US Coins

American Eagle with the lowest mintage?: Inside Coin World

The 1902-O Morgan dollar profiled in the July 10 print issue is a counterfeit that was actually produced to circulate alongside the real ones. Subscribe to our Digital Edition and learn more.

Original images courtesy of Michael Fahey and John Roberts.

A counterfeit not meant to defraud collectors

A 1902-O Morgan dollar profiled in Michael Fahey’s “Detecting Counterfeits” column is a counterfeit, but it is not of recent vintage and was not intended to defraud collectors (though it was still issued fraudulently).

The coin “is part of a large group of contemporary counterfeits that circulated many decades ago,” Fahey writes, adding, “Current thinking is that these fakes were the product of cast dies made from genuine coins.”

The big diagnostic element for the fake is a reverse of the wrong style.


What American Eagle has the lowest mintage?

The Uncirculated 2008-W American Eagle half-ounce platinum coin has a notable distinction: at a final sales figure of 2,253 coins, it has the lowest mintage of any American Eagle of any kind.

Scott Schechter explains that the coin was first offered a few months after the price of platinum had reached its highest level ever; the half-ounce coin was first offered for $1,199.95, with the price of platinum at a bit under $1,900.

Schechter writes: “Platinum then fell off a cliff! Its value plummeted by approximately $300 per month for the next three months.” The uncertainty in the market price of the metal had a negative effect on sales of the Uncirculated platinum coins.


Finding a really old coin in a roll of dimes

In his latest “Found in Rolls” column, Bill O’Rourke departs from his standard approach — sharing his own finds with readers — to share a discovery made by a fellow Coin World subscriber, and what a find it was.

Reader Bruce Beasley opened a roll of Roosevelt dimes and found a coin that is some 1,600 years old. O’Rourke identifies the piece as an “ancient Roman coin picturing Emperor Valens.”

O’Rourke adds, “Valens (328 to 378 A.D.), fully Flavius Julius Valens Augustus, was Eastern Roman emperor from March 28, 364, to Aug. 9, 378.” The coin Beasley found dates to Valens’ reign.


Ghostly visage on a Kennedy half dollar

“Coins are haunted by many types of ghost images,” writes Mike Diamond in his Collectors’ Clearinghouse column. “One of the least appreciated is the ‘greasy ghost.’”

Diamond describes and depicts several such pieces, including “a 1991-D Kennedy half dollar with a perfectly normal obverse and a greasy ghost of Kennedy’s bust on the reverse face.” He explains how such pieces occur and believes that a grading service that examined the coin misidentified the error involved.

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