By Jack D. Young, Early American Coppers (EAC) ……
In a discussion at the 2019 Dayton EAC Convention on counterfeits, we talked of three “families” of fakes: the 1804 “C-6” half cent set, the 1833 “N-5” large cent set, and the 1795 “off-center bust” dollar set.
The 1795 off-center bust, known as variety B-14 or BB-51, is unique to the date and an obvious bad numismatic choice for a family of differently dated counterfeits! Comparison images courtesy PCGS:
From the internet on a popular coin forum, two different examples were posted separately for review and discussion; the main concern of both OPs was authenticity.
I have created a set of images comparing this with the second posted example and highlighted common marks between the two as follows.
White circles indicate common “markers”; note: the breaks at stars 4 and 5 are common to the genuine variety and duplicated in these two as well.
These common marks have lead others to nickname these the “vampire” counterfeits, although there must be a genuine source example out there somewhere!
The reverses are pretty unremarkable for common marks; the red circle highlights a rim ding unique to the second example of these two.
These “coins” are pretty good representations of a genuine 1795 off-center bust dollar!
Now the fun begins, as the counterfeiters use the base example and die and create the improbable “family” series of dates.
To date, we have images for 1796, 1797, 1798 and a mystery 1799 half-member!
Of course, there are no off-center bust varieties for the year but here you have one complete with the “fang” marks and stamped REPLICA.
But there are those that are not so stamped and appear pretty deceptive to the inexperienced of the series.
As I have previously noted, a “Red Book” would help weed many of these out.
And next are the “1797s” as the family just keeps expanding!
And this one sports a realistic-looking die break.
And of course, there is a “1798” version – complete with matching family marks!
And the last, more of a half-brother if you would, is this “1799” correctly centered bust but the same reverse as the other family members… which is wrong for a 1799!
As I have previously stated in other articles one of the best ways to protect yourself from this type of fake for sale is to learn the series yourself.
Buy the reference books, join a discussion group or club focused on your interests (such as Early American Coppers – “EAC”) and ask other experienced members and friends. And review similar items on the internet: major auction house sales archives and NGC and PCGS’s variety pages are great on-line resources.
—Jack D. Young, EAC 5050
PS – As always, the research and summary articles continue to be a collaborative effort with many EAC members and Facebook “Dark Side” friends participating and contributing!