US Coins

If 1922 half dollars don't exist, what is this coin?

Detecting Counterfeits column from Sept. 12, 2016, Weekly issue of Coin World:

Over the past year I have received a number of emails and phone calls from confused numismatists concerning the various fantasy issues produced by Daniel Carr.

Many of these communications have focused on one of Mr. Carr’s more famous creations, the overstrike 1964-D Peace dollar, although a more recent call was about the piece shown here, an overstrike 1922-D Walking Liberty half dollar.

For those of you unfamiliar with Dan Carr’s work, he typically starts with genuine U.S. coins. These coins are subjected to one or more processes that allow them to be overstruck properly.

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Using dies that he has produced himself, Mr. Carr then overstrikes the genuine coins, resulting in a fantasy piece that he sells to collectors. These fantasy pieces are almost always coins that do not exist, such as dimes, quarter dollars and half dollars with a 1922 date (none were struck at any U.S. Mint).

I have a lot of respect for Dan Carr’s skills as an artist and a die-sinker — many of his creations are true works of art. For example, he produced a 1909-O Morgan silver dollar fantasy overstrike in Cameo Deep Mirror Prooflike that is absolutely gorgeous — after you inspect one of these, you will wish that all your Morgan silver dollars were this visually appealing.

He is also very careful to let collectors know that these are privately made overstrikes, and that no one should attempt to sell them as genuine coins.

Unfortunately, every now and then one of these overstrikes ends up in the possession of someone who is not familiar with them. The phone call I received concerning the 1922-D Walking Liberty half dollar began with the following message: “I may have a really rare coin — it is not listed in any of the price guides.” It did not take too long for me to identify the piece as a Dan Carr overstrike, although the disappointed caller probably contacted a few more people before accepting what I told him.

If you need to identify an unusual item as a Dan Carr fantasy overstrike issue, you can visit his website, for images and descriptions.

Most of the pieces he has produced over the years can be viewed here, along with other interesting information about his work.

For example, he submitted the winning designs for the 2001 New York and Rhode Island State quarter dollars, and the 2003 Maine State quarter dollar was based upon his design.

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