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HomeUS CoinsFrom the Dark Corner: An "Authenticated" Counterfeit 1872-S Half Dollar

From the Dark Corner: An “Authenticated” Counterfeit 1872-S Half Dollar

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

In my previous installment of this CoinWeek exclusive series, I discussed examples that do NOT match known varieties of the series including one made to match a nonexistent “coin”! This installment’s subject is one of my favorites and like every one discussed here would be suspicious at least if just compared to the known existing varieties.

As always I will start with images of the “Dark Corner” 1872-S Counterfeit half dollar for this installment.

Counterfeit 1872-S Half Dollar

Another Counterdeit 1872-S half dollar

Another great-looking specimen, this one created major issues when trying to attribute it. My problem with this one was I could not find a documented 1872-S variety with this mint mark size and location.

From the Dark Corner: An

Well out of my area of expertise, I looked for help through the Liberty Seated Collectors Club (LSCC) and was told they were reviewing a similar certified example as well…

From the Dark Corner: An

Discussions with the experts made it clear why I was having issues with this one, as the reverse was all wrong for the date – it was from an 1875-S! Technically, the obverse was from an 1872-P by die state, and the reeding count of the edge was from an 1876!

Comparisons of the two examples also lead to noticing some matching circulation marks, which became attribution points as well for other struck copies, illustrated as follows:

From the Dark Corner: An

The use of common circulation marks for identifying struck fakes has been practiced for decades, but it is easier now with the ability to search the internet auction archives and selling venues for similar examples, a huge step forward in counterfeit identification.

So of course we found other examples of this “nonexistent variety” on an internet selling venue and some sellers I watch there!

For additional discussion, one can read my more extensive research summary here.

Best as always,

–Jack D. Young, EAC 5050

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Jack D. Young
Jack D. Young
An engineer by training, Jack D. Young is a researcher and author on the subject of the recent wave of deceptive struck counterfeits. He is the founder of the "Dark Side" Counterfeits and Fakes Facebook watch group, a participating member of Early American Coppers (EAC) since 2002, the Liberty Seated Collectors Club (LSCC), C4, the NLG, the ANA, and the ANS. Jack has consulted on the subject of counterfeits and their effect on the Hobby with staffers of the United States Senate Finance Committee, a senior member of the U.S. Secret Service (both with the ACTF as an Expert Network volunteer), and agents of both CBP and the Department of the Treasury. His work has appeared in various club journals, including The Numismatist, and he was acknowledged for his research by Q. David Bowers in the latter's The Copper Coins of Vermont (2018). The ACTF awarded Jack Young the Alan Kreuzer Award in 2019 and the PNG presented him with the Sol Kaplan Award in 2022. He started collecting as a youth, filling a Lincoln penny board with his grandmother, and continues to collect low-grade early large cents by date and some varieties.

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  1. I was suckered on a trade dollar fraud coin at auction here lately. Have a current case with the attorney generals office here in Az against the perps. They knowingly sold it and it was a fraud coin. People r crooks. The govt. Is doing nothing about it.


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