Lion Thaler Counterfeit?

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by Redrazz, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. Redrazz

    Redrazz New Member

    FD14D21A-BD3F-476F-A963-3AE7EB9ACC23.jpeg FF24AA4B-6226-44D1-8F16-7225731D23CC.jpeg 91782360-9C49-4DF6-8F47-C391E31BD6A2.jpeg

    Hi all,

    I picked up this Lion Thaler counterfeit a few days ago, mistaking it for the 1660 Rietberg contemporary counterfeit (copper plated silver). I am wondering if I completely wasted my money here, or if this is still some kind of contemporary counterfeit.

    This coin has the appearance of a 1589 Netherlands Lion Thaler. It is 40 millimetres in length and weighs 23.3 grams. It does not stick to a magnet.

    I also added a photo of the rim.

    Thank you!
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  3. spirityoda

    spirityoda Coin Junky Supporter

    I am looking at my 17th century Krause catalog in the Netherlands section and your coin looks very much like the Daalder denomination, but on your coin I see no date. Do you know the date ? I think it supposed to be on the large lion side. Sorry I am not much help. This mystery will drive me nuts in a good way. Wait for more opinions/help...
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
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  4. spirityoda

    spirityoda Coin Junky Supporter

    After looking at coins on Ebay I discovered where the date is. It's on The small lion side with that dude...1589

  5. spirityoda

    spirityoda Coin Junky Supporter

  6. spirityoda

    spirityoda Coin Junky Supporter

  7. Redrazz

    Redrazz New Member

  8. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    To me this just has the looks of a coin that spent some time in the ground. I think it is a good coin.
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  9. Redrazz

    Redrazz New Member

    It gives me the impression of being used, however it doesn’t appear to be silver. I’m not sure what purity the original Netherlands coins had, but this specimen has less than 80% silver.
  10. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    And it should, they were produced with .750 silver. The weight has me a bit puzzled though as it should be 27.67 gm, and the coin has no where near enough wear on it to even come close to accounting for that - even with tolerances taken into account. Also, even though it was beyond common for more than a few of the mint masters to produce debased coins, I cannot even imagine any of them trying to debase a coin that much.

    Given that, and the size you report, I can only conclude that your assessment of it being a counterfeit is correct.
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  11. Redrazz

    Redrazz New Member

    Thank you for the information! I was pretty sure that it was. I guess now I’m curious if it’s a contemporary counterfeit or not.

    Attaching example of what I am now wondering it to be:
  12. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Could be, but unless you can find references stating such there's really no way to know for sure. *see below

    In what way ? What I mean is there's a couple of different ways to interpret your comment. Are you wondering if it's a thaler ? Answer to that is no. It's correct in detail for a 1589 Holland lion dollar - except the weight.

    Or, are you simply wondering if it's plated copper like the coin you linked ? Again, the answer is it could be. A specific gravity test would give you an indication but it really wouldn't be definitive. About the only way to know for sure would be a destructive test of one kind or another.

    I would comment further to say that out and out counterfeits during that time period in the Netherlands were certainly not unheard of, but they weren't exactly commonplace either. Penalties, even for minting debased coins, let alone counterfeits, were to say the least extremely severe. One of the more common punishments in the Netherlands was literally boiling the offender alive. Point being, not a whole lot of people did it.

    * I would also comment that the genuine 1589 Holland lion dollar was not exactly a low mintage coin but it wasn't a high mintage either. Between 1596-1591 Holland minted 321,528 lion dollars. The 2 years prior to that they only minted just inder 60,000 and the year after that just under 20,000. My point is, it's not really a scarce coin to the best of my knowledge so not particularly likely to be a counterfeit made to fool collectors. But, it certainly could be.
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  13. Seattlite86

    Seattlite86 Outspoken Member

    Agreed, this coin would fool me from the photos (not knowing the weight, but I wouldn’t buy without knowing it).

    @Redrazz can you elaborate on your desire for contemporary counterfeits and your interest in Talers? I don’t know many people, who are your age, who are interested/knowledgeable in these coins.
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  14. Redrazz

    Redrazz New Member

    Sorry for the confusion! I guess I was wondering if it was a silver plated copper counterfeit. I don’t know much about counterfeiting and wasn’t sure how commonplace it truly was- or how it was done.

    I appreciate all of your information! This definitely helps.
  15. Redrazz

    Redrazz New Member

    I’m studying history at my university and that is one of my main reasons for being interested particularly in pre-19th century coins. The different designs of each German state is a fun collecting point for me, and one day I hope to own a number of my own thalers (only one right now- broke college student!). I’ve also spent a few weeks in Germany and hope to collect coins from the places I’ve traveled.

