By Jack D. Young, Early American Coppers (EAC), and the Dark Side Group ……
A new installment of my CoinWeek exclusive series documents three different counterfeit 1857 Flying Eagle cents, all with their own unique telling markers. I’ll start with this example that a friend posted to the Dark Side Group. He asked members which one they liked better:
After review, the best answer in my opinion was “the not counterfeit one”!
One of the best “tells” for this variety of fake is the reverse “chip” as circled in red:
This particular type has been around for a while, as evidenced by this 2017 “Bay” sale and an article by NGC that documented it.
To read that article on counterfeit 1857 Flying Eagle cents, click here
But the research doesn’t stop, as there are others also in the marketplace currently. The following examples have an apparently shared reverse; I nicknamed them the “Notched T” counterfeits.
I sent a note to Flying Eagle and Indian Head cent expert Richard Snow and received the following information about the “T”: “it’s a defect in the transfer process” (for making the false dies).
And an example submitted and returned body-bagged by NGC:
Continuing down the proverbial rabbit hole leads to the latest fake of the family, one I nicknamed the “Bad T” (of UNITED).
A fairly decent looking example until you examine it more closely; there are lots of depressions and surface irregularities, as well as the odd “T”:
Didn’t take much looking to find others after this one was reported!
Here’s an example from Ecrater.com:
This counterfeit matches the eBay listed one exactly.
And another “Bay” example, this one showing some of the attribution marks even better:
And let’s not leave Etsy out! More fun there with an 1856 and an 1858 thrown in for good measure!
And one major “twist”: this “PCGS” certed 1856 example:
Poor images of this one won’t allow positive attribution by type, but the “6” is a pretty clear sign that it’s really bad…
Again, hopefully the information in this article information will help reduce the opportunity for fraudsters to sting collectors with these fakes, as it continues to be a real jungle out there!
Best as always,
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