By Jack D. Young, Early American Coppers (EAC) ……
This is my third article regarding counterfeit Colonial “coins” and is a rather significant find; it follows the same process for the recent deceptive struck early coppers believed to be Chinese in manufacture. This latest one appears to be from an earlier time, prior to the current level of technology and was suggested to actually be English in origin! This research continues to be a collaborative effort with many participating club, Facebook “Dark Side” members, friends, and C4 experts participating.
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I was part of a C4 (Colonial Coin Collectors Club) research meeting on November 10 at the Baltimore Whitman Coin Expo with a group of Colonial Coin Experts reviewing the following two known examples of 1723 D:G REX Silver Hibernias “in-hand”, as well as the images from this research; the results are documented in conclusion at the end of this article…
But, quickly cutting to the chase (so to speak), the group unanimously agreed the two silver examples are struck counterfeits, an outcome and consensus I hadn’t expected (especially considering there were eight participants including the owners in what turned out to be a nearly two-hour review of both examples and the following marked up images).
This research begins at the same point as the 1785 Bar copper, with excerpts from a 1979 article written by Eric P. Newman for The Numismatist; in that article Newman documents and discloses several of what he considered to be deceptive cast counterfeit Colonial “coins”. This current article starts with one of the eight varieties discussed there, a copper D:G REX Hibernia. I have identified example “#3” as the apparent subject of that discussion behind the two silver examples that are the focus of this article (#’s 1 and 2); provenance indicates this example was from a 1978 auction, and reported as “withdrawn”.
“Copper” Example #3
“(Auctioned at ANA convention in 1978 as “Branigan Estate” Lot 14, but apparently withdrawn); it appears that Eric Newman (Numismatist, April 1979) specifically condemned the copper coin as a copy”. Distinctive edge clip and surface marks; no apparent die break from “NIA” or “7”
Image from the Newman/Numismatist article (NNP)
Continued searching for any other copper examples matching this one resulted in documenting an example sold in a 2007 Goldberg auction as follows:
“Copper” Example #4: 2007 Goldberg Auction # 39, Lot #55. Clip and surface marks; break from ”NIA”, none through “7” (Courtesy Goldberg)
Silver Example #1 (image with edge view courtesy PCGS)
“Appears to be (from the state of wear) the coin auctioned by Bowers and Merena in 1989 (lot #1011)”.
Silver Example #2 (image with edge view courtesy PCGS). Reportedly “purchased from a February, 1973 Coin World ad”
Example #2 was previously submitted to the TPG, imaged and measured and then returned to the submitter raw; major “circulation/ planchet marks were noted. After images of #1 were made available, these marks were compared, with the significant matches between the two indicated and documented. After a period of time and conversations, the meeting to review both examples in Baltimore was agreed to and scheduled.
Prior to actually meeting, example #1 was sent to the TPG for their review. Measurements and additional images were taken for comparison to the second example, with results summarized and sent to the meeting group in preparation of the review; the C4 study room in the convention center was scheduled for a two-hour block for Friday afternoon.
The evaluation process used was based on the writer’s current Chinese struck counterfeit method of image review, and was aided by the availability of actual examples for “in-hand” analysis. This allowed for the actual physical measurement data to be generated and compared between examples.
As in previous research articles, image comparisons are key in the evaluation process:
Example #3 (L); Example #1 (R)
White circles indicate common marks, Red non-common marks.
Example #4 (L); Example #1(R)
Example #1 (L); Example #2 (R)
A time-line proved difficult for this discussion; additional research required into timing and
provenance is ongoing but beyond the scope of this brief article. In an interesting side-note, there are copies of correspondence between several known experts (apparently are about one of the silver examples from 1964) available on the Newman Numismatic Portal, but the attribution number doesn’t match these, which may be an error, or there is another similar but different fake variety out there!
Results of 11/10/17 in-hand review meeting of the two silver examples:
- Both of the silver examples were agreed to be struck counterfeits.
- Both examples appear to be die struck on cast silver planchets.
- The documented copper example from the 2007 Goldberg auction could be the “source”
coin for the dies, or could be a counterfeit as well (split decision), but the group agreed a copper example with the odd edge damage/clip/test cut was the source for the dies.
- It was speculated that these could have been created in England in the 1960s along with other high-quality Colonial fakes; a silver Immune Columbia was cited as being in the group (that is another story in progress).
- The dies used to strike the two known examples probably broke, explaining the unique
(for the variety) die break at the “7” in the date, not previously seen on any known copper example.
I can again report this investigation has been a collaborative effort with many Early American Copper Society (EAC), C4 members and “Dark Side” participants (our focused Facebook group of counterfeit researchers) instrumental in the sharing of pics and info in the effort to “get the word out”, and I would like to thank you! Again I’ve drawn no personal conclusions about which is real or which is “Memorex”, but defer to the experts for the findings reported above. I would ask that the readers be on the look-out for other duplicate examples and REPORT them.
Remember, the truth is out there!
–Jack D. Young, EAC 5050
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