"98 forging coins in acid"
Ancient British gold coins
Public DomainAncient British gold coins - Credit: Swiss Banker

Forging coins was one of the many activities undertaken by the gangs of child workers employed by criminals in the slums of London – as well as beggars and pickpockets, some were put to work making fake gold coins. Coins are usually forged by painting the fake or melting down shavings of real coins to cast into a new one. The acid usually comes into the process as a mechanism for testing if the coin is real or not – gold coins will not corrode when dipped in sulphur or nitric acid, whereas fake ones will.