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1891 Eritrea 5 Lire Fake

 
 
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Valued Member
United States
337 Posts
 Posted 04/20/2011  2:53 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add General Tso to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I came across this in my box of odds. Just thought I'd share. I picked this up off ebay about ten/fifteen years ago when I started to turn to the dark side. If I remember right it came from China and I thought it was to good to be true, and it was.

I think it's 2 grams under weight but the funny thing is it has the silver ring to it and seems to pass the tissue test. Slightly bigger than a US dollar in diameter but I'd say 1/32 of an inch thinner.

Valued Member
United States
143 Posts
 Posted 04/20/2011  10:58 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Stan to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
So it's a fake?
How can you tell?
Pillar of the Community
United Kingdom
2346 Posts
 Posted 04/21/2011  12:15 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bacchus2 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The "softness" of the strike is a giveaway
Pillar of the Community
Philippines
1156 Posts
 Posted 04/21/2011  02:15 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Nic to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply


I brightened up the picture a bit, and if it has that "ring" tone of silver when dropped, I'd have doubts if it's a fake, it could be real




what made you sure it was fake?
Valued Member
United States
337 Posts
 Posted 04/21/2011  08:36 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add General Tso to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It's under weight by 2 grams. That's the big reason. Over time, reading about fakes on this forum, I've notice the strike. Like Bacchus2 said, the strike looks weak. Another thing is that the denticles are missing.

I did some research last night and it's possible that there is some silver in it. Fake Eritrea thalers have been made using silver, but I've only found info on other years not 1891.

Anyone have more info?
Pillar of the Community
United States
4872 Posts
 Posted 04/21/2011  1:54 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add swamperbob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
General Tso I would definitely vote that it is a fake. The details look like a transfer impression - shallow and lacking sharp definition. The missing dentils are typical of impact transfers especially because the force is weakest at the perimeter. The 1891 and it's famous sister coin the 1918 Tallero have been around as fakes since I was a kid - (ca: 1955 - 1960)

You are absolutely correct about the weight PROVING a forgery in this case. Two grams underweight is a DEAD GIVEAWAY. That weight may seem small but in terms of a trade silver coin (which this is) it is a death blow. These coins were used in Africa and competed against the more popular Maria Theresa Thaler. So even if it is 835 fine silver it is a fraud and therefore a counterfeit issue. It would NOT have circulated in a period of hard money.

I would suspect based on color and toning characteristics (especially on the brightened picture) that you have a copper nickel coin. The ring of copper nickel is like silver and the color while darker is acceptable to the eye. CuNi is also non-magnetic. Pure nickel copies on the other hand ARE MAGNETIC and easy to detect.

Nic A special warning to you to be cautious if your comment on this one possibly being real was not made tongue in cheek. Weight is a VERY critical factor in determination of forgeries. Most coin forgeries are detected first by the incorrect weight. Variance is NOT permissible in very many Hard Money series at all.
My book on Counterfeit Portrait 8Rs is available from Amazon http://ccfgo.com/TheUnrealReales or from me directly if you want it signed.
Valued Member
United States
337 Posts
 Posted 04/21/2011  2:51 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add General Tso to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the info Swamperbob. I guess I'll keep the coin for reference and as a reminder.
Pillar of the Community
Philippines
1156 Posts
 Posted 04/21/2011  10:57 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Nic to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Thanks swamperbob!

I guess some clarification is merited.

No, my comment was not made tongue in cheek,and I wouldnt ever do that, I also do collect fakes, simply for the sake of studying such.

I agree the soft strike was a giveaway, but the tone of silver is against it as well as having any real silver in it would "lessen" the faker's profit margin, not a good idea.

My fake crowns all are weighed on a digital scale with 0.01 resolution, and the general rule I found was that the fakes come out 19-21 grams as against the real ones at 25-26 grams a difference of 20% or about 4 grams.

So at 2grams difference, I was curious, and popped the question.

The thing I should have asked is "What is the weight of the original?"

Sorry for the confusion there swamperbob! my post was a post borne simply out of curiosity.

Thanks!






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United States
4872 Posts
 Posted 04/22/2011  9:51 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add swamperbob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nic - OK that is a very valid question.

Why is 2 grams too much of a weight difference on a typical Dollar sized coin?

