Detecting Counterfeits column from the May 9, 2016, Weekly issue of
The Canada 1875-H 25-cent piece is one of the scarcer issues in the
Canadian series. It is currently listed in the Standard Catalog of
World Coins at $3,000 in Extremely Fine condition, and $20,000
in Mint State. With prices like these, counterfeiters have a strong
financial incentive to make copies, and our “friends” in China came
through like they usually do.
The fake shown here is not what I would call a “deceptive copy.”
Under magnification the details are a bit fuzzy and ragged, and the
date was hand-engraved onto the counterfeit die. The hand-cut date is
a good indicator that the counterfeiters did not use a genuine 1875-H
25-cent coin to make their fake dies. They used a common date of the
same type, transferred the details over to the counterfeit dies, then
altered the date on the fake die to 1875. This process eliminates the
need to acquire an expensive genuine example.
Additionally, this fake has edge reeding that is much stronger and
sharper than on a genuine coin — when you hold the coin by the edge,
it has the feel of a modern U.S. Proof quarter dollar. Getting the
edge right is not a priority with Chinese counterfeiters, so it is one
of the first things a collector should check when making an
This fake weighs 5.25 grams, compared to a genuine example, which
should weigh approximately 5.81 grams. This amount of weight loss
could occur on a genuine coin, but only if it had worn down to About
Good or had part of the coin cut off.
An undamaged example that appears to grade at least About
Uncirculated should fall into the range of 5.70 to 5.85 grams —
anything outside this weight range should be viewed with suspicion.
Any better date Canadian coin should be given a careful inspection
with a quality magnifier under good lighting. The flood of
counterfeits coming out of Asia is showing no signs of slowing down.
You should also be cautious with odd-looking examples that are
encapsulated in one of the major grading service’s holders — the
counterfeiters are also getting better at making fake holders for
their fake coins.