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NGC Counterfeit Detection: 1921 Peace Dollar

Among other problems, this fake is too thick to be a genuine example of this key date


By Numismatic Guaranty Corporation ……

In 1921, the United States was still reeling from the effects of World War I. Over 116,000 American serviceman lost their lives in what was then called The Great War. Due to this, there was a great appreciation for the peace that had come upon the world following Germany’s signing of the Armistice agreement on November 11, 1918.

In honor of this newly found peace, the United States Mint began striking Peace Dollars on December 28, 1921. Due to the late start, only just over a million pieces were struck bearing the 1921 date. Recently, NGC graders received this peculiar example.

Counterfeit 1921 Peace Dollar.
Counterfeit 1921 Peace Dollar. Image Courtesy: NGC.

The 1921 Peace Dollar is one of the keys of the series and is worth hundreds of dollars in Mint State. This piece has the typical strike weakness in the hair due to improper striking pressure. However, the coin also has odd, proof-like fields that are unlike those found on genuine examples. The coin pictured above is, in fact, a die-struck counterfeit.

A close-up view shows multiple issues, which are explained below.
A close-up view shows multiple issues, which are explained below. Image Courtesy: NGC.

Besides the unnatural surfaces, the coin also has raised lumps on the devices. Additionally, the areas around the devices such as the letters and portrait show pitting. Lastly, there are numerous odd die lines throughout the coin, many of which are hidden in the hair. While these types of “scribbling” die scratches are sometimes seen on 1921 Morgan Dollars, they are not normal on a Peace Dollar.

Genuine 1921 Peace Dollar. Image Courtesy: NGC.
Genuine 1921 Peace Dollar. Image Courtesy: NGC.

Lastly, the counterfeit coin has almost no silver. While a normal Peace Dollar like the one pictured above will be struck in an alloy of 90% silver and 10% copper, this piece tested as 66% copper, 29% zinc, 3% nickel and only 0.3% silver. This counterfeit is actually a whole gram overweight at 27.7 grams. However, because the coin is not made of silver, it has to be much thicker than a genuine example due to the higher density of silver. This extra thickness is very noticeable and should immediately set off alarm bells.

Edge of Counterfeit Peace Dollar (bottom) and genuine (top). Image Courtesy: NGC
Edge of Counterfeit Peace Dollar (bottom) and genuine (top). Image Courtesy: NGC.

Whenever you are purchasing a key date coin, it is extremely important to thoroughly examine it using all tools at your disposal. While a scale and perhaps a pair of calipers are helpful, the most important tool of all is knowledge. This is not simply the knowledge of how much a coin should weigh or its proper thickness, but also what a genuine example should look like.

The NGC grading team has decades of experience and can easily spot a counterfeit like this one. Before purchasing an uncertified key date coin, it is important to look at many known genuine examples. If you are in the market for a key date coin and have any doubts about your authentication abilities, the best thing you can do is to purchase an example in an NGC holder, as it is backed by the NGC Guarantee of grade and authenticity.

Did you know? NGC has created a comprehensive Counterfeit Detection resource to help collectors and dealers identify counterfeit and altered coins. Visit NGCcoin.com/counterfeit.

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Interested in reading more articles on Counterfeit Detection? Click here.

Numismatic Guaranty Company
Numismatic Guaranty Companyhttps://www.ngccoin.com/
NGC was founded in 1987 and has become one of the largest third-party grading services. Their parent company is the Certified Collectibles Group (CCG).

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  1. I have 2 1921 peace dollars coming in weighing 22.1 grams . They were loose in a cloth bag but that seem like way to low to be real. Any help greatly appreciated.

  2. The gentleman Said they might be replicas and I could return if I had an issue. Not replicas but fakes as far as I can tell. Do I just return or do I do something more drastic. . I don’t want to be screwed or others. They look pretty good. Are they worth anything specifying fakes!


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