Northeast's Blog

Frankly Speaking - Counterfeit Coins New!
06/05/2024

The following was written by Frank.

     Coins have been counterfeited since the days of the Roman Empire and counterfeiters continue to deceive the average everyday consumer and the astute numismatist alike to this day. The U.S. Secret Service estimates that there is $147 million in counterfeit U.S. currency in global circulation. After thousands of years, it is clear that the issue of counterfeiting is here to stay, even though there are high-tech security measures in today’s paper currency. Similarly, counterfeiters have been counterfeiting rare coins with intentions to deceive collectors and dealers. In this blog post, we will be focusing on two of the most common counterfeit coins, the 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent and the 1916-D Mercury Dime.

     The 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent is one of the most popular coins of the twentieth century. In high uncirculated grades, this coin can be worth many thousands of dollars. It’s no surprise that counterfeiters would want to counterfeit such a popular and valuable coin. Many counterfeit pieces are either genuine 1909 VDB or 1909-S cents with alterations; either the S is added to where the mintmark should be, or the designer’s initials, VDB, are added to where they should be on the reverse. One way to differentiate a genuine example is by the examination of the mintmark and the VDB. There are only 4 mintmark positions on genuine 1909 S VDB cents, so it must match one of the 4 pictured below.

Images courtesy of NGC.

 

     Pictured below are the differences between genuine and counterfeit designer initials. The first one is a counterfeit, the second is genuine.

 

Images courtesy of NGC.

 

     Another popular key date that is often counterfeited is the 1916-D Mercury Dime. Similar to the 1909-S VDB cent, a genuine 1916-D Mercury Dime can be worth many thousands of dollars; counterfeiters focus on popular key date coins. Many counterfeit 1916-D Mercury Dimes are either genuine 1916 Philadelphia or San Francisco issues, but with either an added or altered mintmark. There are 4 known reverse dies that struck 1916-D Mercury Dimes. Interestingly enough, all genuine 1916-D Mercury Dimes have a slightly rotated die. The mintmark on genuine examples also has a triangular shape inside the mintmark.

Image courtesy of CoinHelpU.

 

     One of the best ways of detecting counterfeit coins is by handling lots of coins and having sufficient tools. Once you get an understanding of what genuine examples of rare coins look like, you’ll be able to say to yourself “That doesn’t look right.” when encountering counterfeits. It is oftentimes hard to describe why you believe a coin to be counterfeit, but after a while you will certainly get an eye for counterfeit detection. Because of such minute details, a 10 power jewelers loupe is recommended for counterfeit detection.

     This article was merely a brush over on the topic of counterfeit coins and can be delved into much deeper. Because counterfeit rare coins are an everlasting threat to the hobby and will only get better, we stress the importance of buying rare coins authenticated and graded by dependable third-party grading services. An emerging threat to the hobby are counterfeit slabs. This will be the topic of the next edition of Frankly Speaking that will be released shortly. Stay tuned!

Sources:

https://coinauctionshelp.com/1916-dmercurydimeID.html

https://www.ngccoin.com/news/article/5217/Counterfeit-1909-S-VDB-Lincoln-Cents/

https://coinauctionshelp.com/1916-dmercurydimeID.html

https://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/02/can-you-find-the-forgery.html#:~:text=It%20turns%20out%20there%27s%20upwards%20of%20%24147%20million,the%20%24100%20bill%20is%20the%20most%20common%20overseas.


Why does this keep happening?! (6/5/24 AND 6/6/24)) New!
05/08/2024
There is 1 comment on this post.

The following was written by Chris.

Question for you. If you were traveling somewhere in your car with your coin collection, would you stop for food along the way and leave your collection (or any valuables for that matter) in the car? The answer should be “Of course not!” It is mind boggling to me the number of dealers whose vehicles are being burglarized on their way home from coin shows. While we of course feel for these folks, this is a 100% completely avoidable situation!

The Numismatic Crime Information Center (NCIC) is a non-profit organization that assists law enforcement agencies in their investigations of numismatic crimes. (For more information on NCIC, visit Numismaticcrimes.org.) They regularly put out email alerts about such crimes. These days, there are way too many alerts about vehicle burglaries. Take a look below for some recent examples.

May 2024

The owner of xxxxxx traveling home from the Central States Numismatic Society coin show was the victim of a vehicle burglary in Des Plaines, IL. The victim stopped at a restaurant and while inside suspects broke out the window to his vehicle and removed several bags containing a large inventory of currency.

April 2024

A dealer returning home from the recent Statesville, NC show stopped to eat and while inside the restaurant unknown suspect/suspects smashed the window of his vehicle and stole a portion of his inventory.

April 2024 (Yep, two in a month.)

A dealer heading home after the Albany Georgia coin show stopped to eat and while inside witnesses observed two male suspects smash the passenger window and remove coins from the vehicle. The suspects left in a grey Mitsubishi Eclipse.

February 2024 (While the circumstances are a bit different, the story is the same. Vehicle left unattended with coins inside.)

A dealer returning home from the recent Baltimore Stamp & Coin Show held on February 10, 2024 in Timonium, MD was the victim of a vehicle burglary. The dealer pulled into his driveway and went into the house for several minutes and when he returned to his vehicle unknown suspect/suspects entered his vehicle and removed a large tub containing his show inventory

October 2023

A dealer was the victim of a vehicle burglary after attending the recent Tuckwila, WA coin show. The dealer stopped for a short period of time and unknown suspect/suspects entered her vehicle and removed a large amount of foreign coin inventory.

