Featured 1871 Pattern $ Struck Counterfeit

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Jack D. Young, Aug 6, 2020.

  1. Jack D. Young

    Jack D. Young Well-Known Member

    I have been working on another variety of deceptive struck fakes actually for quite some time- another pattern besides the 1836 Gobrecht dollar I have previously written about, now an 1871 pattern silver dollar, known as Judd 1146.

    The 1st example is the believed genuine source coin, NGC 1951038-011, certified in 2005 and recorded as sold in major auctions in Aug and Sept 2011.

    This example appears to have turned up again as NGC 2791432-009, resubmitted by one of the known bad sellers of the time in June 2014. Like many of the other documented deceptive struck fakes the counterfeiters purchased a genuine example to use to make the counterfeit dies and then later resubmitted it for recertification and sale along with the struck clones...

    The 1st two images show a comparison of these two highlighting the major common attribution marks including some rim disturbances.


    The next lower resolution image is of an example TPG certed 3 months later in Sept 2014 and also shows the major attribution marks. but is more difficult to see (Example #3).


    The next higher resolution image, example #4 was submitted in Apr 2015 and deemed "altered surfaces" (NGC 2657329-001). It also carries the major marks with some emphasized ones visible as well (in red). The reverse comparison shows the "ding" next to "N" of the motto and its slight different appearance to the probable genuine source example.


    The last example (#5) is a recent "discovery" for me but previously noted as "suspicious" in a string of possible bad coins sold by the same bad group of known sellers through the Internet in Dec 2015 and is another TPG certified example, but unfortunately another low resolution image.

    It appears to have several of the main attribution marks as well as the "unique" ones of NGC 2657329-001.


    I have also included a time-line for these to better understand which came 1st and try to identify duplicate listings.


    The main premise here is that the earliest certified example in the time-line is the probable genuine source coin and in this case predates the documented activity of these latest counterfeiters (earliest known source coin in this "series" dates to 2008)...

    Without any of the examples in hand it is apparent that there is at least one counterfeit in the group and probably more!

    I appreciate any thoughts!

    Best, Jack
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  3. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Well-Known Member

    Yet another great write up Jack. Thanks, but you are making me so paranoid about whether I know enough to NOT buy a fake. LOL
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  4. calcol

    calcol Supporter! Supporter

    Nice work! Have you notified the TPG that certified the fakes? Little surprising the counterfeiter would choose this coin. Only 7 are believed to exist, and they go for $7K and up. Pretty common for folks who buy patterns to look at pics of previous sales. OTOH, graders may not be familiar enough with them that a well-engraved, well-struck fake could fool them.

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  5. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Yes, but there is always greed and ignorance factor. If they can get a sucker to pay a couple thousand dollars for this "new certified discovery piece," they would be ahead of the game.

    The fact that it's a genuine holder is really scary. The TPG's need to hire consultants to help them stop getting taken in like this. The fees they charge for certifying expensive coins like this should cover the costs. This is hurting their reputations and the hobby. This far from the first time that this has happened.
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  6. ksparrow

    ksparrow Coin Hoarder

    Those fakes are scary good. I wonder if extremely accurate measurements of diameter and thickness would help differentiate the fakes from the originals?
    Jack D. Young likes this.
  7. calcol

    calcol Supporter! Supporter

    What's really needed is for all submissions sent in above the economy/modern level to be scanned into a shareable database. All scans of new submissions would be automatically compared to the database images. Any matches would be examined carefully.

    The database would need to be shareable among TPGs. This would require setting-up an independent NPO that is in charge of the database, receives new scans, and reports back any matches. A NPO is necessary to set scanning standards, to set standards for TPGs eligible to participate, and to avoid collusion charges. The database should not be made public (it could be used for templates by counterfeiters).

    This plus "smart slabs", which can't be duplicated, would drastically curtail counterfeiting for coins at this value level.

  8. Malleus Maleficarum

    Malleus Maleficarum Well-Known Member

    The 2791432-009 right now is on the HA site and can be purchased. The owner isn't actively looking to sell, but if the price is right, he may consider. $7000 + will be the starting point. This coin is also listed on the NGC site. No mention of possible counterfeit. It's kind of scary, when you do your homework. Find the coin on a reputable site and it's still a fake.


  9. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    The digital fingerprinting that PCGS Expert system was supposed to be able to do back in 1991, and which they say they are doing on the Secure level submissions. If they did and then one of the counterfits came through it would be flagged.
  10. calcol

    calcol Supporter! Supporter

    Yes, that would catch imitations of coins in PCGS's database, but only if the imitation was submitted for gold shield service. This service is mandatory for coins valued over $2,500 but an optional $5 fee for lesser value coins. Unless the genuine coin had been submitted for gold shield service previously, the imitation would not be caught. I'm not sure that PCGS carefully checks all matches ... most matches would be the genuine coin showing up again. However, the image analysis program might raise a flag for near, but not perfect, matches.

    If the genuine coin had not previously been to PCGS or the imitation was being submitted to some other TPG, then the PCGS database would be of no use the way things are now. I'd like to see a more universal database for all legitimate TPGs to use.

