US Coins

Imitation of 1906 U.S. gold coin in jewelry bezel

Readers Ask column from the Jan. 30, 2016, issue of Coin World:

Can you please help? My mother left what we think is a gold quarter eagle dated 1906, but the UNITED part in UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is misspelled NUIETD. Have you ever seen this before and is it a fake? I have attached photos of both face and reverse of coin. My sister tells me that the coin may have come from Buffalo Bill’s Traveling Circus that was here [in England] in the early 1900s. Whether this is true we don’t know.

Ian Robert Powell / Via email

I believe it’s a safe bet that the piece is some sort of souvenir piece (maybe a watch fob) and not an actual coin. While the U.S. Mint has had its share of production blunders over its nearly 225-year-history, your piece is not one of them.

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A cursory glance suggests a 1906 Coronet gold $2.50 quarter eagle inspired the design of this piece, but closer inspection indicates it is no genuine coin. Not only is UNITED shown as NUIETD on the reverse, but STATES appears as SATASE and AMERICA as AEMERICA.

The reverse letters on your piece are larger than on a genuine gold coin, while the D in the denomination is smaller than on a genuine gold coin.

On the obverse of your piece, the digits in the date are crudely cut, the six-pointed stars are ill-defined, the inscription LIBERTY on the coronet is missing the R, the curls in Liberty’s hair are wrongly positioned and lack detail, and Liberty is missing most of the string of beads used to secure the hair into a bun at the back of her head.

Regarding a Buffalo Bill link, after a 10-year hiatus performing elsewhere, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show returned to Europe in December 1902 with a 14-week run in London, capped by a visit from King Edward VII and the future King George V.

The Wild West show traveled throughout Great Britain in a tour in 1902 and 1903 and a tour in 1904, performing in nearly every city large enough to support it. 

However, the show’s final tours in Europe in 1905 and 1906 did not include stops in England.

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