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New Counterfeit Morgan Dollar Discovered

NSDR Journal


August 1995



New Counterfeit Morgan Dollar Discovered

By Michael Fahey



ANACS recently encountered a die struck counterfeit 1893-O Morgan silver dollar.  The overall appearance and surface quality of this new counterfeit is similar to the fake 1896-O silver dollar identified on page 73 of Counterfeit Detection:  A Reprint from the Numismatist, Volume 2.  However, the fake 1893-O is much more deceptive than the 1896-O – if both fakes were produced by the same counterfeiter, he is getting better.

The counterfeit 1893-O seen by ANACS was in AU condition with some rather heavy surface marks.  Even with these impairments, the remaining luster and color was not quite “right” for an 1893-O.  A close inspection of the surfaces revealed light porosity, a number of small pimples and raised lines, and a ragged texture to the date digits and some of the lettering.  The most easily spotted diagnostics are:

1. Two raised lumps of metal directly in front of Miss Liberty’s nose.  Note ragged texture of “E” in E PLURIBUS UNUM and pimples in front of the lips and chin. (Photo 1)

2. A small raised line between the rim and the right side of the “B” in PLURIBUS. (not shown)

3. A slanting raised line in the field between the “E” of ONE and the “D” of DOLLAR.  (Photo3)

4. A mushy, ragged appearance on the date digits, especially at the bottom of each digit.  This effect also appears on the two stars to the right of the date. (Photo 2)

5. A small round depression just to the right of the small leaf above the “A” of DOLLAR.  (Photo 3)




Other minor diagnostics include a small raised line inside the “U” of UNITED, a small patch of raised dots to the upper right of the first “T” in STATES, a small depression above the right upright of the “M” in AMERICA, and several other small depressions and raised dots.

ANACS considers this counterfeit to the deceptive enough to avoid detection by most numismatists, until the above diagnostics are employed.  Without a careful examination with a quality magnifier, most of this fake’s defects could be explained as simply due to a rusted die, not that uncommon for New Orleans silver dollars.  Other dates that may be targeted for counterfeiting are 1894-O, 1895-O and 1897-O, if this counterfeiter continues with his present pattern.  Should anyone encounter potential counterfeits of these or other dates in the Morgan dollar series, ANACS would appreciate seeing them.

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