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1833 NOT PCGS Half Dollar Counterfeit – Jack Young’s Fun With Fakes

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

The subject of this installment of the exclusive CoinWeek series starts with this example of an 1833 half dollar counterfeit from eBay.

Counterfeit 1833 Capped Bust Half Dollar from eBay listing.
Counterfeit 1833 Capped Bust Half Dollar from eBay listing.

The “coin” looked like a bad cast, with pimples and lumps on the surface and features that were not fully filled out, especially on the reverse. And the slab didn’t look much better.

Counterfeit 1833 Capped Bust Half Dollar from eBay listing.
Close-up coin images. Note the markers.

Images of the counterfeit 1833 half dollar coin slab.

A couple of at-a-glance problems with this one are the obvious grade issue, its labeling as a dollar, and the missing “PCGS” logo on the lower front right corner of the slab.

In many cases of bad coins and fake slabs, the cert number used is of an example without any reference images. This is not the case for this one, and we are able to compare this counterfeit to the genuine example.

PCGS Coin lookup of an 1833 Capped Bust Half Dollar.

Side-by-side comparison of the fake and real 1833 Capped Bust half dollar.
Left: Fake coin from the eBay listing. Right: Genuine coin using from PCGS cert. look up.

Not even close, with the date and Liberty’s profile off to the eye!

The reverse is off as well.

1833 Half Dollar fake vs. real reverse comparison.
Subject example, actual genuine example

And continued searching lead to images of the actual PCGS slab; I’m surprised the counterfeiters didn’t try to make a fake “green bean” as well.

Genuine 1833 Capped Bust half dollar as graded by PCGS / CAC.
Genuine 1833 Capped Bust half dollar as graded by PCGS / CAC.

Continued research led to a second 1833 half dollar counterfeit listed on the German eBay site!

eBay listing- German site
eBay listing- German site

Same bad “coin” and slab. The barcode on these also won’t scan.

German eBay listing example
German eBay listing example

I notified the TPG about these and the cert number used through their CU forum and through my contacts; the cert was deactivated.

PCGS Forum response regarding counterfeit coins using a legitimate certification number.

PCGS Coin Lookup Screen.

So, with a really bad “coin,” bad “PCGS” slab, and deactivated cert, what could possibly go wrong going forward?

How about a recent ‘ay listing without the slab!

Fake 1833 Half Dollar.

eBay listed raw example of a fake 1833 half dollar

This one was gone prior to a sale, but of course we should see more in the future, in my humble opinion.

In fact, continued searching lead to another of our favorite selling venues and the following example; obviously no end in sight…

Etsy listing of a counterfeit 1833 Capped Bust half dollar.
Etsy listing of a counterfeit 1833 Capped Bust half dollar.

They seem proud of their fake edges, and I’m OK with that.

And now a twist!

Seems there are “friends” with the same profile and reverse available in the marketplace. I nicknamed them the “1833 class” counterfeits.

This one, unfortunately, showed sold:

An eBay 1812 listed raw example
An eBay 1812 listed raw example

Different date listing, 1824:

An eBay 1824 listed raw example.
An eBay 1824 listed raw example.

And an 1836 dated example:

An eBay 1836 listed raw example.
An eBay 1836 listed raw example.

And basically, a common reverse for this “class”:

1824 and 1836 dated eBay listed example reverses.
1824 and 1836 dated eBay listed example reverses.

And, the no-end-in-sight reality: file images of other Etsy examples:

A smorgasbord of Etsy listings for fake Capped Bust half dollars.
A smorgasbord of Etsy listings for fake Capped Bust half dollars.

As always, stay safe out there!

Best,

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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