Are counterfeit coins still an issue today? Is it even worthwhile, let alone lucrative, attempting to counterfeit coins? Despite the fact that producing counterfeit coins is a far more complicated and costly procedure than forging paper money, counterfeit coins still turn up in circulation to this day. To be precise, this crime does pay, provided that a large enough number of counterfeit coins can be put into circulation. In order to avoid detection, counterfeiters are keenly interested in producing fakes that look as genuine as possible. Astonishingly enough, blatant and crude imitations nevertheless continue to crop up. However, once the telltale marks of the counterfeiter's trade are made known to the public, these coins are generally hard to get rid of.
In the 1990's, an insidious imitation of the Swiss 5-franc coin was the source of considerable alarm to Swissmint. The situation calmed down after the counterfeit ring's workshop in Italy was raided by the police. It must be borne in mind, however, that technical advancements in manufacturing minting dies, paired with a reduction or absence of official border controls – which itself has resulted in the mounting incidence of crime on an international scale – in conjunction with the prevalence of organised crime syndicates all imply an increasing danger of our country being inundated with counterfeit coins. The best countermeasure is to be on the alert and ready to take quick action should the necessity arise.
Be particularly wary of collector's items
High-quality counterfeits of rare and costly collector's coins have more and more frequently surfaced during the past few years. An expert's report can be commissioned at Swissmint in cases of doubtful authenticity regarding Swiss coins minted as of the year 1850.
Please note that:
Forged banknotes and coins are withdrawn from circulation without face-value replacement;
Counterfeited collector's coins are demonetised and devaluated. A court of law decides on the subsequent use of these items.
Extract of the statuary regulations
Swiss Criminal Code, CC 311.0 Art. 155 Counterfeiting of goods 1Any person who with a view to deceiving another in trade or business manufactures a product which appears to have a higher commercial value than its true commercial value, in particular by being an imitation or counterfeit version of another product, or imports, stores or markets such a product, is liable, provided the act is not subject to a more severe penalty under another provision hereof, to a custodial sentence not exceeding three years or to a monetary penalty.
2If the offender acts for commercial gain, he is liable, provided the act is not subject to a more severe penalty under another provision hereof, to a custodial sentence not exceeding five years or to a monetary penalty.
Art. 240 Counterfeiting money 1Any person who counterfeits coins, paper money or banknotes in order to pass these off as genuine is liable to a custodial sentence of not less than one year.
Art. 241 Falsification of money 1Any person who alters coins, paper money or bank notes in order to pass these off at a value higher than their true value is liable to a custodial sentence not exceeding five years or to a monetary penalty of not less than 180 daily penalty units.
Art. 242 Passing or tendering counterfeit money 1Any person who passes or tenders counterfeit or falsified coins, paper money or bank notes as genuine money is liable to a custodial sentence not exceeding three years or to a monetary penalty.
The articles 240 to 244 of the Criminal Code(Counterfeit money) in detail: CC 311.0
Federal Act on Currency and Payment Instruments (CPIA), CC 941.10 Art. 11 1Anyone who issues or puts into circulation coins or banknotes denominated in Swiss francs in contravention of the provisions contained in Article 99 of the Federal Constitution* and in this Act shall be liable to a custodial sentence of up to three years or to a monetary penalty.
Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation, CC 101 *Art. 99 Monetary policy ¹The Confederation is responsible for money and currency; the Confederation has the exclusive right to issue coins and banknotes.
Federal experts on counterfeit money
Dubious coins and banknotes can be submitted to the following governmental offices for evaluation:
Coins and banknotes
Federal Office of Police (fedpol),
Counterfeit Currency Investigations