    While I enjoy my thalers, medieval coinage is also high on my list. Unfortunately, it seems like there aren’t too many people in my area specialising in those pieces. That’s why I’ve posted a few coins here (either from the coin store I work at or from my own finds!). There are plenty of coin stores in my area, but the closest fella specialising in these kinds of coins is located two hours away.
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  16. Redrazz

    Redrazz New Member

    Also, the idea of contemporary counterfeits is just neat to me, as there were some severe penalties. It’s just a small collection that I have right now, though!
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  17. Seattlite86

    Seattlite86 Outspoken Member

    I actually live in Germany. Well, at least for the next month or so. Some of my German friends have helped me expand my German states collection to a respectable level (@micbraun @Rheingold ). My favorite German states coins are probably those from Basel. I don’t own any of their Talers, but those dragons (basilica) are awesome! Mansfeld also has some really cool ones, too. I also love the city scapes. Okay. There are a lot of Talers that interest me! Can you share a photo of yours?

    Also, MA-Shops is a great place for both medieval and German states coins; they are the eBay of that area and have very reputable dealers. Feel free to ask me or the two I tagged should you have questions on something you are considering purchasing.

    Edit: I’ve always wanted to work in or own a coin shop. :)
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  18. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    I have a Netherlands Gelderland 1622 Rix dollar that is severely underweight at 24.44 gm.

    Netherlands Rix dollar (Rijksdaalder) Gelderland 1622
    Silver, 40 mm, 24.44 gm

    Armored bust of William the Silent facing right holding shield of Gelderland
    (Moneta Argentea Provinciarum Confoederatarum Belgii Gelriae)
    Crown over shield, lion facing left holding sword

    People who have looked at the coins say it is genuine but underweight and may have spent some time in the ocean (shipwreck) which sometimes corrodes and causes silver loss.

    The OP's coin may have also spent time in the ocean.

    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
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  19. jgenn

    jgenn World Crown Collector

    Check your geography on the location of Basel.
  20. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Well, to the best of my knowledge, plating is not something that was common at all back then. I would go so far as to say it was non-existent. What was common however was a process known as a silver wash. It was done by immersing base metal coins in a solution containing silver dissolved in the solution. This left a very, very, thin layer of silver on the base metal coin. But it was enough to often fool the unwary merchant. It wouldn't fool a moneychanger for a second though !

    Plating vs wash may sound like semantics but it really isn't as they are two different things done by different methods. And back then, the technology to produce plated coins really didn't exist.

    In conversations like this another thing that is confusing in itself is the use of the word counterfeit. What I'm getting at is that there are counterfeits and then there are debased coins, and they are definitely not the same thing. A counterfeit is a coin made of base metal, and washed, or not. A debased coin is merely one where the weight and or fineness is reduced below specification. But, in conversation, many use the terms interchangeably, and incorrectly.

    Take your coin for example. I do not believe it to be a counterfeit, merely a debased coin. And out and out counterfeits were far, far, less common that debased coins. In fact some mints, at least during the tenure of a given mint master, were known for producing nothing but debased coins. What's worse is that they got away with it because of mint rights - which is an entirely different story all by itself.

    Studying the minting process, its technology, methods, mint rights and what they entailed and how they were acquired and even applied in a legal sense - all of that requires a great deal of research and study. But it can be done by anyone with the will and determination to do so. But, it must be noted that the information you seek can only be acquired piecemeal for the most part, a piece can be found here, another there, using a combination of books, articles, even original mint archives. There simply are no books that contain it all.

    There is however one book that contains a good bit of it, a book that I helped write. And that brings up another point I wish to mention to you. You mentioned above that the closest person to you specializing in your interest was 2 hours away. Well count your blessings he is that close ! I say that because the student of mine that I helped write the book with - he lives in Poland, and I'm in Florida. But between thousands of hours of phone calls, and more emails than can be counted, and more research and study than can even be imagined - the book got written, published, and won the NLG 2016 Best Book on World Coins award. It is the only book of its kind to have ever been written. That book would do you a lot of good towards furthering your research and knowledge base. If you can find a way, you should acquire one.

    And no, I'm not saying this to get you to buy the book for my own benefit. Ya see, I didn't make one cent from writing that book - not one - nor will I ever. All of the numismatic writing I have ever done - I do for free. So I have absolutely nothing to gain from suggesting you get a copy.

    But to comply with forum rules, and yeah even I must do that, I cannot name the book or provide a link.

    My primary point for you in telling you about that book is this - do not let distance to sources of information be a hindrance to your research and study. In today's world, distance is easily overcome ;)
  21. Seattlite86

    Seattlite86 Outspoken Member

    Yes Basel is in Switzerland. And Hall is in Austria, where my Teutonic Order 2T avatar comes from. But I don’t believe that disqualifies them as German States coins. Not all Germanic folks lived in Germany proper and Thalers are a German word, used by German speaking folks. For that reason, I have considered both to fall under German States coinage. This may be technically inaccurate, but I’ve not yet acquired a book that discusses all the german states in depth.
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