The Government of the British Virgin Islands is investigating the source of production of an unauthorized release of what is being purported to be a dollar coin marking the July 2013 visit of Pope Francis to Brazil.
The piece is being offered for sale to coin dealers and the public, according to a BVI government press release.
According to the press release, the unauthorized piece bears an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse and on the reverse, a design depicting the pope.
“This ‘coin’ has never been approved by the Government, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or Her Majesty the Queen,” according to the BVI government press release. “Immediate action is being taken to investigate the perpetrators of this distribution. In the meantime, the Government of [the] British Virgin Islands is alerting any potential purchasers that this item is not an authorized coin.”
Coin World has contacted BVI authorities seeking additional information on the unauthorized commemorative, including diameter, weight and composition specifications, and will report the details once they are provided.