An extra ray of light is one of the indicators this piece isn’t genuine
The 1928 Peace Dollar had the lowest mintage of the series, with only 360,649 pieces struck. That extremely limited mintage has made this issue the most sought-after of the entire Peace Dollar series.
As is often the case with rarities such as this, NGC sees its fair share of counterfeits. However, one received recently was particularly interesting.
Top & Bottom: Obverse and reverse, counterfeit 1928 Peace Dollar. Images courtesy Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC)
The coin above was recently submitted to NGC by a collector for certification. It is missing a lot of natural luster due to cleaning. What is most interesting, however, is that the date and reverse don’t match. This is due to the fact that the Peace Dollar was struck in two different reliefs for circulation. The first-year 1921 issue was issued with a higher relief than the rest of the series. In addition to the difference in relief, there were also slight changes made to the design.
It is evident after a closer examination of this coin that the reverse design that was utilized was that of a 1921 Peace Dollar, not a 1928.
Reverse detail of genuine 1921 Peace Dollar
Counterfeit 1928 with reverse of 1921
Genuine 1935 Peace Dollar
As you can see from the photos above, the counterfeit has a third ray below the “ONE”. Although it is quite mushy, it is very clearly there. This means that the counterfeiters based their reverse die off of a 1921 Peace Dollar, as that is the only issue that has a third ray below the “ONE”.
Additionally, the close-ups allow you to see how mushy the details are on the fake. Lastly, note the raised lumps scattered throughout the reverse, especially between the rays. Those would not be seen on genuine coins.
Tool marks can be seen on the top of the obverse
As if having the completely wrong reverse for the date weren’t enough, the obverse also suffers from the same mushiness as the reverse. In addition, there are also numerous tool marks emerging from the rim at the top of the obverse. These marks appear as raised lines and are caused by the counterfeiter attempting to remove an imperfection from the die.
Lastly, an X-Ray Fluorescence analysis shows that this coin is the wrong composition. While genuine Peace Dollars are 90% silver, 10% copper, this piece is 92% Silver, 5% Copper, and 2.5% Zinc.
NGC’s sharp-eyed graders immediately spotted this counterfeit without much trouble. The surfaces are not at all correct and the details are mushy. However, it is definitely of high-enough quality to fool many numismatists. This coin is a great example of why it is important to be extra vigilant when purchasing key-date coins. As always, coins graded and encapsulated by NGC are guaranteed to be genuine.