US Coins

Readers Ask: Possibly an early counterfeit

The design of a George Washington quarter dollar was modified for use on this piece bearing a 1944 date and a $20 denomination. The piece could not be found in any standard references, and could be a Chinese-made counterfeit.

Images courtesy of Jerry Mentzer.

I have tried to find information on this token without any success.

Its size is between a Presidential dollar and a half dollar, measuring approximately 28.6 millimeters. I believe it has a brass composition and weighs 10.6 grams.

It has the design of a 1944 Washington quarter dollar, with $20 under the eagle design on the reverse. It may at one time have had some edge lettering but it is illegible.

My guess is it that this is some kind of American gambling token but I cannot find any information about it.

Help identifying it would be greatly appreciated.

Jerry Mentzer

via email

From the photograph provided, we suspect that it might be an early Chinese counterfeit coin rather than a gaming token.

When Chinese counterfeits of U.S. coins started popping up, little care and attention seemed to be placed on making sure design details were exact.

Coin World reviewed the book Medallic Portraits of Washington by Russell Rulau and George J. Fuld, and did not see anything that looked similar to your find.

Both sides of the pictured piece have fairly crude renderings of the designs used of the portrait of George Washington on the obverse and the eagle on the reverse.

The George Washington quarter dollar was first introduced in 1932 and a modification of the original obverse design continues in use on the present quarter dollar.

That design was originally created by New York sculptor John Flanagan.

This piece has a 1944 date, which is not a key date for the series.

On the reverse, the eagle looks sharply different from the eagle on an authentic quarter dollar, but other modifications of the design, the $20 within the wreath area and the changing of QUARTER DOLLAR to TWENTY DOLLAR, are most noticeable.

An authentic quarter dollar from 1944 would be composed of .900 silver, .100 copper, and have a weight of 6.25 grams. The diameter of a quarter dollar is 24.3 millimeters. Authentic quarters also have a reeded edge.

Obviously, significant variance is found between an authentic piece and the item you found.

Coin World has seen other examples of counterfeit coins utilizing the George Washington quarter dollar design. One example has a similar design on both sides, but has an 1865 date (not possible), and a ONE DOLLAR inscription on the reverse.

Coin World’s Readers Ask department does not accept coins or other items for examination without prior permission from Coin World. Readers Ask also does not examine error or variety coins. Materials sent to Readers Ask without prior permission will be returned unexamined. Please address all Readers Ask inquiries to or call 800-673-8311, Ext. 172.

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