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.
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.
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…
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:
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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