  11. Jack D. Young

    Jack D. Young Well-Known Member

    Yes, both TPGs have been notified and involved; I actively share information on these struck fakes with all 4 top TPGs and have since I became aware of them back to 2015. This variety makes the 26th documented in that time.[/QUOTE]
  12. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    But as Jack has shown there are multiple examples of the fakes and when the second one came through and was flagged, and comparison of the images showed they were different coins, it would alert the TPG to check these more carefully because they would be potential counterfeits.
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  13. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Well-Known Member

    They should have you on payroll. LOL
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  14. Malleus Maleficarum

    Malleus Maleficarum Well-Known Member

    I find this thread very valuable. For me, I just don't have a passing interest in this topic. Currently I'm collecting a US Trade Dollar type and I consider pattern Trade Dollars apart of the TD family. I've purchased one pattern TD and plan on buying a few more in the future.
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  15. calcol

    calcol Supporter! Supporter

    Patterns are difficult and tricky. Many have only 10-20 known. There are far more pattern designs than designs put on circulating coins through the 20th century. Maybe even more than those coins plus the classic commemoratives. I would guess the exemplar sets of PCGS and NGC don't have a lot patterns in them. Whether they have resident experts on patterns I don't know.

    One thing I fault them on is that for patterns of the same design but of lookalike metals ... 90% silver versus goloid, for example ... they pretty much take the word of the submitter as to composition. What they should do for these coins is require the submitter to pay for metal analysis, which then goes on the label in addition to the Judd number. And yes, I know of coins given wrong Judd numbers because of a lack of metal analysis by the TPG.

    Any time I see a coin in the various series made in both goloid and 90% silver, but with no metal analysis on the slab label, I think of the Judd number as fiction. Heritage has started including a disclaimer when it sells some of these coins.

    Goloid versus 90% silver is just one example. There are pairs or triplets of other lookalike alloys that were used for a particular design ... copper alloys, for example.

    BTW, although it might not be obvious from reading their guarantees, NGC and PCGS don't guarantee Judd numbers.

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  16. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    johnmilton, posted: "The fact that it's a genuine holder is really scary. The TPG's need to hire consultants to help them stop getting taken in like this. The fees they charge for certifying expensive coins like this should cover the costs. This is hurting their reputations and the hobby. This far from the first time that this has happened."

    You pay for a service and you get their best effort. Remember, the TPGS have a guarantee when they slab a counterfeit which has happened to ALL of the major services in the past and will continue to happen in the future!

    BTW, I can report will 100% certainty from personal experience over several decades that consultants are very often overrated. :jawdrop::D
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  17. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    I guess I should add this bit of history and one of the reasons the state of authentication is where it is today.

    Part One

    There have always been counterfeits. Before many of us were born, folks relied on dealers and advanced collectors to detect them. Most authentication was done by measurement. Checking the size, weight, style, and composition. You could probably count on one hand the number of people AROUND THE WORLD who ever looked at a large number of coins under high magnification. Fortunately, at that time and before a majority of counterfeits were not very good. However, all through time, there have been some famous exceptions - counterfeiters who were so good that their work passed as genuine until it was discovered. They made the "state-of-the-art" fakes of their time.

    Before the early 1970's counterfeit detection was hit or miss for the average collector. It seems that each area of the country had a go-to dealer to consult for opinions of authenticity and by this time there were quite a few numismatists around the country who specialized in a certain series of coins. Numismatists working in museums and the large European banks were often far ahead of the average dealer because they had access to genuine coins.

    The first requisite of counterfeit detection is to know what a genuine coin of the same type should look like. Unfortunately by the early 1970's, the fakes were improving so much that even the "not-so-state-of-the-art" counterfeits looked pretty good and fooled many prominent dealers and the authenticators who were considered to be the "experts" of their time. Aside from not detecting very deceptive counterfeit or altered coins, in the worse case, some of these experts were consistently condemning genuine coins as counterfeit!

    Counterfeiting had become a very serious problem for what was considered to be mostly a "hobby" at the time. The ANA and many important dealers raised money to establish an authentication service where people could send coins for an opinion as to their authenticity. The director of this new service was Charles Hoskins. In addition to being an advanced numismatist, he had been the Public Relations Officer at the Mint in Philadelphia. The initial library at the new service consisted of Hoskin's reference books! Having a basic knowledge of coins and techniques used by authenticators at the time, Hoskins was given several weeks of instruction at the Mint Laboratory and introduced to fluorescent light and a stereomicroscope. The Mint Lab in DC was charged to inspect coins, dies, and answer any questions dealing with coinage or manufacture that could not be handled at a specific mint facility in other cities.

