US Coins

Is 2007-P Little Rock dollar fake

Readers Ask from Feb. 8, 2016, issue of Coin World:

Has anyone reported a counterfeit Uncirculated Little Rock dollar? I have one that weighs 27.4 grams. It came in government packaging. When I looked at it, it looked like a circulated coin. As I looked at it more, I started to feel it just isn’t right.

Jerry Scherer  /  via email

The authorizing legislation for the silver dollar, the Little Rock Commemorative Coin Act, Public Law 109-146, calls for a weight of 26.73 grams for the Uncirculated 2007-P Little Rock Central High School Desegregation silver dollar struck at the Philadelphia Mint.

While the coin you have is heavier by 2.5 percent than legislated, that is not necessarily an indicator the coin might be counterfeit. The coin surfaces, however, do not look as silvery, brilliant and full of luster as they should. The piece exhibits more of a gray hue.

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I took your coin to the Jan. 6 to 10 Florida United Numismatists Convention in Tampa and had it examined by two professional numismatists that are both authenticator-graders — John Roberts for ANACS and Skip Fazzari for Independent Coin Graders.

Both prefaced their evaluations with the proviso that they did not have a benchmark from which to make a determination, since neither had on hand another example for comparison to your coin. Both Roberts and Fazzari did not like the overall appearance of your coin, and indicated the reeded edge more resembled U.S. coin issues of a century ago. They also both noted the coin’s surfaces had areas that indicated handling, as well as likely polyvinyl chloride damage, from being removed from the plastic capsule and stored in a soft PVC coin flip from which chemical plasticizers leached out onto the coin.

I located an example from dealer Marc T. Earle from St. Petersburg, Fla., of a known genuine Little Rock dollar still sealed in its government holder. When Roberts and Fazzari independently compared the genuine to the suspect coin, they both concluded your coin is genuine, but mishandled.

Earle also used an electronic precious metals verifier, which verified your coin is made from the 90 percent silver it’s supposed to be. 

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