- This farfetched coin combining the designs of silver coinage from two countries is a good exercise in authentication.Read More: Counterfeit Detection Series
graders recently spotted a very interesting coin submitted for authentication and grading. The coin was submitted as a US Mint Error piece. However, it is clearly not a United States coin, because Mexico's "Cap and Rays" design from their 8 Reales coin appears on what we will consider to be the obverse. Yet when you flip it over, the design is the reverse of a US Trade dollar
! How could this be?
Counterfeit 1885 Mexico 8 Reales / US Trade dollar Mule
Maybe the idea of the mule seemed plausible because both the US and Mexico coins feature right-facing eagles with their wings spread. But as you might imagine, a die pairing like this could never happen. In 1885, the United States Mint was not striking 8 Reales coins for Mexico, and Mexico certainly wasn't striking Trade dollars
for the United States.
This coin is clearly a fantasy piece by some counterfeiter. Perhaps the forger saw the record price of nearly $4 million that the NGC
PF 66 1885 Trade dollar
sold for in January 2019 and was inspired to attempt to make their own 1885 Trade dollar
, but didn't have the proper obverse die with an 1885 date?
The US side of this spurious coin bears an S mintmark, but no Trade dollars
were struck in San Francisco after 1878, the last year circulation issues were struck anywhere. Starting in 1879, the only way to acquire a newly issued US Trade dollar
was through the Proofs struck in Philadelphia, obviously without the S mintmark here. Read the Entire Article