Author Archives: F. Michael Fazzari

Study real coins to detect fakes

The concern raised by Richard Francis Jr. about helping counterfeiters improve their product by revealing diagnostic imperfections found on fakes is an old one. I believe he has taken the wrong approach to the matter and offered well meaning but impractical solutions. Continue reading

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Look to luster when grading foreign

Foreign coins can present some unique problems for graders. Fortunately, all of these impediments can be overcome with familiarly, study and practice. Continue reading

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Mintmarks added to 1932 quarter

At the last coin show I attended, a dealer stopped by the Independent Coin Grading booth to have me authenticate a group of 1932-D quarters.  Unfortunately, a few of his coins were altered. Continue reading

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Forget what you know with MS-61

I’m frequently asked how to tell the difference between an MS-61 or MS-62 coin. The answer becomes surprisingly simple once you learn to separate the various factors that determine the Mint State levels in the uncirculated range. Continue reading

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Stereomicroscope a necessary tool

Over the years, I have seen dealers and collectors use many methods to authenticate coins.  Sometimes they work.  Nevertheless, I have found that the most reliable method is simple examination using a stereomicroscope. Continue reading

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Crude

Many counterfeit coins have one side that is more deceptive than the other.  That is the case for the 1895-O Morgan dollar that a dealer and collector asked me to authenticate recently. Continue reading

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How should you examine coins?

Each individual collector has evolved his own method to examine coins.  Let me share some observations with you. Continue reading

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Loss of mint luster key grade point

I believe that once you learn how to recognize friction wear, rubbing, cabinet friction, etc., whatever the current term for loss of mint luster on the highest point of a coin’s design is; you can grade anything. Continue reading

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Fakes share certain surface characteristics

If someone asks you to name some of the defects commonly found on counterfeit coins what would you say?  What would you look for on a coin that you suspected to be counterfeit? Continue reading

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Magnification a vital tool to evaluate coins

I want to encourage readers to look more closely at their coins. It’s fun to look at coins, especially when they are your own. Countless collectors/accumulators search rolls and dealer’s stock looking for interesting items. All you need to do is look closely. Continue reading

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