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Counterfeit Detection: 1885 Mexico 8 Reales / US Trade Dollar Mule

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 Posted 10/31/2020  3:28 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add CCFPress to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
NGC - This farfetched coin combining the designs of silver coinage from two countries is a good exercise in authentication.

Read More: Counterfeit Detection Series.

NGC 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.

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