Featured 1797 S-139 Large Cent "Suspect" Examples and Initial Research

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Jack D. Young, Jul 4, 2018.

  1. Jack D. Young

    Jack D. Young Well-Known Member

    One of the suspected struck counterfeit varieties we are aware of is the 1797 “S-139” large cent from a 2015 TPG submission package.

    In our process of trying to identify these through images we go to the internet and search several sites for internet and auction example images to find any with the characteristic matching marks. In the case of this “variety” we had the lone submitted example only, and roughly a year passed until we found a matching one; the internet listing for this 2nd example was removed prior to a sale being made, and we lost track of it.

    But like a “bad penny”, these seem to raise their heads eventually and this missing one made its way through an internet buy/sell site showing it broken from a TPG slab; unfortunately a friend “won” it and sent images after the fact. I was of course disheartened when I quickly matched it to that example.

    That led to more discussion and investigation and through it we confirmed the match; it also matched many of the markers of the 1st example, but there are enough differences to be confident they are not the same “coin”, making at least one of the two a struck counterfeit…

    Continuing research leads to new/additional opportunities to gain more insight especially when higher resolution images become available. That is exactly what happened with this “variety”, and in comparison images additional attribution marks (we call them “sister marks”) just seem to pop out!

    And as the research continues if lucky an example is "discovered" that appears to be a candidate for the genuine "source coin", and the comparison's continue...


    The images for this post include the obverse and reverse comparisons between these examples; white circles and arrows point out common marks while the red indicate "uncommon"/ unique marks between examples.


    The last image compares the suspected source prior to the dies being made, and what it may have looked like after repairs in preparation for the dies; unfortunately these are the best images I have for the slabbed example listed by a notorious seller of fakes (and source coins) on the internet. It matches their MO for buying damaged genuine source examples and repairing them to make the dies to strike the clones...

    More to come; Best, Jack.
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  3. Oh my.... that one is GOOD. Are all of these fakes being made by the same person?
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  4. Clawcoins

    Clawcoins Well-Known Member

    These counterfeits are getting way too good. I mentioned it in another thread as I'm collecting in this era shown, or was. Just learning and learning now so I hopefully don't buy one. Thanks @Jack D. Young
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  5. Jack D. Young

    Jack D. Young Well-Known Member

    We have tracked the majority of these back to a particular (Chinese) buyer and a company in Texas with multiple internet sellers. The buyer bought many documented genuine early copper coins that we know of, the sellers struck clones die-linked to them including the genuine examples on the back end.
  6. TheFinn

    TheFinn Well-Known Member

    Thank you... we think! Scary things brewing in the hearts of evil men.
    Jack D. Young likes this.
  7. Jack D. Young

    Jack D. Young Well-Known Member

    My friend's example is on its way to NGC for imaging and scanning and then off to a couple of long time early copper experts for in-hand review. This particular "variety" of these struck fakes is especially "scary", as the images have certainly passed several experts already...

    More to come!
  8. Jack D. Young

    Jack D. Young Well-Known Member

    High resolution images from NGC:

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  9. C-B-D

    C-B-D U.S. Type Coins or death!

    So, do you have a working relationship with NGC to help in documenting these struck counterfeits? If so, that would be great for protecting the hobby.
  10. C-B-D

    C-B-D U.S. Type Coins or death!

    If he is already notorious, can you tell us who it is or his eBay i.d.? I may have bought from him before. This picture setup looks familiar.
    Hoky77, *coins, Paul M. and 1 other person like this.
  11. justafarmer

    justafarmer Senior Member

    Following is a CAD Map of 1797 S-139 created from PCGS-32788127. After that is the Same CAD Map of S-139 with the common counterfeit markers added in Red. These markers were added to the map by overlaying the coins in the original OP's post and tracing those common characteristics indicated by the white markings.

    Following that is the S-139 Map containing the counterfeit markers in red overlaid onto the new NGC coin images.

    As always is the problem - when converting a CAD image to jpeg - image degrading occurs. But I think they converted well enough to see the results S139 Map.JPG S139 Map Xfeit.JPG S139 Map Xfeit OBV Overlay.JPG S139 Map Xfeit Rev Overlay.JPG
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  12. Jack D. Young

    Jack D. Young Well-Known Member

    There was a group of roughly 13 connected sellers that eBay removed.

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  13. Jack D. Young

    Jack D. Young Well-Known Member

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  14. Jack D. Young

    Jack D. Young Well-Known Member

    Suspected source example from a 2013 Goldberg Auction:

    Like many we have seen, the source example was probably "repaired" prior to the dies being made to strike the clones.
  15. justafarmer

    justafarmer Senior Member

    These are my preliminary results but I'm no expert.
    S139 Map Xfeitexpanded.JPG S139 Map Xfeitexpanded 2.JPG S139 Map Xfeitexpanded 3.JPG S139 Map Xfeitexpanded 4.JPG
  16. Jack D. Young

    Jack D. Young Well-Known Member

    Outstanding image work as usual! Now I have to digest the results...
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  17. Numismat

    Numismat World coin enthusiast Supporter

    Great write-up and thread Jack, I only wish we were all more quickly reactive as a hobby. We need to be
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  18. DMPL_dingo

    DMPL_dingo Well-Known Member

    Great Southern Coins?
  19. Jack D. Young

    Jack D. Young Well-Known Member

    Definitely not; No established coin shop there.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
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  20. Kirkuleez

    Kirkuleez 80 proof

    I really appreciate the write up. Excellent example of numismatics the way it should be. I dismiss the notion that early copper has to be slabbed, but I’d been fooled.
    *coins, Jack D. Young and Paul M. like this.
  21. Eduard

    Eduard Supporter** Supporter

    Excellent detective work, Jack!
    Worth noting that the counterfeiters chose S-139, which is one of the most common 1797 varieties for their devious practices. I assume this was done on purposes.
    Jack D. Young likes this.
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