Author Topic: Odd American counterfeits  (Read 201 times)

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Offline brandm24

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Odd American counterfeits
« on: September 16, 2020, 12:44:38 PM »
These two US coins are from the collection of a serious numismatist who also has an interest in counterfeit coins.

What makes these two different is that they've been matked by someone as "Counterfeit" or "Bad". The stamps, especially the "Bad" stamp is very old and is applied to an 1823 US Half Dollar...an obvious fake. Apparently, no other examples are known at present.

On the contrary, the "Counterfeit" stamp is known on at least five other counterfeit US coins. They include quarters, half dollars , and silver dollars. There's also one documented on a 1909 Canadian quarter.  It's an odd jumble of denominations and dates so trying to assign them a time period is difficult.

To muddy the waters even further, an example on an 1878 US silver dolllar also includes the word "Mutilate". It's possible that an old time collector decided to mark examples of counterfeits he had in his collection and went to the trouble of having a punch made for that purpose. There's no evidence that these coins were stamped by an official authority.

I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts.

Bruce
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Re: Odd American counterfeits
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2020, 01:20:50 PM »
The common denominator is silver. Perhaps a jeweller fed up with coins he couldn't use? Jewellers could probably make a punch themselves.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline brandm24

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Re: Odd American counterfeits
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2020, 05:08:18 PM »
The common denominator is silver. Perhaps a jeweller fed up with coins he couldn't use? Jewellers could probably make a punch themselves.

Peter
The thing that really puzzles me, Peter, is the odd variety of coins stamped "Counterfeit" Unfortunately, there are only 6 examples recorded but the dates of the six are 1853, 1882, 1894, 1896 1909, and 1917...a wide range for sure. The  five US coins would have circulated of course and probably the Canadian coin too, but it is a strange mix.

The "Bad" coin is interesting in that it's holed, so could have been worn as a charm of some sort. It's possible that "BAD" is someone's initials, but the fact that they're stamped on a counterfeit makes that possibility less likely.

It could be a silversmith as you opine...they would certainly have the skill to cut the dies.

Bruce
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Re: Odd American counterfeits
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2020, 06:03:20 PM »
It is a guess, but I think of jewellers as the ultimate repository of old silverware. Inheritances might have been a primary source. Silver coins from all ages would be a boon for a jeweller, because the silver content is guaranteed, so if he melts them together, no refining is necessary; a nice cost saver. Except that counterfeits can throw the mixture off balance, so the assay says to re-melt the lot and refine it. I also presume that some jewellers got to know their fakes. They would reject them, but not before stamping them, in order to warn their guild brethren. The family might not be overly proud of the counterstamped coins and dump them, which would explain the rarity, but also the diversity of the stamps.

Having said that, I remember an article in a US coin newspaper a few decades ago, during one of the "sell your silver coins now" crazes where a coin dealer said he had such a punch and used it whenever a fake came to him.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Online bagerap

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Re: Odd American counterfeits
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2020, 01:07:11 AM »
Over on coincommunity dot com you will find Robert Gurney aka swamperbob who is probably the most knowledgeable collector of contemporary circulating counterfeits. I think he might be interested in these.

Offline brandm24

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Re: Odd American counterfeits
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2020, 11:09:35 AM »
It is a guess, but I think of jewellers as the ultimate repository of old silverware. Inheritances might have been a primary source. Silver coins from all ages would be a boon for a jeweller, because the silver content is guaranteed, so if he melts them together, no refining is necessary; a nice cost saver. Except that counterfeits can throw the mixture off balance, so the assay says to re-melt the lot and refine it. I also presume that some jewellers got to know their fakes. They would reject them, but not before stamping them, in order to warn their guild brethren. The family might not be overly proud of the counterstamped coins and dump them, which would explain the rarity, but also the diversity of the stamps.

Having said that, I remember an article in a US coin newspaper a few decades ago, during one of the "sell your silver coins now" crazes where a coin dealer said he had such a punch and used it whenever a fake came to him.

Peter
That sounds like a real possibility, Peter. I don't suppose you remember any more details of the story...I'd love to read it.

Over on coincommunity dot com you will find Robert Gurney aka swamperbob who is probably the most knowledgeable collector of contemporary circulating counterfeits. I think he might be interested in these.

I'll look into that, bagerap. Thanks for the tip.

Bruce
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Re: Odd American counterfeits
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2020, 03:17:16 PM »
All I remember is that it was during or after the Hunt brothers idiocy, it was probably in World Coin News (not sure!) and I didn't keep the article. It'll be really hard to find, even if the paper has been scanned as it was somewhere in the middle of a longer article and I can't give you any good words to search for.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline brandm24

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Re: Odd American counterfeits
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2020, 07:46:27 PM »
Thanks, Peter. The NNP (Newman Numismatic Portal) has preserved a lot of numismatic periodicals so may have something. The trick of course is ti find the right issue. Like searching for someone named John Smith. ;D

Bruce
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