US Coins

Fake 1844 Seated dime in the marketplace identified by NGC

Forgers have artificially aged and toned this 1844 Seated Liberty dime to conceal elements that would give the piece away as a counterfeit.

Images courtesy of Numismatic Guaranty Corp.

The 1844 Seated Liberty dime is one of the most popular key dates from the Seated Liberty dime series, with just 72,500 examples struck at the Philadelphia Mint.

Genuine examples in heavily circulated condition are valued in the hundreds of dollars. So it’s no surprise when a counterfeit of this low mintage but easily available dime in circulated condition appears in the numismatic marketplace.

Numismatic Guaranty Corp. recently authenticated as fake an 1844 Seated Liberty dime that was submitted for grading and encapsulation. Collectors should take notice of the diagnostics.

The submission, appearing in a condition consistent with being Fine 12, had been artificially weathered to appear as though it had properly been in general circulation during the 19th century for a considerable period of time, according to NGC.

A genuine Fine 12 1844 Seated Liberty dime is listed in Coin World’s Coin Values at $400.

NGC’s grading staff expressed concerns over the 1844 Seated Liberty dime submission almost immediately from the start of the authentication process, starting first with the date, the firm said.

The serif at the bottom of the 1 in the date is too narrow compared to the 1 on a genuine 1844 dime, as are the vertical lines in the two 4s, according to NGC. The date digits overall have a more rounded appearance than the digits on the genuine pieces.

Design details are weak and especially noticeable on the obverse stars and Liberty’s body. The complete depiction of Liberty on the counterfeit exhibits extreme porosity.

The dentils on both obverse and reverse are weak, but especially flat on the reverse at the 5 o’clock position.

The forgery is 5 percent underweight — 2.54 grams instead of the standard 2.67 grams. A metallurgical analysis of the fake determined its composition to be 60 percent copper, 37 percent zinc and 2 percent silver, instead of 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper.

According to NGC, the counterfeit dime is also artificially aged and toned to conceal the deficiencies that would give the piece away as being bogus.

In the 1930s, collector Frank Ross, who hoarded 1844 Seated Liberty dimes and promoted them as great rarities, labeled the issue as the “Little Orphan Annie Dime.”

Genuine 1844 dimes are readily available, for a price, with Mint State pieces proving difficult to acquire.

Heritage Auctions offered a hoard of 612 1844 dimes in a July 2003 sale, which offered many collectors the opportunity to obtain an example for their collections.

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