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1875 Seated Liberty Half Dollar...is It Real?

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New Member
United States
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 Posted 06/08/2019  7:03 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add chirrrs to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
So this came in a lot of various coins that I picked up, and I was hoping that maybe the board could offer some assistance.




It weighs 12.36g, so I wasn't sure if 0.14g was a big difference. That suggests it's missing only 1.12% of its mass, which based on the apparent condition, seems reasonable I suppose. It seems a little high to me, but I have no idea what tolerances and ranges of weights were minted at this time. It passes the magnetic test. For what it's worth, it passes the sound test as well. I compared with another that I have and it sounded indiscernible. The only other thing that bothers me is the weak motto on the back. "IN GOD WE" doesn't seem legible at all, and "TRUST" is pretty weak. Could this be a combination of weak strike and/or cleaning? The is a little wear on the eagle feathers, but to have that worn so much more than everything else has me suspicious.

If it is indeed real, would this grade as a VF?

As a side note, are there any resources that mention the tolerances on weights of coins? Additionally, at what percentage weights do you generally start to get concerned?

Thanks!
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 Posted 06/08/2019  7:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jimbucks to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Eagle looks odd. Motto is especially weak and doubtful it is due to wear. I give it <25% chance it is not fake. Does it ring?
Edited by jimbucks
06/08/2019 7:11 pm
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 Posted 06/08/2019  7:12 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add chirrrs to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Is it common to see fakes that are that close in weight and size and pass magnetic tests?
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 Posted 06/08/2019  7:12 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It does look strange with the motto almost completely missing and no evidence of, say, grease effects nearby.
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 Posted 06/08/2019  7:13 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add chirrrs to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It does ring, sounds pretty much exactly like an 1853 that I know is real.
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 Posted 06/08/2019  7:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add llewellin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It looks real to me
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 Posted 06/08/2019  7:23 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add chirrrs to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Here are some images I tried to get of the edges since I don't have calipers on me at the moment:





In the first image, the coin on the left is a worn AG 1876 half. The 1875 on the right.
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 Posted 06/08/2019  7:25 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add chirrrs to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
There's a process of burnishing that I've heard is applied to coins sometimes. What exactly is that? I've seen a coin that was burnished, and the reverse of this one reminds me of the dull effects of this other one I saw.

Under magnification, it seems like it has been cleaned. Lots of very thin, shallow, fine scratches going in all directions primarily in the background fields. If it is indeed real, it looks like it has toned since then.

I almost wonder if it got all crudy in VF or better condition and then someone cleaned/polished it up to where it is now. That might explain the uneven wear and the toning if it was an old cleaning. I don't have a ton of experience, but that would be my very uneducated guess.
Edited by chirrrs
06/08/2019 7:32 pm
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 Posted 06/08/2019  7:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Burnishing = polishing.
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 Posted 06/08/2019  7:35 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add moxking to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Lack of sharp deviation between fields and elements is a dead giveaway to a counterfeit.
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 Posted 06/08/2019  7:39 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I agree - soft details, too-good-to-be-true fields.
Edited by Coinfrog
06/08/2019 7:40 pm
Pillar of the Community
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 Posted 06/08/2019  9:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add llewellin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It doesn't look like it was polished. Natural circulation can cause "Lots of very thin, shallow, fine scratches going in all directions"

Out of focus pics might be making others think this is fake
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 Posted 06/08/2019  9:42 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add chirrrs to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Yeah, I'll try to get better photos up tomorrow. This phone was having a tough time with focusing.
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 Posted 06/08/2019  9:44 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I've looked a thousands of LS quarters and halves and have never seen a missing motto like this. Just saying.
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 Posted 06/08/2019  10:34 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add fortcollins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Is it common to see fakes that are that close in weight and size and pass magnetic tests?


Yes. Chinese counterfeits are imitating mass and specific gravity by using silver plated 86-87% Sn and 12-13% Zn alloy cores. They will also pass a magnetic test. What those fakes can't imitate are the ping test and the Eddy Current Slide test.

EDIT:
How many reeds does the coin have? According to Wiley & Bugert's Complete Guide, 1875 Philadelphia halves all had 144, 145, 154, or 156 reeds.
Edited by fortcollins
06/08/2019 10:58 pm
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 Posted 06/08/2019  11:52 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Wear characteristics look odd to my eye.
Comparative diameter should be measured accurately

I enlarged the edge pictures on my screen.
Coin on the right is 13% thicker.
This leads me to the idea that a lower density alloy may have been used, and the extra thickness compensates for this.

A suspected different alloy leads me suggest that a comparative ping test should be carried out, against a common known genuine equivalent.
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