Counterfeit 1928 Peace Dollar
By Max Spiegel – Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC) ……
Since so many counterfeit 1928 Peace Dollars are, in fact, altered 1923 coins, it is particularly useful to know the counterfeit coin detection diagnostics that are seen on legitimate examples.
The 1928 Peace Dollar had the lowest mintage of any issue in this popular series with only 360,649 examples struck. NGC has graded just under 7,000 pieces with the vast majority in the AU 58 to MS 64 grade range. According to the NGC US Coin Price Guide, an AU 58 trades for $475 USD while an MS 64 is valued at $1,375.
As one might expect, counterfeiters have targeted the 1928 Peace Dollar. Many of the spurious specimens are actually altered dates; the 1923, which is very common, can be easily changed to a 1928. An example with this alteration was recently submitted to NGC.
On this piece, the numeral 8 stands out from the rest of the digits in the date. Even without magnification the 8 appears tooled, and under a loupe, the tooling becomes quite obvious. In an effort to obscure the alteration, the forger has harshly cleaned the lower half of the obverse. Cleaning will oftentimes help to disguise tool marks or otherwise distract from the more significant problem—the alteration.
Genuine 1928 Peace Dollars were struck from only four different obverse dies and each has a different diagnostic that aids in identification. One obverse die has a raised line connecting two strands of Liberty’s hair in the lower right.
The second die has a raised line from the middle of the B in LIBERTY through the tiara to the right and another raised line to the left of the E in LIBERTY.
A third obverse die has an oval patch of raised die polish lines within the tiara to the right of the B in LIBERTY although these can be difficult to see on circulated examples. The final obverse die is identified by the raised lines that go to the right from the lower part of the E in LIBERTY.
Familiarity with the diagnostics of the four obverse dies used to strike 1928 Peace Dollars makes identification of genuine specimens much easier.
Since so many counterfeit 1928 Peace Dollars are altered from 1923-dated coins, it is particularly useful to know the diagnostics that are seen on legitimate examples.
While they are not foolproof, these diagnostics add a significant level of confidence when authenticating a 1928 Peace Dollar.