By Jack D. Young, Early American Coppers (EAC) ……
Continuing with the theme of silver denominations of recently made deceptive struck counterfeits, this research article features the 1849 Liberty Seated dollar and is the 20th written in the series! Documented examples initially only included TPG certified ones until late 2017 when a raw example surfaced in an internet listing of a watched bad seller (seller has since been removed from that venue); documented ”coins” to date consist of three certified and two raw examples including the holed source and suspected repaired source example.
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The 1849 is the second silver dollar in this series after the previously documented 1836 Gobrecht fakes and is also another of the holed and repaired varieties. In fact, the two raw examples were listed by their respective sellers as “Hole Repair”, which aided in the search not only for these but also several other denominations/ varieties–kind of like a reoccurring theme or M.O. for these counterfeiters!
Like many of the counterfeits we have researched in this series, this particular date and variety was listed in a past suspect group of certified “coins” ranging from a couple of now well-documented early half cents through the 1927-S Standing Liberty quarter and several Liberty Seated and Trade dollars.
The interesting spin on the subject example was how it was “discovered” over the Holidays in 2016. I had just compared the available images of the first one with a genuine example noting the obvious differences: the odd, non-parallel damaged shield lines readily stood out as a possible key to finding more. My son-in-law was visiting at the time and as I explained to him the process that I followed, I pulled up images of a second example from another certified group. To our amazement, this one matched the odd shield lines exactly! Who could have scripted that? The search was then on for more examples with the hope of actually finding the source coin for the dies.
A quick review of these first two shows a couple of common features on the reverse to help attribute them.
Continued searching quickly resulted in a third certified example found, again determined by comparing the odd shield features.
I then developed the following composite of these three to highlight the common shield “defects” with a rather clumsy numbering system to show they lined up.
From here I solicited the help of a friend to run overlays of the coin images to better illustrate the common marks.
The following images compare example #3 to #4 and then to #5–and the shield features line up along with other features.
And as is always the case when comparing more examples, a second defining feature emerged. This feature I refer to as the “Dotted A”.
I reviewed my findings with some friends in the Liberty Seated Collectors Club (LSCC) and verified there are no known 1849 Seated dollar varieties that have a dotted A. Yet here are three subject examples that do!
And the search for images of additional examples continued, resulting in the discovery of an interesting raw example.
The images are poor and grainy with no definition in the shield features but what caught my attention (besides the obvious large hole!) was a number of dents on the reverse. And if this “variety” follows previous ones in this continuing research, then more scrutiny is warranted to determine if this could be the damaged source coin.
The following images show this example compared to example #3 and a genuine example for reference. It is difficult to verify if the dot over the A is present due to the poor image quality but the obvious dent does appear to match.
As expected, the genuine example shows no indication of the dot.
Focusing on the damaged area it is apparent that after the hole repair the “E” would need to be re-engraved, and the image shows a rather crude letter on example #3 versus a genuine one.
Continued review of the holed example relative to example #3 shows additional matching attribution marks.
Similar toning and the light coloring in the expected repair areas on both the obverse and reverse suggest example #3 may be the genuine repaired source coin.
And as the hunt continued, another possible example came to light.
The images are low resolution but there are several features that appear common between this and example #3.
And as in previous investigations, reviewing listings of known internet sellers of counterfeits resulted in finding another raw example. In July of 2017, this example was listed and the listing was reported and removed prior to a sale. Unfortunately, the same one (same images) was listed by a different seller (unknown seller at the time) and sold in December.
It is interesting to note that one of the main identifying features, the damaged shield lines are not apparent in the images of this example, and there are a number of unique (to this one) dents and scratches added.
But the easily identifiable “dotted A” feature is rather prominent on this example, which helps identify these nearly from “across the room”!
As noted in previous research articles on this subject, a timeline proved helpful in trying to piece together the history of these, especially with the time lapses between examples:
Timeline for the 1849 Liberty Seated Dollar
- May 26, 2013 – Raw holed internet example – probable source coin
- October 29, 2014 – Raw internet example
- July 27, 2015 – TPG-certified internet example – possibly same as #1
- December 2016 – “Discovered” TPG-certified example
- December 2016 – TPG-certified example- Second “Discovered” example
- July 07, 2017 – Raw internet example; listing removed
- December 16, 2017 – Raw internet example; sold – same as #6
From this timeline there appear to be at least five different examples, and like previously documented “varieties”, the 1849 (included in our initial CoinWeek article “From the Brink to the Dark Side“) also started with the purchase of a damaged genuine coin that was repaired and used to make the counterfeit dies. And like others in this series, the repairs were accomplished with apparent skill until compared to images of known genuine examples where the affected details betray the efforts of the counterfeiters!
More research articles/attribution pages are in process; the focused team of watchers/researchers–including our FaceBook “Dark Side” members–continues to be vigilant in the documentation and communication of these latest deceptive threats to our hobby.
We can all draw our own conclusions about what is real or what is “Memorex”, but I am convinced more than one of these is counterfeit! I would ask that the readers be on the look-out for other duplicate examples and REPORT them; as with others we have documented in this series the chance is high that there are more “out there”!
As always, the research continues to be a collaborative effort with many Early American Coppers (EAC) members and friends participating.
—Jack D. Young, EAC 5050