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What's the top fake coin on a list of 50?

Collectors of Lincoln cents might feel as if they are flying under the radar of Chinese counterfeiters.

However, there is more than one way to fake a rarity.

Long before China got into the fakery business, added mintmarks were the scourge of the numismatic hobby.

They apparently still are, as Numismatic Guaranty Corporation’s list of of the top 50 counterfeits has three Lincoln cents in the top 10.

The list appears on a page on the NGC website.

The 1909-S VDB is not only the No. 1 Lincoln listed, it is the number one falsified coin on whole the list.

NGC says, “For a counterfeiter, the addition of a simple, small design element (an “S” mintmark or “V.D.B.” initials) can make a very cheap coin appear to be worth hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. The frequency with which these forgeries are seen makes it essential to thoroughly inspect any 1909-S VDB Lincoln cent.”

In the No. 4 spot is the 1914-D Lincoln cent.

NGC says, “The most commonly seen fakes are outright counterfeits, but added mintmarks and date alterations (usually from 1944-D cents) are relatively common as well.”

In seventh place is the 1922 plain cent.

NGC says, “A common alteration is to remove the “D” mintmark from a genuine 1922-D Lincoln cent.”

This list of 50 fakes is just part of the information on the NGC website.

Also posted are 25 Chinese coins and 25 world collector coins most commonly targeted by counterfeiters.

Each of the 100 coins listed has its own page with comprehensive information including high-resolution images, the type of counterfeits typically seen, detection tips and other helpful details, NGC says.

This resource is just one of the reasons that NGC has joined with the American Numismatic Association, Professional Numismatists Guild, Industry Council for Tangible Assets and Numismatic Crime Information Center in the struggle against numismatic fakes.

NGC notes that “NGC provides extensive counterfeit detection content for the ANA’s The Numismatist.”

It conducts counterfeit detection seminars for PNG member dealers round the country.

NGC Vice President and Finalizer Scott Schechter serves on the Steering Committee of ICTA’s Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force, as well as the Packaging Security Work Group.

NGC and NCIC are working together to find the most effective ways that the organizations can collaborate to combat counterfeits.

Bringing all these resources together will do little good if average collectors don't join in the effort to educate themselves.

The first step for collectors is to go to the website and study the list.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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