? Is there any quick way to check the date of an 1856 Flying Eagle cent to see if it?s a counterfeit or an altered coin?
One common alteration calls for checking the back of the ?5? in the date. On a genuine 1856, the round serif on the lower tip of the 5 will project beyond a line down the back. The coins altered from an 1858 date will show the ball to the right of the line.
? Were platinum coins ever plated with gold to make them look like gold coins?
Apparently, at least some were. I have a listing for the Spanish 1867 platinum 10 escudos. It describes the coin as ?struck in platinum and gilted.?
? Can frosting on a coin be faked?
You bet! Some quite dangerous fakes turned up in the 1970s with homemade ?frosting? that was added after the coin left the mint. At least two forms are known, one of which disappears in commercial dipping solutions. The other vanishes when treated with acetone or alcohol. Real frosting occurs from the irregularities in the surface of a new proof die, and can be enhanced or ?extended? to additional coins ? but by treating the die itself, not the coin.
? I know it is illegal to counterfeit U.S. coins, but can I make copies of foreign coins?
No. The same laws apply.
? I have a quarter that has a circular area smaller than a dime that appears to have the obverse design on the reverse, and vice versa. How could this have happened?
This is an alteration that we don?t see as often these days as we used to. Someone used a punch press to punch out a round piece of the coin. This was flipped over and reinserted, and then the metal was moved around with engraving tools to hide the joint. Most of these were cruder, with the joint plainly visible, but the point is that these are altered coins and not a Mint product.