A man places three coins in front of you – a bronze coin, a silver coin and a gold coin.

The man says “If you tell me a true statement, you will be given one of the coins.  But if your statement proves to be false, you will be given nothing”.

What should you say to guarantee being given the gold coin?

As ever, please do NOT post your answers, but do say if you think you have solved the puzzle and how long it took. Solution on Monday.

I have produced an ebook containing 101 of the previous Friday Puzzles! It is called PUZZLED and is available for the Kindle (UK here and USA here) and on the iBookstore (UK here in the USA here). You can try 101 of the puzzles for free here.


  1. About a minute.
    Came up with an answer which produced an impasse/loop first.
    This then lead me on to the/(a?) “correct” answer.
    Surprised RW tabled another coin question after all the shennanigans last week.

  2. I *think* I have the answer after just a few seconds of thought, but I know my intuition is often out on these things, so I’m not 100% certain about it, although thinking around it, my answer seems to work from all angles. If I am right I shall spend Monday in an unexpectedly good mood.

  3. I can think of numerous statements which can guarantee getting one of the coins (“There are two people at this table”, “There are three coins on the table”), but can’t currently work out the logic requiring him to specifically give me the gold coin (assuming it is pure gold and not merely gold-plated steel or iron pyrite!). After all, “You will give me the gold coin” won’t work as it allows him to decide whether to give up the gold coin (thus proving the statement true) or keep the lot (thus proving the statement false)…

    1. Here’s another true statement for you – “London is the capital of England”. Hope it helps.
      Paul (just call me Jesus) Hewson

    2. whether it’s pure gold, pyrite, or any other permutation does not matter. also, the* correct statement leaves him no choice but to give you the gold coin.

      i got an answer that works within a few seconds. i’m curious if there are others, but i haven’t been able to think of any.

  4. Got it. Took me a few minutes to get there but I did. (gonna blame it on the fact that I’ve been awake since 3:30 so my brain has decided to fight logic today 🙂 )

  5. I got the solution very quickly but then someone else came up with an alternative. I think mine is better though as their could be ambiguous in certain circumstances.

  6. “But if your statement proves to be false…”
    Does this imply that “all” statements must be proved, false or otherwise?

  7. This rings a bell. Aren’t there a lot of puzzles out there similar to this about doors and such? Does the answer begin with the word “If . . . ?”
    I know. I know. I’ve spoiled it for everyone..

    1. My solution does not begin with if. Nor does it have anything to do with Cretans. I’m not convinced that there is a unique solution to this however.

  8. Got a solution in a minute or so. But I can’t do it without “and”, making it a 2-in-1 statement. I don’t know if that’s allowed.

  9. I knew what to say after about two minutes, but at that time I had already grabbed all three coins and run away.

    If “A man” comes asking for me, you haven’t seen me, OK?

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