US Coins

Inside Coin World: Most coin series are counterfeited

ANACS authenticator and Coin World columnist Michael Fahey warns that nearly all U.S. coin series are at risk of being counterfeited in China, counterfeits that are then shipped en masse to the U.S. Shown is a counterfeit 1834 Classic Head cent.

Original images courtesy of ANACS.

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Detecting Counterfeits: Nearly all series are a target

In his “Detecting Counterfeits” column, Michael Fahey, an authenticator and grader for ANACS, warns that virtually every U.S. coin series is at risk from being counterfeited by companies working in China. He notes that the ANACS grading room has recently seen an increase in these Chinese counterfeits.

In his column, found exclusively in the April 8 issue of Coin World, he examines one coin in particular: an 1834 Classic Head cent. He identifies the diagnostics for the coin and illustrates key points for collectors to look for if offered a cent of that date.

To read more about the threat counterfeiters are posing to the U.S. coin market, read Michael’s column, found only in the digital and print editions of Coin World.

Surprise findings: Old newspaper articles revealing

In the late 1840s, newspapers across the country began reporting that counterfeit $500 Treasury notes had entered circulation. Treasury officials eventually seized the printing plate for them and some of the actual notes. That knowledge, however, faded away. A century and more later, one of those notes was listed as genuine in a major reference book.

Then researcher Nick Bruyler found those old newspaper articles, and in comparing the details of the notes described in the 160-year-old news articles, discovered that a note that sold for $199,750 in a 2016 auction was one of these old counterfeits.

In his feature article in the April 8 issue of Coin World, Nick takes readers back in time and reveals how the lost knowledge was rediscovered to help rewrite what we thought we knew about this rare note. Read the article, found only in the digital and print editions of Coin World.

Coin Values Spotlight: Flying Eagle cents

In my “Coin Values Spotlight” column for the week, I look at one of the shortest series of U.S. coins — the Flying Eagle cents. The first small cents — called “nickels” when they first circulated, because of their 12 percent nickel content — were struck for circulation for just two years.

In the column, I argue that a ”complete” collection could consist of just four coins (not including the 1856 pattern pieces), one from 1857, the Large Letters and Small Letters coins of 1858, and the 1858/7 overdate variety. The first three of those coins are available for $50 or less in Fine 12 condition, and the overdate might cost a few hundred dollars at the most in the same grade.

To learn more about collecting the Flying Eagle cents, see my column in the April 8 issue of Coin World.

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