HomeCounterfeitsCounterfeit Coin Detection: 1880-CC Morgan Dollar

Counterfeit Coin Detection: 1880-CC Morgan Dollar

This fake is mostly copper, but even if you didn’t know that, there are other red flags


By Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC) ……

The 1880-CC Morgan Dollar had a mintage of slightly under half a million. The NGC Price Guide indicates that even heavily circulated examples are worth at least $100 USD, with expected prices easily surpassing $500 in Mint State.

Counterfeit Coin Detection: 1880-CC Morgan Dollar
Genuine 1880-CC Morgan Dollar. Image: NGC.

At the beginning of the year, NGC received a submission of a purported 1880-CC Morgan Dollar. Its weight is 26.63 grams, less than the expected 26.73 grams, and just outside the mint tolerance. However, a slight amount of metal loss due to circulation could explain the difference, so further analysis is needed.

Counterfeit Coin Detection: 1880-CC Morgan Dollar
Counterfeit 1880-CC Morgan Dollar. Image: NGC.

A metallurgical analysis finds this coin to be 60% copper, 30% zinc, 7% nickel, 2% manganese, and 1% silver. This is obviously enough to determine that the coin is not a genuine vintage Morgan Dollar, which would be 90% silver.

But if you didn’t have the high-tech equipment to analyze the metal, there are still plenty of red flags. The coin has an odd, unnatural luster, with soft details in the high points. The “8”s in the date are misshapen.

Close-ups of the counterfeit 1880-CC Morgan Dollar. Image: NGC.

Tooling, which indicates a counterfeiter was trying to conceal a more noticeable problem, can be seen on the obverse below the first “U” in PLURIBUS as well as on the reverse in the “OL” in DOLLAR.

This fake is another reminder that counterfeiters don’t just target the greatest rarities; they will target any coin that could make them a profit. Remember, NGC backs its determinations of authenticity and grade with the industry-leading NGC Guarantee.

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Numismatic Guaranty Company
Numismatic Guaranty Company
NGC was founded in 1987, and for coin grading, its opening heralded the introduction of a new standard of integrity. From the beginning NGC focused on only one objective, a standard of consistent and accurate grading. As NGC has grown to become the leader in third-party grading services, we have maintained a steadfast and uncompromising commitment to this standard. The knowledge, integrity and dedication of NGC's team of grading experts ensures you a level of grading consistency unparalleled among grading services. This record of consistency, built over the years, has helped to foster greater stability throughout the rare coin marketplace.

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