By Jack D. Young, Early American Coppers (EAC) ……
 

For the latest installment from the “Dark Corner“, I will review a certified “fake” example of the scarce 1796 Gold $2.50 No Stars quarter eagle. With a reported mintage of just 963 and the only one of its type in the series, even a low-grade or damaged example is worth big bucks! And the reason I state “fake” versus counterfeit will be revealed in a bit.

As always, I’ll start with images of the certified example:

Slab images (Certified and graded AG3 NO STARS – BENT CLEANED)

A dealer had this example come across their counter and was asking for opinions on it. My first reaction was What kind of a bird is that? Comparisons to a genuine example of a 1796 No Stars quarter eagle show more differences between the two to even count, but the date is a definite giveaway:

Obverse comparison to a genuine example on the right (image courtesy PCGS CoinFacts)
Date comparison (Subject coin on top)

More differences on the reverse including the rendition of an “eagle”.

Reverse comparison to a genuine example on the right (image courtesy PCGS CoinFacts)

Internet searches for a possible second example turned up a probable match, a Gallery Mint version. An obverse comparison shows the same profile/expression and blocky date:

Obverse comparison to a Gallery Mint example (image courtesy Heritage Auctions)

The reverse of this potential second specimen appears to be a match as well, although the subject example has been worn down to likely hide some of the Gallery Mint details (can you say COPY?).

Reverse comparison to a Gallery Mint example (image courtesy Heritage Auctions)

This would not be the first time a legitimate copy was worn and or tooled to hide the mandated copy mark in an attempt to make an “authentic” low-grade example; there was actually a GMM “1793 Large Cent” that made it into a certified holder several years back.

Be careful out there!

Best as always,

–Jack D. Young, EAC 5050

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1 COMMENT

  1. Great article. If they can fool the grading services what chance do amateurs and part-time dealers have. Education is the key when it comes to these things. Novices as well as professionals need to know what’s out there.

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