Speaking of counterfeits, there was a nice article by Chris Majtyka on contemporary counterfeits of Seated Liberty coinage in the March 2012 issue of The E-Gobrecht, an electronic publication of the Liberty Seated
Collectors Club. Here's an excerpt.
My first introduction to contemporary counterfeits
was with the purchase of Gobrecht Journal Collective Volume Two. This book overflowed with information
from the most knowledgeable minds in numismatics. While pouring over the pages and absorbing as
much information as possible, upon reaching page 112, I found an article relating to a counterfeit 1842
dime that was crude in nature and struck from completely hand cut dies. I was instantly fascinated by this
phony yet intriguing coin. Below is an example of the aforementioned 1842 contemporary counterfeit from
For the last few years I have been researching 19th century newspapers for news accounts of counterfeit
coins. Soon afterward I realized that the manufacture of contemporary counterfeits was a much more
common crime than I previously realized. Many interesting newspaper articles and stories exist that detail
the "art" of making small denomination coinage.
Counterfeits were generally produced by one of two methods. The first was the "cast counterfeit"
method, which was basically making a mold of a genuine coin from plaster of Paris, clay and sometimes
copper then using molten metal (lead, pot metal etc) to produce a "coin" from that mold. Here is an example
of a more sophisticated mold made of copper, along with a fake 1861 quarter that would have been produced
from it. Notice the upper loop of the 8 in the date is filled; this is caused by trapped air bubbles in the
mold transfer process. These random little "blobs" are telltale signs of a cast coin.
For more information on the Liberty Seated
Collectors Club, see:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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