US Coins

U.S. counterfeits reportedly decades old

A western Ohio numismatist recently purchased, for educational purposes only, a collection of counterfeit United States coins, most purportedly fabricated more than 60 years ago.

Roy Emery from Old Fort Coins in Fort Recovery, Ohio, said he learned of the assemblage of counterfeits when he met their owner recently at a coin show in nearby Mendon, Ohio. The collector indicated he would stop by Emery’s coin shop sometime when his schedule permitted.

three auction catalogsInside Coin World: Pick strawberries, get tokens: Strawberry pickers tokens, 1883 Liberty Head 5-cent coins and a die marriage of the 1878-CC Morgan dollar are among the topics of columns in the Nov. 26 issue of Coin World.

When the collector finally brought the 73-piece collection in for Emery to evaluate, each piece was mounted individually, secured at the rims by miniature nails shaped like railroad spikes, in a wooden display case.

Emery said that of the 73 pieces, only two were genuine. The bulk of the counterfeits represented roughly 60 U.S. half cents and large cents, with a few small cents, and a handful of first-year-of-issue 18th century U.S. coins.

Emery said the owner, from nearby St. Marys, Ohio, claimed he had owned the fakes for 13 years, and had purchased them from another collector who amassed them over a 53-year period. The collector who sold the counterfeits to Emery knew when he bought them from their previous owner that they were fakes. It’s not known if the original collector knew they were inauthentic.

Other than the word of the collector who sold the pieces to Emery, no evidence was presented to determine when the counterfeits might actually have been made.

The fakes include a 1793 Flowing Hair, Chain, AMERICA cent; an 1856 Flying Eagle cent; 1877 Indian Head cent; 1909-S Lincoln, V.D.B. cent; a 1794 Flowing Hair dollar; 1796 Draped Bust dime; 1796 Draped Bust quarter dollar; 1796 Draped Bust half dollar; 1873 Trade dollar; and an 1885-CC Trade dollar, a year for which there was no production of Trade dollars at the Carson City Mint in Nevada.

The 1794 dollar is composed of 82.7 percent silver, 9.7 percent copper and 7 percent zinc.

Emery said if the counterfeits were genuine, their total value could run in the millions of dollars.

Emery said he paid the collector $300 plus a regular 2018-S Proof set in trade.

Emery plans to add the fakes to his counter display of counterfeits he has accumulated over the years, which include bogus silver bars and silver rounds.

There’s also a magnetic 1873 Trade dollar he’s had for years that is composed of 81.3 percent iron, 12.6 percent nickel and 0.36 percent silver. Another magnetic piece for which he didn’t have the composition details is a 1796 dollar that bears the obverse design of the Flowing Hair dollar, which was produced in 1794 and 1795 before the Draped Bust design went into production in 1796. 

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