Fake $10 Gold Pulled from Proxibid Auction

?The 1912-S $10 Indian Head Gold coin often is poorly struck and a condition rarity in Mint State 63 where it jumps in value from about $1,800 at MS62 to more than $5,000, explaining in part why counterfeiters often choose this year and mint mark in this particular series.

Look at the fake coin to the left in the photo above and compare it to the real date coin on the right. You can see dozens of diagnostics that distinguish the counterfeit. Here are just a few:
  • Forehead, eyes, lips, nose and chin are different.
  • Nose of fake coin is doubled.
  • Date on the counterfeit uses wrong font, especially in the awkwardly made "2" in 1912.
  • Stars, feathers, ribbon and rim all wrong.
In this case the counterfeit coin is so poorly made I wonder whether it was just a gold bullion rip-off with no real motive to pass itself off as authentic. 

While most counterfeits are from China, this one probably is from the Middle East. As long as the gold content and weight were right, merchants there in decades past had no problem with the design being wrong.

Fortunately in this case I knew the auctioneer and didn't have to make a convincing case about the coin being a counterfeit. The lot was removed. That said, you can see why buying coins online can be a risky venture. 

This is why reading Coin World and other numismatic magazines, in addition to books, is vital when deciding to use credit cards in an online auction where typically "all sales are final."

Of course, selling fake coins is an exception because of the US Hobby Protection Act. One of the clauses requires the word "copy" on any numismatic item. This fake coin lacked that designation, too, of course.

If ever you win a counterfeit coin in an online auction, contact the auctioneer and ask for reimbursement. Failing that, go to the online portal's customer service and open a dispute.