US Coins

Counterfeiters targeting 30th Anniversary Proof Eagle

Manufacturers of the counterfeit Proof 2016-W American Eagle silver dollars that have begun to enter the marketplace were apparently unaware that the genuine U.S. Mint issues bear an incuse 30th anniversary edge inscription on a smooth, not reeded edge.

Virginia collector Andrew Castellano said he purchased on Oct. 1 at a Lynchburg, Va., flea market what turns out to be a counterfeit Proof 2016-W American Eagle and a fake Proof 2015-W piece. Castellano said he paid $20 each for the pieces.

Castellano said he didn’t realize his misfortune until after he left the flea market. He said he should have checked the edge on the 2016 piece he purchased, since he had ordered and received five genuine coins from the U.S. Mint.

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All Proof American Eagle silver coins issued from 1986 through 2015 and all Uncirculated versions issued from 2006 through 2015 exhibit a reeded edge, as do all bullion coins from 1986 through 2016.

The Uncirculated 2016-W American Eagle silver dollar, still to be released by the Mint, will bear the 30th anniversary edge inscription, as the already released Proof 2016-W dollar does.

The counterfeit Proof 2016 piece, while at first glance appearing to be genuine based on strike alone, exhibits reeding completely around the edge, imparted from a single collar die.

The edge of the genuine Proof 2016-W American Eagle silver dollar, on sale since Sept. 16 and priced at $53.95 each from the Mint, has the edge inscribed 30TH ANNIVERSARY right side up at the 6 o’clock position, relative to the obverse.

The Mint’s edge device, mandated by Congress, was applied using a retractable, three-part segmented collar, with the other two segments being plain.

The die orientation for the counterfeit is medal turn, instead of the coin turn of the genuine coin.

In coin turn, the reverse is oriented 180 degrees from the obverse when the coin is turned on its vertical axis. In medal turn, the obverse and reverse designs are both right side up when the coin is turned on its vertical axis.

The genuine Proof American Eagle silver dollar weighs 31.101 grams and 40.6 millimeters in diameter. The counterfeit weighs 31.1845 grams and is 38.1 millimeters, the diameter of a Morgan dollar.

Coin World has not been able to determine the counterfeit coin’s composition. 

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