Detecting Counterfeits column from the July 13, 2015, issue of Coin World:
The Mexico silver 8-real coin was a standard trade unit during the
1700s and 1800s. Millions of these coins were produced using metal
from the Mexican silver mines, and they were accepted in trade by many
of the world’s emerging countries, including those in North and South
America, parts of Europe, and Asia. So many were struck by the Mexican
mints that today’s collectors have no trouble locating coins for their
collections, although choice, problem-free pieces can be elusive.
In an attempt to “enhance” the remaining supply of Mexico 8-real
coins, the counterfeiting mills in China have produced huge numbers of
fakes. The counterfeit shown here is a moderately deceptive fake — it
is an accurate copy of the genuine design, but it has a number of
diagnostics that make detection reasonably simple.
Begin with a close look at the king’s face — a poor job of
re-engraving the fake die has given the king’s mouth a rather comical
appearance. I am not sure why the counterfeiters felt that this die
work needed to be done, but there was evidently no stopping them.
In addition to a number of depressions and raised lumps in the
fields, there is a raised line at the throat of the king, another
raised line from III to the back of the king’s head, and a spike on
the P of HISPAN. The weight of the fake is 25.84 grams, which is more
than a full gram less than the weight of a genuine coin in high grade.
An inspection of the edge design reveals that it is too even and
“modern-looking,” especially if you have a genuine coin for comparison
Finally, the date/mint/assayer’s initials combination is wrong. A
1776 8-real coin from the Mexico City Mint with the FM assayer’s
initials is a common coin, but the FF initials did not appear until
later years. This type of error occurs when counterfeiters mix and
match fake obverse and reverse dies without checking to see which
combinations actually exist.
Interestingly, several pricing guides have recently listed the
1776-Mo FF 8-real coin alongside the FM variety, despite the fact that
there are no genuine coins, only fakes. Hopefully this listing mistake
gets corrected before collectors end up with these in their collections.