US Coins

Inside Coin World: What 1848 cent is always fake

This Professional Coin Grading Service About Uncirculated 53 1848 Coronet, Small Date cent counterfeit sold for $6,462.50 at auction in Heritage’s Jan. 10, 2014, auction.

Original images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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What 1848 large cent is always fake?

During the mid-19th century, counterfeiters made pieces intended to circulate as genuine coins. Today, many of those fakes are avidly collected, including a specific variety of large cent that is always counterfeit.

Gerald Tebben writes in his “Coin Lore” column, “The 1848 Coronet, Small Date cent is a passable fake,” long identified as fraudulent but collectible anyway. In fact, this counterfeit sells for higher prices than comparable genuine 1848 Coronet cents. Read the column in the June 18, 2018, issue of Coin World, exclusive to the print and digital editions.

Doubled die cents still in circulation

The 1995 Lincoln, Doubled Die Obverse cent made a huge stir when it was discovered and reported in Coin World, prompting thousands of collectors to search through their change. “With an average die life of about 1 million coins for a Lincoln cent circulation strike working die, the major doubled die proved to be somewhat common,” John Wexler writes in his “Varieties Notebook” column.

The variety can still be found in circulation with a little luck, and Wexler reports that a collector recently did just that, finding a circulated example in change. Learn about other recent collector finds in John’s most recent column.

Relating the history of a ‘Colonial’ fantasy piece

Counterfeit, Mis-Struck and Unofficial Coins, written by the idiosyncratic Don Taxay, is the “numismatic book with the clunkiest title, but best content,” writes Joel Orosz in “Numismatic Bookie” in the June 18 Coin World. “Just one tale from this distinctive book will convince you to buy it: the misadventures surrounding the NOVUM BELGIUM ‘colonial’ coin,” Joel writes.

The piece was briefly identified in the 19th century as a rare Colonial coin, though two feuding numismatists argued over its authenticity. Then a third numismatist admitted that he had actually made it, Taxay wrote in the book. As Joel writes, Taxay quit the numismatic field at the height of his career to join a “cult,” and was lost to the hobby forever.

Commemorative coin shenanigans in 1935

The coin community was healthy in the mid-1930s, writes Q. David Bowers in his “The Joys of Collecting” column. A new standard catalog of U.S. coins was introduced, and commemorative coin sales were underway.

One program, designed to financially benefit a single individual, helped to launch the commemorative coin boom of 1935–1936. The Daniel Boone Bicentennial half dollars attracted collector attention, and to make things even more interesting, small mintages of 1935-D and 1935-S coins were struck and sold to the collecting community at prices that seem like bargains today. Learn more in David’s column, found only in the June 18 issue of Coin World.

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