from the July 17, Numismatic News E-NewsLetter
Have you come across counterfeits or suspected fakes during your time in the hobby? If so, what have you seen?
Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers.
I’ve gotten a few fake ancients at different times, one even fooled two high-ranking dealers/collectors. Thankfully I got refunds on them all.
I bought some 1925 Peace dollars from an eBay guy in California, and they had the reverse of a 1921 Peace dollar. The weight was correct, but the color was off. He went out of business.
I had a $100 Big Head bill with serial number 48484848. I don’t remember the series or Federal bank. It looked good alone, but the green was slightly yellowish next to a legit $100 and it had a funny looking watermark. My bank took it and sent it to Secret Service, which confirmed it as counterfeit. I pulled it from circulation – the serial number was too good to be true!
I was shipped two counterfeit uncirculated Baseball HOF dollars without the “P” mintmark from Philadelphia on the left side of the bottom stitching on the baseball. Also, the lettering is raised on the counterfeit whereas the original all the way to the right has incused lettering on the coin.
I got my money back, so no problem there. The two counterfeit coins are on the left and the genuine one from the Mint is shown at right.
Name and Address Withheld
I once purchased a fake silver American Eagle on eBay. It looked good but did not weigh the same as a real one.
I attended a local show and saw an un-encapsulated 1936-D Washington quarter. It was beautiful! It looked like an MS-64. The dealer wanted $700 for it so I paid for it.
I decided after placing this beautiful coin in my Dansco album, where it resided for a couple of years, to send it into Professional Coin Grading Service through a trusted local dealer.
Well, everyone reading knows the story.
My trusted coin shop owner couldn’t tell me the bad news over the phone, he said I needed to come in for it. Anyway, the coin came back as a “counterfeit.”
Unfortunately, it was a big-time dealer who sold me the coin and of course later on, I wondered if he knew the coin was a counterfeit or not. I phoned the dealer to tell him the coin was fake, but of course, no recourse with this profit taker-counterfeiter. In The Numismatist, I found out that this is one of the most commonly counterfeited coins out there. It was an expensive lesson.
This is part of the reason why our hobby has suffered: when dealers with a table at sanctioned coin shows are passing counterfeit coins, especially at this price point! To avoid this from occurring, for coins of considerable value, I recommend they be encapsulated by one of the higher quality grading service companies. Otherwise, do so at your own risk.
Jim St. John
I once came across a counterfeit 1921 Walking Liberty half dollar.
Last Name and Address Withheld