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Monday, May 4th, 2009

Time Event
Counterfeit coin
I bought a counterfeit US Trade Dollar at an antiques show over the weekend. The vendor wanted only $10 for the 1874 S which, were it real, would easily grade out to AU58 or better. My grandfather, who was with me, immediately muttered "probably is a fake" but I was curious to know more in any event. With about 20 minutes of web-education I'm now pretty certain is is, in fact a counterfeit: the serifs on the U, N, and I in UNITED are much flatter and taller than they ought to be, there's a minor inconsistency with the baseline of the T and E in the same word, many features overall looked a little more flat than I would expect from a US Mint struck coin, and the denticles (ignore the arrow) aren't nearly as pronounced as they ought to be. So, I'm now the owner of a slug of metal produced somewhere in China. What should I do with the coin? I'm not really interested in keeping it, as counterfeits aren't my thing.

(Separately, the whole notion of counterfeiting 100+ year old coins is pretty disturbing. With enough motivation by the counterfeiters someone really could produce a coin that was indistinguishable from a real coin, at which point the fun of collecting authentic pieces is entirely gone. Just means I should collect the coins I know are real now, before counterfeits flood the market.)

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