HomeUS CoinsCounterfeit Coin Detection - 1927 Vermont Half Dollar

Counterfeit Coin Detection – 1927 Vermont Half Dollar

By Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC) …..
The 1927 Vermont Sesquicentennial half dollar commemorates the Battle of Bennington, a key victory against the British in the Revolutionary War. The obverse of the coin celebrates the “Founder of Vermont” Ira Allen, a leader of the Green Mountain Boys militia. The reverse shows a cougar (also known as a catamount), which is symbolic of the Catamount Tavern in Bennington, where the militia met.

Though 40,000 of these commemoratives were struck, this coin was not popular with the public. Almost a third of them failed to sell, and they were returned to the United States Mint for destruction. Today, mint-state examples can sell for several hundred dollars.

Not too long ago, Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC) received a purported example of a Vermont Sesquicentennial half dollar in a submission. The coin immediately aroused suspicion because of the legend. The letters are fatter than they should be, and they also melt into the edge of the coin. This is particularly obvious when comparing the word BATTLE on this fake against a genuine example.

Genuine 1927 Vermont Half Dollar. Image: NGC.
Genuine 1927 Vermont Half Dollar. Image: NGC.
Counterfeit 1927 Vermont Half Dollar. Image: NGC.
Counterfeit 1927 Vermont Half Dollar. Image: NGC.

Other problems with the design include a lack of detail in Allen’s hair and on the catamount’s face. In addition, the coin’s luster and the yellow tinge on its high points are inconsistent with a genuine example.

The letters on the counterfeit (right) are fatter and melt into the edge of the coin. Image: NGC.
The letters on the counterfeit (right) are fatter and melt into the edge of the coin. Image: NGC.

At 12.1g, the half dollar falls short of the expected weight of 12.5g. This is likely because it was struck with less dense metals–mostly copper and zinc–instead of the 90-percent silver that genuine examples contain.

A classic silver commemorative worth only a few hundred dollars might not seem like an obvious choice for counterfeiters, but keep in mind that they will target any coin that can potentially turn a profit.

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1 COMMENT

  1. How is the top one genuine when In God We Trust and E Pluribus Unum look so horrible you can barely make them out? The counterfeit labelled one has more details than the genuine labelled coin too.

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