Struck Counterfeit Coin of the Week: 1787 Massachusetts “4C” Half Cent + 1-Page Attribution Guide

By Jack D. Young, Early American Coppers (EAC) for CoinWeek ......
 

A comment I have heard in regards to these latest struck fakes is that the counterfeiters do not copy low-grade or common coins; the subject of this latest article begs to differ and I titled my previous Colonial Coin Collectors Club (C4) News Letter article “A Story of a Curious “4-C Massachusetts 1⁄2 Cent”. This article is intended as another installment disclosing discovered current deceptive struck counterfeits and establishing one-page attribution guides for each; the research continues to be a collaborative effort with many participating numismatic clubs, Facebook “Dark Side” members and other friends participating.

* * *

1787 Massachusetts “4C” half cent. Images courtesy Jack D. Young

After seeing this “coin” listed for auction on the Internet by one of members of the same group of apparently connected sellers I monitor I immediately turned my “suspicious eye” on it; starting with the third-party grading certification I became even more suspicious of this one, as the online cert verification stated “Grade: CONTACT CUSTOMER SERVICE”. I pulled the pics from the listing and emailed them to several C4/EAC folks I know for their opinions, as this was my first look at a Massachusetts copper. The results drove more questions, as the pics weren’t great and the “coin” wasn’t in-hand but everyone who reviewed it stated concerns about its possible authenticity; another consideration was the possibility it was an unknown die state/variety, so how cool would that be?

Biting the bullet, I decided to “win” the auction (for an undisclosed embarrassing price) and turn this research article into another personal learning experience thanks to the help of several “copper friends”.

One of the initial steps I take in investigating an interesting “coin” is to compare it to images of a known genuine example. There are many outstanding coin related web sites to use as resources to this end (auction houses, TPG sites, etc.). In this case I found a similar example of the same variety on Heritage Auction’s website and created the comparison images as follows:

1787 Massachusetts “4C” half cent, Jack D. Young and Heritage Auction example comparison

Left: Writer’s example (image courtesy of NGC); Right: Genuine example (image courtesy Heritage/HA.com)

The red circles highlight areas of differences between these two examples. From this review it became more apparent how to search for other ones, concentrating on the differences to a known one AND the apparent damage noted at the lower eagle/date area of the suspect one.

1787 Massachusetts 4C half cent, additional internet examples

Two additional internet sale examples

Note the longer bow, “reworked” die break, and the same reverse “damage”, the ding on the first “7”, flattening of the lower branch and notch in the tail feather over “8” of these examples.

1787 Massachusetts 4C half cent reverse diagnostics

Since my C4NL article ran last fall we have found two more examples of this one; the first in December 2016 was encapsulated by one of the TPGs, the second example was listed on the Internet in June 2017 and was raw. That makes the current count seven documented examples - with no way to know how many more are actually “out there”!

The attribution page follows.

1787 Massachusetts 4C half cent counterfeit attribution 1

Struck Counterfeit - May 2016 internet (writer’s example)

1787 Massachusetts 4C half cent counterfeit attribution 2

Possible “Source” Example; Genuine Example (courtesy HA.com)

Key Attribution Points:

1787 Massachusetts 4C half cent counterfeit attribution 3

Longer Bow (Far Left, Center Left); Tooled/removed obverse die break (Center, Center Right); Reverse Damage (Far Right)

* * *

Best,

--Jack
 


NGC-Certified United States Copper Large Cents Currently Available on eBay

eBay
 Pic Title Details
1831 NGC VF20 LARGE CENT PENNY FREE SHIPPING BEAUTIFUL! NICE OLD COPPER!! Current Price: $84.95
# of Bids: 0
Ending: 12 days 1 hr 56 mins
1853 Braided Hair 1C MS 65 Red NGC Certified Copper US Minted Large Cent Coin Current Price: $3149.72
# of Bids: 0
Ending: 15 days 3 hrs 29 mins
1857 Large Date Braided Hair Copper Large Cent NGC VF35 Current Price: $123.5
# of Bids: 11
Ending: 3 days 10 hrs 2 mins
1803 Draped Bust 1C SM DATE SM FRAC NGC VF Details US Copper Large Cent Current Price: $269.0
# of Bids: 0
Ending: 12 days 8 hrs 28 mins
1855 NGC MS62 Large Cent Uncirculated Braided Hair Rare Copper Penny Ships FREE Current Price: $249.97
# of Bids: 0
Ending: 1 day 20 hrs 23 mins
1851 LARGE CENT NGC AU53 BN FREE SHIPPING! PENNY PRE CIVIL WAR R_4 TYPE COPPER! Current Price: $139.95
# of Bids: 0
Ending: 24 days 2 hrs 23 mins
 View all items...(Powered by: WP eBay Ads)  

Post a Comment

 
LLC. Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved. No portion of this site may be reproduced or copied without Written Permission
PO Box 4203 Ormond Beach, Florida 32175 | Office Hrs M-S 7:00AM-7:00PM | Toll Free: 800-579-5228 | Email:news@coinweek.com

ABOUT COINWEEK | ADVERTISING | WEEKLY COIN GIVEAWAY | CONTRIBUTE ARTICLES | NEWSLETTER | TERMS OF USE
Real Time Analytics