A fistful of what appeared to be vintage silver coins turned out to be fakes
A couple of years ago, NGC received a submission of 14 seemingly Gem Uncirculated Walking Liberty half dollars. While they have odd luster and surfaces, the coins are quite flashy. From a distance, they may even appear quite attractive.
However, a closer look reveals their true nature. Every single one of them is a modern counterfeit of the same origin.
As you can see from the two photos above, the counterfeit actually has stronger details than the genuine coin. This is most notable in the sun’s rays, which are much more pronounced on the fake. However, the fake has numerous other issues that may not be evident at first glance.
The whole obverse has odd surfaces and die polish that is just not seen on genuine examples. Also note the strange horizontal lines across the body of Liberty, as well as the diagonal lines in front of her rear foot. That is some sort of die damage that was not properly removed by the counterfeiter, and similar lines can be seen between the sun rays and the dress.
The reverse also has numerous issues. It, too, has the same strange surfaces as the obverse, as well as the horizontal lines, although they are less pronounced. Also, note the incorrect shape of the “S” mintmark and the nearly completely missing designer’s initials.
This coin appears to be another in a recent spate of fakes struck from laser-engraved dies. While it certainly appears the “resolution” of these counterfeits is getting better, all it takes is a good loupe to see the lines left over from the creation of the dies. Lastly, the coins were all about one gram underweight and were struck in 59% Copper, 37% Zinc, 3% Nickel, and a mere 1% Silver as opposed to the normal 90% Silver and 10% Copper.
The collector may have been deceived by the flashy luster of these counterfeits. However, an expert who has seen many high-grade Walking Liberty halves would recognize these coins as counterfeits.
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