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Counterfeit Detection: 1886 Liberty Head Nickel

 
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 Posted 01/02/2022  7:52 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add CCFPress to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
NGC - Test your authentication skills on this poor-quality fake.

The Liberty Head nickel series began in 1883 and ended with the famous 1913 mintage of just five proofs, each of which are worth well over $1 million. Excluding these rarities, it's relatively easy to build a proof or business-strike set. However, the business strikes include two challenging dates, 1885 and 1886, where all but the most worn examples are worth hundreds of dollars.


The genuine 1886 Liberty Head (top) and its spurious counterpart (bottom).
This counterfeit features rounded details, and each letter and number is the same thickness.


Numismatic Guaranty Corporation ( NGC) recently received a purported 1886 Liberty Head nickel. It's an obvious fake, but the ways that this can be determined offer an excellent opportunity to hone your authentication skills:

1) Weigh the coin. This counterfeit weighs 5.3g, well over the expected 5g and outside the acceptable mint tolerance.

2) Look at the characters. A genuine specimen features an elegant font with varied thickness. However, each letter and number is the same on the fake.

3) Check for inconsistencies. The word LIBERTY on the coronet is incuse on a genuine example, but it is raised on the counterfeit. Also, Liberty's mouth is closed on the fake, and she seems to be scowling. This discrepancy is most obvious when compared to a genuine piece.

4) Examine the details. Overall roundness and a lack of details are common on coins struck from counterfeit dies. This is especially noticeable on the reverse's wreath and the motto above.

5) Look for anything else out of the ordinary. Notice how small and disconnected the denticles are on the obverse between 12 and 3 o'clock. That's a sign that the counterfeiter either over polished the dies or the denticles weren't there in the first place. Also, the field around Liberty contains lumps that are caused by die imperfections. Sometimes, a forger will remove these, leaving behind telltale toolmarks.

To assist in the authentication process, NGC has access to special equipment that measures the metallurgical contents of a coin. A Liberty Head nickel should contain 75-percent copper and 25-percent nickel; while the fake is composed of both elements, it also contains 19-percent zinc. If you are unsure of a coin's authenticity, remember that NGC backs its determinations of authentication and grade with the NGC Guarantee.

Read More: Counterfeit Detection Series
Check out 1886 Liberty "V" Nickels on ebay.
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 Posted 01/02/2022  7:55 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The difference in the hair detail stands out.
Edited by Coinfrog
01/02/2022 8:47 pm
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 Posted 01/02/2022  8:22 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Jerry Picker to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Too many things wrong. Fake at first sight.
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 Posted 01/02/2022  8:42 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Jaobler to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Agree, poor fakes like this aren't scary. It's the high-tech, deceptive ones, die-struck on correct alloy planchets that are the real danger to the hobby.
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 Posted 01/02/2022  9:14 pm  Show Profile   Check jacrispies's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add jacrispies to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This counterfeit made me giggle. Thanks for the info, it is always good to be reminded about Counterfeit Detection.
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 Posted 01/03/2022  10:06 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The difference in the hair detail stands out.
Followed closely by the text...
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 Posted 01/03/2022  10:03 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add fortcollins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'm pretty sure the counterfeiter had never seen wheat or cotton before, either. On a positive note, the counterfeiter spelled all of the words correctly.
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 Posted 01/04/2022  12:57 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add kbbpll to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It's sad that somebody submitted this or that NGC felt the need to go through a 5 point analysis. #5 - "That's a sign that the counterfeiter either over polished the dies or the denticles weren't there in the first place." - kind of an understatement! Compare the area around ENUM or the relative positions of any of the other letters and numbers. Over polished the dies or made the whole thing from scratch?
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 Posted 01/04/2022  09:39 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
On a positive note, the counterfeiter spelled all of the words correctly.
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 Posted 01/04/2022  09:51 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add dave700x to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The first thing I look at is the eyes. They never get those right but every thing is wrong with this one....
1883-O Nut
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 Posted 01/09/2022  6:23 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CalzoneManiac to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Cartoonish fake. A quick Red Book scan would easily be enough to prove it.
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 Posted 01/29/2022  09:47 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add mds308 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The fake has a closed mouth with pursed lips. Genuine has a slightly open mouth.
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 Posted 01/29/2022  7:33 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add machine20 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
comically bad
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 Posted 01/29/2022  7:42 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add NumisEd to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Someone actually thought it necessary to send it off to NGC for grading?
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