin, worth nothing, instead of a 2 Mark coin as change, I don't think I have ever since been the victim on such "fraud".
I always look at my change when I get it. I've found that it is very easy to tell the denomination of Euro coins if you look at them on edge. One and five cent coins are small, much different in diameter, are copper, and have smooth edges. The two has a circumferential groove. The ten and fifty cent coins are bigger, brass colored, and very different in diameter, with a lot of large notches around the edge. The twenty is in between size and has only seven notches. The one and two euro coins have fine milling around the edge - intermittent for the one, continuous for the two. If any doubt, look at the front.
The twenty euro cent coin is worth about a quarter. The 50 cent, 1, and 2 Euro coins are worth a lot more. Those are the ones you should check carefully in your change.
Also, minimize your change. Since the coins are unfamiliar and the notes are easily identified by the size and the number printed on it, it is very easy to just keep giving notes and getting change in coins. Soon you have five or more pounds (Avid.) in coins. Use the edge method to know what you have in coins in your pocket and spend them for small purchases.
This is a little off the subject, but I can remember back in 1977, the metal value of the Italian coins was worth more than the monetary value of the coin. As a result, candy was often given as change instead of coins.
One of the ones we were told about was Czech Koruna to Belorussian Ruble. The air bnb host we stayed with in Prague said the restaurant downstairs was getting many people paying with Rubles and thinking they were Koruna. Those tourists were offered a 'good' exchange rate on the street. Koruna to Ruble exchange is 1:750 meaning euros or American dollars were exchanged for less than pennies. Obviously if you then are changing 100's on the street this adds up fast.