1787 Massachusetts cent real or a good fake?

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by AirborneReams, Oct 22, 2020.

  1. AirborneReams

    AirborneReams Active Member

    Hello all,

    I recently listed this nice 1878 Massachusetts cent piece. Everything checked out with me from the weight and diameter and even the placement of everything on both obverse and reverse of the coin. I had a buyer contact me saying he believes that this is a fake because the lettering on the obverse is to sharp and there’s not enough wear especially around the edges. He said he doubts NGC would even grade the coin. I don’t care much for the grading but I did share pictures of the weight and other lower graded coins of this type with him and he still does not believe it. I do know a little of just the beginner of the colonials as I’ve only had a few but this may be my 2nd or 3rd Massachusetts. Before I go pulling this coin I would like to ask my fellow numismatic nuts, what do you guys think real or fake? 776C88B8-94AA-448F-81ED-540D4F898935.png 4B458A1A-B003-4830-B9B1-E5D3B76711C8.png
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  3. AirborneReams

    AirborneReams Active Member

    1787* in the first sentence!
    NOS likes this.
  4. AirborneReams

    AirborneReams Active Member

  5. Michael K

    Michael K Well-Known Member

    My instinct says it is too nice and it is a modern copy.
    Let's wait for an expert.
    There must be several versions of this same coin, so I took the photo down.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
    AirborneReams likes this.
  6. AirborneReams

    AirborneReams Active Member

    Thank you for the response, will hold tight
  7. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    Well, the lettering does appear rather sharp compared to the rest of the designs. But I don't know enough about the series to make a judgement on whether your piece is real. I do have an example in my own collection, if that will help by comparison:
    Martha Lynn and AirborneReams like this.
  8. AirborneReams

    AirborneReams Active Member

    Thank you! It looks almost identical I can’t find anything wrong and the weight is right on spot which could be questionable especially with wear but I don’t know if there’s enough wear to really affect it seriously l.. tough one, I don’t want to sell any fakes if this is the case.
  9. Mainebill

    Mainebill Wild Bill

    I think it’s questionable I’ve seen old copies of these that really look good even been fooled by them. Color looks off looks brassy not copper and the wear looks contrived. I think there’s a good chance it’s not real
    Evan Saltis and AirborneReams like this.
  10. AirborneReams

    AirborneReams Active Member

    Hmm.. I’m starting to see comparing to coins with this wearing that the letters are extremely sharper almost if it was AU or uncirculated even
  11. AirborneReams

    AirborneReams Active Member

    I’ll probably pull this item
  12. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    I am 90% sure that it is a copy of the original. The problem is that the “HALF CENT” area of the piece is too flat to be real. Frequently copies lose the high relief detail on the coin, which is the deepest relief on the die.
  13. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    I do like these but I would personally avoid it. It just doesn't look right for something from 1787 that should have been circulated due to the times of that period.
    AirborneReams likes this.
  14. Martha Lynn

    Martha Lynn Well-Known Member

    In the O P photo, on the obverse if you connect the tip of the nose to the top of the bow with a straight line, the star is completely above that line. In the photo provided for comparison, that same line bisects the lower foot of the star. It also doesn't seem to have any natural patina. I doubt its authenticity. The arrow is positioned incorrectly. O P coin the arrow goes from E to thigh. The comparison coin arrow goes lower, near the knee. In one photo arrow touches knee. Not so in the other. Also the tail feathers touch the horizontal line over the date. Not so in the other. The arrow touches skirt on one coin, not the other....
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
  15. SensibleSal66

    SensibleSal66 Well-Known Member

  16. AirborneReams

    AirborneReams Active Member

    Your awesome thank you!
  17. AirborneReams

    AirborneReams Active Member

    Good observation wow thank you! Item pulled probably have some upset bidders but for the best. Thank you again!
  18. Martha Lynn

    Martha Lynn Well-Known Member

    Sure . Don't know much about coins . These members teach me something every time I log on. But my eyes work ,and those things kinda stuck out. Proud of you for removing for sale. Please don't base it on my opinion though, I truly am a NOVICE....martha
    Mainebill likes this.
  19. Publius2

    Publius2 Well-Known Member

    I am not an expert on the series but I have been studying the Mass half-cents and cents preparatory to bidding on some. I cannot say with certainty that the OP coin is counterfeit or genuine but I don't think there is evidence presented yet that adequately supports a judgement of counterfeit. To wit:

    The OP coin presents with the proper attributes of the Ryder 4-C die marriage. This is the most common of the half-cent issues. They circulated well in their time. Unlike the Mass cents for which several contemporary counterfeits are known, I can find no reference to a contemporary counterfeit of the half cents. Of course, this does not rule out a modern counterfeit.

    You might want to contact an expert through the Colonial Coin Collectors Club (C4) which I joined last week.

    Obverse Discussion: The first photo below is the OP's coin's obverse with my overlay notes highlighting the arrow shaft pointing to the left leg of E. The second photo is a MS-63 Ryder 4-C example up in a current Heritage auction. I think the two obverses, despite wear differences, do not show any telltales that would indicate the OPs coin is counterfeit. The issue of lettering sharpness is a red herring in my opinion. Note how sharp and in high relief the MS-63 coin's lettering is. Do you still think the lettering on the OP's coin is unnaturally unworn?

    Reverse Discussion: The third photo below is of the OP's coin's reverse with my notation of the Reverse C diagnostic where the rightmost arrowhead overlaps the period. The fourth photo is of the MS-63 Ryder 4-C example's reverse. As with the obverse, I don't see any overt reason to doubt the authenticity of the OP's coin. The lettering on the MS-63 example is sharp and well-struck and in high relief. The lettering on the OP's coin is not inconsistent with the observed degree of wear. The HALF CENT lettering and the shield is the first to wear on this coin's reverse and it is not unusual to see incomplete strikes and/or fairly heavy wear in this area even on EF-45 coins. Note how the vertical shield lines are not even struck up on the MS-63 example, even though this is otherwise a well-struck example of the variety.

    1787 o.png Heritage 1787 Obv.jpg 1787 r.png Heritage 1787 Reverse.jpg
  20. SensibleSal66

    SensibleSal66 Well-Known Member

    Yea, Coppers are tough . I'm more of a Connecticut Copper guy myself .
  21. Publius2

    Publius2 Well-Known Member

    @AirborneReams, you might want to check out the designated area of the reverse shown below. See if you can determine if the odd look of this arrow shaft is due to damage or something nefarious.

    1787 r-Crop.png
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