Readers Ask column from the Jan. 30, 2016, issue of
Can you please help? My mother left what we think is a gold quarter
eagle dated 1906, but the UNITED part in UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is
misspelled NUIETD. Have you ever seen this before and is it a fake?
I have attached photos of both face and reverse of coin. My sister
tells me that the coin may have come from Buffalo Bill’s Traveling
Circus that was here [in England] in the early 1900s. Whether this
is true we don’t know.
Ian Robert Powell / Via email
I believe it’s a safe bet that the piece is some sort of souvenir
piece (maybe a watch fob) and not an actual coin. While the U.S. Mint
has had its share of production blunders over its nearly
225-year-history, your piece is not one of them.
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A cursory glance suggests a 1906 Coronet gold $2.50 quarter eagle
inspired the design of this piece, but closer inspection indicates it
is no genuine coin. Not only is UNITED shown as NUIETD on the reverse,
but STATES appears as SATASE and AMERICA as AEMERICA.
The reverse letters on your piece are larger than on a genuine gold
coin, while the D in the denomination is smaller than on a genuine
On the obverse of your piece, the digits in the date are crudely
cut, the six-pointed stars are ill-defined, the inscription LIBERTY on
the coronet is missing the R, the curls in Liberty’s hair are wrongly
positioned and lack detail, and Liberty is missing most of the string
of beads used to secure the hair into a bun at the back of her head.
Regarding a Buffalo Bill link, after a 10-year hiatus performing
elsewhere, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show returned to Europe in
December 1902 with a 14-week run in London, capped by a visit from
King Edward VII and the future King George V.
The Wild West show traveled throughout Great Britain in a tour in
1902 and 1903 and a tour in 1904, performing in nearly every city
large enough to support it.
However, the show’s final tours in Europe in 1905 and 1906 did not
include stops in England.