From the Dark Corner: An “Authenticated” Suspect Counterfeit 1799 Bust Dollar

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

In my previous article, I discussed examples that include matching “attribution” marks – circulation marks like scratches, nicks, and dents that are specific to one coin and should not be seen in other examples. Such is the case for the subject of this installment, documented in a counterfeit detection summary by the ANA from 1977-1982 articles in The Numismatist. “Counterfeit 1799 Bust Dollars” starts on page 93 of the collective summary.

As always I will start with images of the “Dark Corner” example for this installment.

Raw Internet Selling Venue Example

This example was listed for sale in a popular internet selling venue and reported to the counterfeit review Facebook group the “Dark Side“. The concern was the result of an obvious matching defect/mark in the “R” of LIBERTY to an ANACS-documented pair of counterfeits.

The other attributable common marks from the ANA summary (Internet example on the right)
Images of the 2 ANA documented counterfeits

The seller was notified of the concerns with his item and the listing was ended; in conversation, the seller stated the coin would be sent to a TPG for authentication/certification.

These are based on a genuine 1799 B-16, BB-158 Large Eagle Bust Dollar; comparison images below:

Subject example on the left, known genuine example (courtesy PCGS CoinFacts) on the right

Although the subject example displays the characteristics of a genuine die state III coin with the clash marks over the date and through OF on the reverse, the obvious mark on the “R” is not a die state of a genuine BB-158.

Time passed prior to the seller’s relist, this time with the coin in a TPG holder as authentic!

Slab images (Certified and graded AU DETAILS WHIZZED)

Another note to the seller resulted in an agreement to send it back to the TPG for review. As I stated in my previous installment, the use of common circulation marks for identifying struck fakes has been practiced for some time and was instrumental in identifying these. What we don’t know is if there is a genuine example “out there” or if the main identifying feature was the result of the process of making the false dies to strike the counterfeits.

After review at the TPG, I received a note from the seller that the coin was determined to be a “struck counterfeit” and the online cert updated to “NOT GENUINE”.

Best as always,

–Jack D. Young, EAC 5050

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  1. Jack, thank you highlighting these deceptive fakes. Without this diligence, the hobby will rot from this influx of counterfeits. Please keep it up!


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