Hello from Arizona- I am new to this forum and in no way any kind of coin collector - yet.
My neighbors stopped by yesterday with two silver dollars and wanted to know if they had any special value. When looking at them, I knew immediately that something was "different" about them.
I noted the following:
1. They were dated 1865
2. They were not the standard seated liberty design.
3. They do not appear in standard catalogues.
4. The design of the coins is an obvious take-off of the Washington-head quarter with which we are all familiar, and which was not released until 1932. That is, Washington's portrait in profile on the obverse, with the spread-winged eagle on the reverse.
5. I noted that the first US coin to bear the likeness of an actual person was the Lincoln cent first released in 1909.
6. Close examination revealed the word "facsimile" below the open wings of the eagle. The word is broken into two parts, FAC appearing on the viewer's left, under the eagle's right wing, SIMILE under the other. The "L" is very faint, the "E" invisible.
7. There are no mint marks.
8. There are a number of physical defects.
9. They measure 1.495 inches in diameter, which is just a tick under 38 millimeters.
10. The edges are well-worn, but no substrate metal is visible, and they appear to be monolithic, not plated. I was thinking of running a specific gravity test on them to confirm that they are, in fact, silver, but was informed that a number on alloys have been developed which duplicate the appearance of silver while duplicating the specific gravity number. Apparently, these alloys have been known to counterfitters for centuries, so I decided to pass on the test.
Added together, it appears that these coins are not the product of any U.S. Government mint. It would also seem very likely
that they were not struck in 1865.
Does anyone have any hard data on these mysterious dollars?
A theory floating around here is that they were produced by a private establishment in 1965 to commemorate the ending of
our civil war in 1865. Just grasping at straws...
Any help would be very much appreciated.
Thanks for the response, biokemist6-
Yes, I have heard that Asiatic countries have been fabricating copies
and fantasy coins for some time. I can say that the workmanship is simply
not up to U.S. standards, and that may be why.
I have scanned the 'net and found mention of these coins in four places
so far, one with a nice photograph. One fellow said he was attempting
to research it, but I couldn't find a way to link up to him.
Anyway, these coins are out there.
I tried my new digital camera for the first time in macro mode last night
shooting these two coins, and I must say the pics turned out pretty durn
nice for a first shot. But when it came time to post them, we struck out.
Too bad this site isn't set up to receive feed directly from the camera.
We have been successfull in sending pics by e-mail, however, and I have
been thinking of asking if I could e-mail these pics to a member here,
that he could then post them from his end.
Do you think a S.G. test would be worthwhile?
Particularly curious is the word "facsimile" embossed under the wings..
Thanks again, BK