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1795 and 1796 Half Cents – Jack Young’s Fun With Fakes

Jack Young Fun with Fakes 1795-1796 Cent

By Jack D. Young, Early American Coppers (EAC), and the Dark Side Group ……
 

My latest installment of this CoinWeek exclusive series is like a mystery novel, and will start with a listing I posted in my new Facebook group FwF:

eBay listing of a Counterfeit 1795 Liberty Cap Large Cent.
Image: eBay.

Attribution is always my starting point for any subject example, but this one would be considered fairly obvious to many collectors of half cents. The listing was for both a 1795 and a 1796 half cent as shown below.

Subject (Fake) 1795 and 1796 Liberty Cap cents from the internet listing
Subject examples from the internet listing.

Since both examples use the same obverse, I will show the “1796” half cent counterfeit compared to the only known genuine variety with pole. On this one, a low-grade example is worth thousands of dollars, so here is a real ‘Bay bargain…

Counterfeit 1796 cent compared to genuine example.
Not really close! Subject example on left, genuine one on the right

And the reverses:

Comparison of a fake and real 1796 Liberty Cap cent.
Another swing and miss! Subject example on left, genuine one on the right

While the two subject coins’ reverses match each other.

Similar reverses on fake 1795 and 1796 cents.
eBay “1796” on left, “1795” on the right.

So, here comes the first twist.

Searching for possible matches yielded a couple of interesting Gallery Mint “COPY” examples.

Their 1796:

GMM 1796 COPY half cent
GMM 1796 COPY half cent
Subject example on the left, GMM on the right
Subject example on the left, GMM on the right

But, the reverse doesn’t match.

And then we found a GMM 1794 COPY…

GMM 1794 COPY half cent
GMM 1794 COPY half cent

And we have a winner!

Subject example on the left, GMM on the right
Subject example on the left, GMM on the right

So, we have a current counterfeit based on a GMM COPY–there seems to be no limit to what they will fake!

Can it get any worse, you may ask?

Just more rather expensive listings and other dates!

eBay listed “1797” with the same obverse and reverse
eBay listed “1797” with the same obverse and reverse

And a 1795 that was weathered to be more “genuine”:

eBay listed “1795” with the same obverse and reverse
eBay listed “1795” with the same obverse and reverse

And the last “twist” for this episode…

This one was called a “Fantasy Token”; what is interesting (to me) is it uses the same obverse but shows the wrong reverse seen for these. No rocket scientists, these guys!

The reverse appears to be from their fake 1793 large cent [Here’s a link to CoinWeek’sCollector’s Guideto the 1793 Wreath Cent.CW] .

eBay listing for 1797 "Fantasy Token"
eBay listing for 1797 “Fantasy Token”

eBay listing for 1797 "Fantasy Token" close ups.

Things are getting pretty dicey out there. Stay thirsty my friends!

Best as always,

Jack


 

MORE Articles on Counterfeit Coins by Jack D. Young

 

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Jack D. Young
Jack D. Young
An engineer by training, Jack D. Young is a researcher and author on the subject of the recent wave of deceptive struck counterfeits. He is the founder of the "Dark Side" Counterfeits and Fakes Facebook watch group, a participating member of Early American Coppers (EAC) since 2002, the Liberty Seated Collectors Club (LSCC), C4, the NLG, the ANA, and the ANS. Jack has consulted on the subject of counterfeits and their effect on the Hobby with staffers of the United States Senate Finance Committee, a senior member of the U.S. Secret Service (both with the ACTF as an Expert Network volunteer), and agents of both CBP and the Department of the Treasury. His work has appeared in various club journals, including The Numismatist, and he was acknowledged for his research by Q. David Bowers in the latter's The Copper Coins of Vermont (2018). The ACTF awarded Jack Young the Alan Kreuzer Award in 2019 and the PNG presented him with the Sol Kaplan Award in 2022. He started collecting as a youth, filling a Lincoln penny board with his grandmother, and continues to collect low-grade early large cents by date and some varieties.

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