Counterfeiters now producing fake copper coins like Mexican 1931-Mo 5-centavos

Detecting Counterfeits column from the Sept. 8, 2014, issue of Coin World
By , Coin World
Published : 08/22/14
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The flood of counterfeit coins from China continues to expand.

After spending years producing fakes of silver dollar-sized coins like U.S. Trade dollars and Morgan dollars, Spanish Colonial 8-real coins, Japanese silver 1-yen pieces, and 20th century China Republic dollars, we are now seeing fakes of better date copper coins from numerous countries.

The fake shown here is a rare date example, a Mexico 1931-Mo 5-centavo coin.

Worth the effort

The Standard Catalog of World Coins lists prices for this coin at $1,500 in Extremely Fine and $4,000 in Uncirculated, making it well worth the effort to counterfeit.

The downside to faking rare issues is that these pieces are given extra scrutiny when being bought and sold, and taking a close look at this counterfeit gives it away.

It appears that a genuine 1921 5-centavo coin was used as a model coin.

The 2 in the date on the genuine coin was altered to a 3, then counterfeit transfer dies were produced from the altered model coin.

When you look at the 3 in the date on the fake, the upper half of the 3 has a natural look, while the lower half appears to have been hand-cut, with a clumsy appearance.

Fuzzy details, sharp edge

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