    I was lucky to work at the new authentication service after it had been opened for several months because its two-person staff had became swamped with work. Here is the dirty little secret. There was no little black box we could place a coin into to be examined automatically so its authenticity could be determined with 100% accuracy. :(

    Coin authentication is a NEVER ENDING detailed learning process. You don't ever become an expert but with perseverance, virtually ANYBODY can acquire the skills, experience, and techniques to be better than 98% of the numismatists in the world, especially if they specialize in one series. Access to a stereomicroscope and unlimited genuine coins is a basic requirement. Today's student has it easy with the Internet, hands-on training, and dozens of top-quality reference books that were not yet written forty years ago.
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  18. Jack D. Young

    Jack D. Young Well-Known Member

    I thought it might be appropriate to add this to the discussion at this point; I have actually shown this documentation in other posts but it is updated to include this latest "member". The list is now 26 of these latest struck counterfeits using a genuine source coin to make the dies and strike the "clones". And again they are deceptive enough to have at least one and in many cases multiples of examples TPG authenticated.

    I enjoyed Insider's "Part One" response above and agree that collectors need to take control of their own knowledge level and become their own "experts" of the series they collect. I am an early copper guy but have learned other series through researching these and communicating with other specialists of the series of each suspect "coin"...

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  19. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    I think it best to break this up because I almost lost Part One to a glitch and I'm not rewriting it. It occurred to me that I should explain some of the reasons that all the TPGS are making a few more errors than you all think should be the case.

    PART 2

    The counterfeits that are being encountered today are very good and the "state-of-the-art" examples that pass the TPGS's as genuine for a while are unbelievable. If this technology would have been around in the 1960's every major collection would be full of fakes the became pedigreed and were bought and sold as genuine for decades just as the micro "O" fakes made generations ago. As a side note, when these coins were passed and became circulated they were state-of-the-art fakes at a time when counterfeit detection was in its infancy. They were possibly made by a foreign government however that is not the "story" (in old newspaper accounts) that accompanied them in the early 1900's when they were first detected (and then forgotten about by future numismatists). I believe that someone got a hold of the dies resulting in a group of high-grade modern fabrications leading to the detection of an entire "family" of counterfeits with examples that would still be undetected today!

    Now back to the history. A person does not wake up and become an expert authenticator. We had to learn for ourselves. In reality, the Mint lab "fathered" one line of professional authenticators while the other line was trained by "so-called-experts" of the day from the old hit and miss school of authentication. Remember I wrote that anyone can become proficient authenticators? Well, that's what eventually happened to that group. They learned to authenticate coins in spite of the failings of their original teachers! It just took them more time.

    This is the way it has worked AT EVERY prior authentication service in existence and the ones around today. I don't care what TPGS, who you are, what you did, or how big a professional dealer you were when you became a full-time authenticator. In the beginning, you made many errors. In 1986, what was going on at one new service provided countless hours of humor from authenticators who had already been working for years previously. You see, no one is an expert in all types of coins from all eras and countries. That's why, in many cases, the newly established services need to rely on consultants who are supposed to know what the genuine coins of their chosen specialty look like. Consultants were often professional dealers. Unfortunately, we quickly realized that many of them were unreliable sources for the correct opinion. After causing us to authenticate a fake Irish gold coin as genuine, we realized we would need to evaluate our consultant team. We continued to use many of them to educate us but most of our training became a process of authenticating the opinion of authenticators by personally studying genuine coins in museum collections. We also discovered that many advanced collectors who no one even heard of knew more about coins than the famous dealers acting as our consultants. Consultants are human and they are not perfect. In one case one of them authenticated an altered coin for us just because he had sold it! In most cases of incorrect opinions, the consultant had done his best but was just wrong. It is astonishing how a coin that looks absolutely genuine and is bought and sold in the market becomes a very crude fake when compared to a 100% genuine coin that has been locked in a museum collection for decades.

    Perhaps this will help explain why many counterfeits can pass a TPGS as genuine. Speed and expectations. You see, in the beginning, a submitter wanted an opinion one way or the other. Most did not care how long it took to reach the correct opinion. In some cases when the opinion of consultants was different and we could not choose the correct answer - a no-decision coin, we ere told to keep the coin and reach one! Sometimes, difficult or unfamiliar coins were sent to more than one consultant. Then when they were returned, the opinion of the consultants needed to be confirmed much of the time by direct comparison with a known genuine specimen under a microscope. We would need to save up difficult coins until we had enough to justify a plane trip to a New York museum or a walk to the Smithsonian Institute. This took time but no one cared. Our reputation and the reputation of the service were important to build and maintain. In several cases, it took almost a year to reach an opinion!

    That is not acceptable today. When you are hired as a professional authenticator at a TPGS they expect you to know everything and give the correct opinion in a matter of seconds. Very rarely is a coin held for further research. Microscopes were discouraged in the past but as of a few years ago, due to the quality of the counterfeits, I should expect there is at least one on a desk in the grading room at all times. I can be mistaken about this but I have always had one on my desk everywhere I worked and I used it!

    I'm going to turn this effort into a column for Numismatic news so there may be more later.
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  20. Jack D. Young

    Jack D. Young Well-Known Member

    Just an update- the LSCC is planning to publish my summary article on these in the next "Gobrecht Journal".
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  21. Mainebill

    Mainebill Wild Bill

    Thanks for updating I missed this thread the first go around. And I too collect trade dollars and love patterns. So thanks for the great research Jack
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