It seems like basic common sense to never leave your valuables unattended in a vehicle, yet it keeps happening over and over. It might be the “well, it’ll never happen to me” approach that some people tend to take. I’ve got bad news for you…it probably will at some point if your routine when leaving a coin show is to stop for food.

As an aside, the scary thing is that we of course only hear about the times when someone does actually stop and has their vehicle burglarized. Think about all the times when someone is followed home or to their office and the would-be thieves don’t get the opportunity to do their thing and thus drive off. To collectors and dealers alike, BE ALERT when traveling with your collection/inventory.

Here's a new one from 6/5/24. Ridiculous.

On May 25, 2024, a dealer, traveling home from a show in Crown Point, Indiana was the victim of a brazen theft that occurred in Crete, Il. The victim stopped to eat and while in the restaurant, two suspect vehicles pulled up on both sides of the victims vehicle. The suspects then broke the victim’s van window and grabbed totes with the victims inventory. The incident was captured by the restaurant parking lot video and took less than one minute. The suspect vehicles were described as a blue Odyssey and a blue Dodge Caravan.

But wait, there's more. From 6/6/24.

A dealer attending the Salem-Roanoke coin show in Salem, VA was the victim of a vehicle burglary after leaving the show for the evening on 6/1/24 and stopped at a restaurant to eat. The victim went inside the restaurant and when he returned to his vehicle unknown suspects had broken out the rear window and removed his inventory. The victim had taken his coins out of the show cases to take back to the hotel instead of leaving them at the show. No suspect or vehicle information is available at this time.

Comments:
Created by: Panda on 05/08/2024

Same thing happened here in Canada, the dealer lost his inventory and never do the show anymore, sad!

https://canadiancoinnews.com/dealer-loses-an-estimated-500k-in-post-show-theft/

Sorry for the delayed reply, Panda. We had some a technical glitch in our blog software. Terrible story about this Canadian dealer and his family!  : (


We dodged the bullet! New!
03/13/2024

The ANA National Money Show (the Midwinter Show) is this week in Colorado Springs. We decided not to attend, partly because it's a bit of a pain to get to, and mainly because the Whitman Coin Expo is next week in Baltimore. Boy, are we glad we didn't go.

To those of you who are attending, button up and be careful!


Frankly Speaking - Overstruck Coins New!
02/15/2024

    The following was written by Frank. 

     Overstruck coins offer great value to collectors, as each coin offers an historically significant story. There are various reasons why a coin might be overstruck, including a country’s economic issues, mint errors, and private overstrikes.

     One of the most popular and affordable examples of an overstruck coin is the Brazilian 960 Reis. In 1810, Brazil was still under Portuguese colonial rule. At the time, a Spanish 8 Reales coin was valued at 750 Brazilian Reis. The Portuguese government decided to overstrike 8 Reales and denominate them at 960 Reis, this was to discourage mass exportation of coins to other nations. Also, the government profited greatly from doing so, nearly 30% after revaluing these coins. From 1810-1827, an estimated figure of 22.5 million 960 Reis were overstruck. The overwhelming majority of these 960 Reis coins are overstruck on Spanish 8 Reales, but there are some other undertype coins that have been discovered over the years including U.S. Bust Dollars, a single 1696 British Crown, Bank of England 1804 Dollars, Indian Madras 2 Rupees, Austrian Mother Teresa Thalers, Netherlands Silver Ducats, and many more unique undertypes. Many of the undertype coins were sourced from visitors of Brazil, which is why there is a great variety of undertypes. Common and circulated 960 Reis coins overstruck on Spanish 8 Reales are very affordable, they can easily be purchased for a couple hundred dollars. In comparison, a regular non-overstruck Spanish 8 Reales are available for $150-$200, very little premium if any at all for an overstruck 960 Reis. Talk about a coin packed with value!

1818 960 Reis overstruck on a 1799 U.S. Bust Dollar. Much of the overstruck Bust Dollar’s design is still visible, including the date, “Liberty”, and the eagle’s talons. Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

 

     There are many fabulous overstruck coins that have been discovered; some of them will leave you scratching your head, including a proof 1970-S Washington Quarter struck over an 1898 $5 Liberty, which sold for $93,000 in January 2023. This is likely not a mint error because of the strict quality control of the U.S. Mint, especially when producing proof coins. This must have been the clever work of a Mint employee who thought it would be neat to “make” a nearly impossible mint error. Interestingly enough, there is also a proof 1970-S Washington Quarter overstruck on a Canadian King George V silver quarter, which sold for $7,800 in August 2020. Again, this was likely not a legitimate mint error, but a Mint employee having fun.

1970-S Proof Washington Quarter overstruck on an 1898 $5 Liberty. Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

1970-S Proof Washington Quarter overstruck on a Canadian King George V Quarter. Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

 

     One of the most interesting private overstrikes is the 1861 Confederate Half Dollar Restrike of 1879. Around 1879, coin dealer Ebenezer Locke Mason Jr. purchased an original 1861 Confederate Half Dollar and the reverse die from Confederate Chief Coiner Dr. B. F. Taylor. Mason then sold both pieces to J.W. Scott, who struck roughly 500 restrikes of the 1861 Confederate Half Dollar. To produce these restrikes, Scott purchased around 500 1861 dated half dollars, planed down the reverses of each coin, and struck the reverse with the Confederate reverse die. This is quite a unique overstrike example, as only half of the coin was overstruck!

1861 Confederate Half Dollar Restrike. Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

 


Tom's interview with Greg Bennick New!
01/26/2024