By Jack D. Young, Early American Coppers (EAC), and the Dark Side Group ……
My latest installment of this CoinWeek exclusive series will initially focus on a bad 1794 half dollar, starting with this popular listing:
Attribution is always my starting point for any subject example, and I looked to compare this suspect coin with a known genuine one. The subject doesn’t match any known genuine example, so I picked the closest match (O-105) for a comparison image. A couple of differences initially stood out as circled:
I also took notice of two possible attribution marks on the reverse:
These highlighted marks may be used to identify various dated fakes in this series. As luck would have it, someone in another forum had posted a similar example, claiming it was a “dug find”.
The images were well done, showing that the details match up – including the two reverse marks. Not bad for a rare 1794 non-variety!
With two matching examples, the effort turned to attributing the possible source example used to make the dies to strike these fakes. That went pretty quickly, as there are only two dates of Flowing Hair half dollars; focusing on the 1795 O-119 variety resulted in an unexpected match. The green-circled attributes of this die variety both match the subject 1794, which cannot be…
The second highlighted reverse mark, the “scratch” by the left ribbon, is not common to this variety.
And, of course, there are “replica” 1795s with matching marks to the subject 1794 half dollar:
Here’s a listing on AliExpress, where the “coin” is a little cheaper and can be had without that pesky “COPY”!
And a twist, if you thought it couldn’t get worse: counterfeit 1795s in fake holders!
But for a final twist, I ran into this:
And the common reverse:
Stay thirsty, my friends!
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