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How to make a fake coin?

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Valued Member
United States
420 Posts
 Posted 03/15/2012  4:06 pm Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add jpsned to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

Looking at the fake coins in this forum made me wonder, just what is involved in producing one of these suckers? Exactly how does one produce a die, get the raw metal, and then produce the pressure necessary to make an impression?

Even though they're crooks, they still must have some sort of skills and abilities to do this. Plus, even the worst-looking designs require some degree of artistic talent to pull off.

It's a wide, wonderful world out there.

Edited by jpsned
03/15/2012 4:06 pm
Pillar of the Community
United States
2826 Posts
 Posted 03/15/2012  4:43 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add philadelphian to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
What the Chinese (and the Bulgarians, and the Filipinos; let's not just pick on China!) have is a surplus of cheap skilled and semi-skilled labor. America had much the same situation in the late eighteenth century, and counterfeiting outfits abounded. Some of those counterfeiters, with their underpaid and underappreciated skills, came to work for the US, when the government went into the coinage business. The first was probably Abel Buell, who cut the dies for the Fugio copper.
"Knowledge is the treasure of a wise man." --William Penn
Valued Member
United States
132 Posts
 Posted 03/15/2012  5:52 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add TonedMo87 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Maybe its just me, but that fake coin posted didnt look like he had made the die and "repressed" the 3 back on. I would think that he carefully chiseled away at another common Morgan featuring 3 in it, and then attempted to re-solder it. It may not be possible, but that was my impression.
Pillar of the Community
Australia
8751 Posts
 Posted 03/15/2012  6:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Some modern Chinese fakers are using proper minting machinery in commercial operations. Such fakes are almost impossible to detect.

I am beginning to think that the best qualified people in the CCF to detect fakes are those who examine Lincoln Cents as closely as they do.
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Australia
11182 Posts
 Posted 03/15/2012  9:27 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Pics of the Chinese fake factories can be found all over the Internet; here's an old CCF thread with several of them.

The quality of fakes manufactured ranges from the laughably incompetent (I love the coins from Maxxico!) to the undetectable-with-current-technology, depending on the skill of the forgers and the target market. Poor fakes are made of whatever happens to be lying around cheap - steel, pewter, lead-brass (which can have a deceptively silvery appearance) or whatever. Good fakes might be made of silver, but the silver ones aren't the ones being smuggled into the country by the containerload.

Copying dies usually requires one genuine coin to be the master, from which the dies are replicated. Making dies this way loses detail, so either the resultant coins appear "mushy" and weakly struck, or the dies are re-engraved before use. Re-engraving skills also vary from shoddy to excellent.

Quote:
Even though they're crooks...

The Chinese folks in the old thread might be crooks (it wouldn't surprise me if organized criminal gangs were behind it all) but not necessarily; it's perfectly legal in China to make fake foreign coins. The crime doesn't happen until they're imported.
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis
Pillar of the Community
United States
3294 Posts
 Posted 03/15/2012  9:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add nod2003 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Sure Sap, those Chinese fakes are meant for domestic consumption in China no doubt.
Valued Member
United States
161 Posts
 Posted 03/15/2012  10:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add seateddime48174 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
fake coins were made many different ways, for as many different purposes, the old fakes were made to be spent as money, and to this day some can still be found in dealer inventories as genuine coins. the modern fakes were made primarily to fool collectors, and stick out like a sore thumb to anyone familiar with the genuine ones.
Pillar of the Community
Canada
659 Posts
 Posted 03/16/2012  02:37 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Peter4805 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Are there any fakes good enough to fool the grading services?
Pillar of the Community
Australia
8751 Posts
 Posted 03/16/2012  06:07 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I would be certain that a few of the best fakes have fooled the TPG's.

Because of this they have to be especially vigilant, because their reputation is at stake.

Of one thing I am also certain: If a fake has fooled a TPG, it will fool most of us, too!

A bit like Pandora's Box. There is still some hope remaining. There are one or two really good specialists here in the CCF who would still express their doubts with such an excellent fake.

I am not one of them unfortunately, I am a gereralist. That is one reason why I can be found here in the CCF. Even so I am not afraid of expressing my views, when I suspect a fake, even if I am subsequently proven wrong. If that happens, I am more than happy to accept that.
Pillar of the Community
United States
8931 Posts
 Posted 03/16/2012  09:31 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Conder101 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Pick up a copy of Numismatic Forgery by Charles Larson. You'll learn a lot from it.
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United States
14452 Posts
 Posted 03/16/2012  1:01 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bryan1315 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
with the CNC and other machines that is out there today all it takes is a scan and a program to make a reverse die to strike coins. No real artistry to it like it used to be back when it was done for intrinsic value instead of numismatic value
Bedrock of the Community
United States
12832 Posts
 Posted 03/16/2012  2:39 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add just carl to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Are there any fakes good enough to fool the grading services?

Not a question that could really be answered since if a fake made it though them, how would anyone know. Very possibly many have gone through a TPGS and are now in slabs with grades noted. Also, it is really possible that many dealers and collectors have counterfeits in their possesion and don't know. Very possibe for a dealer to have one, sell it to someone, they put it in an Album and it is now forgotten for a long, long time.
One more problem with todays counterfeiting is there are also now fake slabs with fake coins in them.
Also, there are people that know how to open a slab, change the coin, reseal the slab, and POOF, someone thinks they have a real valuable coin.
I still remember the worst possible fake I've ever seen was one of a Liberty Walking half dollar made of Lead and only on one side. Not sure but I doubt that one would make it through any TPGS.
Of course all 15 of my 1913 Liberty Head Nickels are real since they are all in slabs.
just carl
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9610 Posts
 Posted 03/16/2012  2:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DVCollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
...with the CNC and other machines that is out there today all it takes is a scan and a program to make a reverse die to strike coins.
It's a good argument for collectors to learn about die varieties, because those subtle details will be hard to replicate, several steps removed from a die. A die made from the sharpest MS coin cannot be as sharp as the original coin. Naturally, this means collectors will need to carefully study coins before bidding--which is not always easy on the 'Bay.
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