World Coins

British Virgin Islands issues warning about fakes

Fake British Virgin Islands coins are being offered online including through some eBay sellers.

The Government of the British Virgin Islands on Oct. 27 announ­ced that a slew of the pieces, actually fantasy pieces of designs that were never issued, were coming from a producer in Russia.

The fakes, with legends indicating issuance in the name of the British Virgin Islands, have been offered for sale to coin dealers and the public through Russian seller. In addition, a seller in Russia and another in Spain are offering the pieces through eBay.

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The fantasy pieces feature animals from Novosibirsk Zoo (in the third most populous city in Russia) or celebrate Sibir Hockey Club, also in Russia. The imposter pieces’ obverses mimic the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Zoo “coins” carry images of two swans, a hedgehog, three dolphins, a lion, two tigers, two meerkats, or an orangutan.

The Hockey pieces include color and show logos of the team.

“All are advised that these ‘coins’ have never been approved by the Government, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office nor Her Majesty the Queen,” according to a statement from the BVI government. “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 authorised coin.”

The British Virgin Islands contracts with the Pobjoy Mint to strike commemorative coins, and the private mint confirmed that it had not produced these pieces. 

Pobjoy Mint on Nov. 3 issued a statement about the fakes. 

"As the exclusive mint for the British Virgin Islands, Pobjoy Mint would advise buyers to visit their website, to be assured of purchasing a fully approved legal tender coin," the statement said.

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