The answer is both simple and complex depending on the level of background detail you want. I will go for a moderate length explanation. When the world used Hard Money back around the year 1800 the only value that mattered was in the weight of the silver or gold a coin contained. Paper bills were not trustworthy and most currencies were tied to a metal standard. The coins that circulated normally had to have a metal value between 95% and 100% of the face value to circulate.

That is also the point theoretically where the design on a silver coin starts to disappear. In case you ever wondered why coins are struck in LOW RELIEF that is why. A high relief coin like a typical medal does not wear smooth quickly enough to maintain a set standard of value.

Underweight or worn coins (especially gold) were often weighed by bankers or merchants and the purchasing power adjusted DOWNWARD for wear. It was legitimate to REFUSE to accept a worn coin for face value. The coins found to weigh 95% of standard were normally removed from circulation by banks and sent back to the mint to be melted.

During this same time world silver and gold prices were controlled (called the FIX) and for many years England maintained the standard value of an ounce of silver at or near $1.25 US. Gold was worth 16 times as much as silver. But the Gold silver ratio is a whole other story.

So while by 1891 silver prices were down on the world market due to the US Comstock discovery, BULLION COINS like the Eretria Tallero had a value based on a theoretical silver content of 0.72 ounces of silver. A coin 2 grams underweight would contain only about 0.66 ounces of silver. In the days when a man earned 10 cents a day, he would not accept being short changed by 6 cents on the value of a dollar coin. That was simply unacceptable.

So based on WEAR (the coin in question is far from Poor-1) and VALUE BOTH - a real Tallero could never be 2 grams underweight.

You say a couple things in your note that are accurate today but which are not accurate when viewed in historical context. First, you say;


Quote:
My fake crowns all are weighed on a digital scale with 0.01 resolution, and the general rule I found was that the fakes come out 19-21 grams as against the real ones at 25-26 grams a difference of 20% or about 4 grams.


That may be a true statement today for modern Chinese counterfeits, but it was definitely NOT the case in the days when silver value was important. Counterfeit weights were typically much closer to the weight of originals. A 4 gram difference is rarely seen for example in JL Riddell's book on counterfeit dollars circulating in 1845. The average counterfeit was closer to 95% of the correct weight and of the 293 examples he gives in his book only 12 were over 4 grams underweight. That variation is the exception not the rule.

Weight often is a good preliminary indication of the age of a forgery. Older period counterfeit coins tend to be closer in weight to originals than are modern fales.

The second thing you said was;


Quote:
but the tone of silver is against it as well as having any real silver in it would "lessen" the faker's profit margin, not a good idea.


It sounds logical today that real silver would not be used in a counterfeit meant to circulate at face value. But once again in 1891, people were very used to the feel and color of silver. Forgers often used a significant amount of silver in making their forgeries. Once again Riddell provides assay data on the 293 counterfeits in his book. Some contain silver contents as HIGH as 700 fine when standard was 900. The forgers were content to make a small profit on the silver they used.

By the 1890s silver prices had fallen well below a dollar an ounce. Forgers could make a US dollar or a Mexican 8R for about 50 cents. If that coin passed at face value they doubled their money. In fact, my favorite class of forgeries are the full weight and correct assay 8Rs made for the overseas trade market in the US. The coins allowed a 5% to 10% profit over silver value on goods being purchased in China because the merchants in China trusted the "Bustman Dollar" above all other trade coins. High grade originals were no longer available so a business began stpplying the need. The margins a forger operated on used to be SMALL.

But finally, you should also be aware that copper and bronze alloys can "ring like a bell". Bells are made of bronze. There is a tone difference between silver and bronze but unless you have good ears and perfect pitch you might miss it. The ring test was used to disclose - hollowed out coins, cast coins, German Silver and lead coins. None of those rings. Copper-nickel, nickel and bronze coins all ring.

So to summarize - a coin which was valued based on silver content should never be more than 5% light.

A coin that is 5% under weight should grade between PR1 and AG3 NOT Fine 12 or higher.

Forgers DID use silver and gold to make contemporary forgeries.

Forgers DID operate on SMALL profit margins.

I hope that covers your inquiry.
My book on Counterfeit Portrait 8Rs is available from Amazon http://ccfgo.com/TheUnrealReales or from me directly if you want it signed.
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