View Full Version : Fake or Forgery Identification
04-03-2013, 06:20 PM
What is the best means available to identify a copper coin or token fake or forgery?
04-13-2013, 05:07 PM
The first thing to look at is the edge. US coppers (until 1835) were struck without a collar, so the edge is always convex. If it is straight or nearly so like a modern cent or nickel, you definitely have a fake that was struck in collar. It's surprising how many people don't check the edge. Lettered edge coins will have a relatively straight edge, but lettered edges are not usually faked, so if it has one, it is probably good. Though I have seen an electrotype that had a nearly perfect lettered edge. It was scary.
Beyond that, your best bet is to understand the die characteristics of the known varieties. If a coin doesn't fit the characteristics of known varieties, it's probably a fake. It's always possible that a new variety will turn up, but it isn't likely that you or I will be the one to find it.
Cast counterfeits almost always have a pebbly surface and somewhat soft details for the grade. Electrotypes almost always show a seam around the edge and may have spots of base metal showing through where the plating wasn't perfect. Casts and electros are also almost always the wrong weight.
Beyond that, it's pretty much microscopic details. Is there tooling that doesn't match the real coins? Do the letters look right? Etc.
04-13-2013, 06:06 PM
The edge is a good place to check and must be normal for the year/sieries of any coin in question; but on that subject the close collar, it was used on cents at least as early as 1816. All 1816 cents and beyond are perfectly round due to the restraining collar and have flattend edges unlike the Classic Head sieries. Some varieties of 1816 have what is refered to as a "reeded edge" wich is actually a minor die clash or scraping of the dies dentilated edge against the collar giving a faint and partial reeded look. Some 1817's were strongly struck giving a wire rim and the bevel of the collar can be observed when viewing a strongly struck example from the side. Beyond that super flat edges with sharp rims tend to be suspicious.
Wieght has been used as a guideline for detecting a counterfiet and we all know that large cents wiegh 10.89 grams, according to the Red Book. Unfortunatly, cents were struck on mostly imported blanks and actually tend to wiegh between 10.4 to 11.2 grams.
3RD party sevices usually get it right but there is no substitute for knowing what it is suppose to look like and familiarize yourself with commonly found forgeries. Checking against pictures of authentic coins is a great first step.
04-19-2013, 05:38 PM
Thank you for your responses. Both were very informative. Seems like one needs to study up on the variations of minting early coppers. Experience is also needed. Back to reading the books! My next step!
04-24-2013, 08:50 PM
Were the electro's of 1793 originally forgeries? I have noticed these and was wondering what was the purpose for their existence. Was 1793 the only year for electro's? When did they surface in the collecting market? I see there are some listed in the 2013 EAC auction.
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