Counterfeit Detection: 1870-CC Quarter

by Max Spiegel, Numismatic Researcher  – With Permission Courtesy of Numismatic Guaranty Corporation

The 1870-CC is the key to the Seated Liberty quarter series. Read about the counterfeit that was submitted and how our experts recognized it.

1870 cc fake ngc Counterfeit Detection: 1870 CC QuarterOne of the most interesting fakes that NGC has received in the past year was an 1870-CC quarter. The 1870-CC is the key to the Seated Liberty quarter series with a mintage of just 8,340 pieces and a very low survival rate. Fewer than 100 examples are believed to exist. The coin submitted to NGC had the overall impression of a Mint State coin and would easily have sold for a six figure sum had it been genuine.

This counterfeit was expertly produced and could have easily fooled even the most experienced coin dealers. NGC employs some of the world’s foremost authorities on counterfeit detection and our graders noticed that the mintmark style of this piece did not match other 1870-CC quarters.

015477 mm tb Counterfeit Detection: 1870 CC QuarterAll 1870-CC quarters were struck from the same pair of dies, and on the reverse the CC mintmark is small and the letters are widely spaced. The top serif of the first C points to the lower left end of the last arrow fletching.

On this spurious 1870-CC, the mintmark is tall, the letters are close together, and it is well centered below the eagle. Not only is the mintmark wrong, but there are also prominent clash marks on the reverse unlike anything seen on other 1870-CC quarters. Clearly this is not the right reverse.

1870 cc fake detail1 Counterfeit Detection: 1870 CC QuarterThe counterfeiter must not have had access to images of a genuine 1870-CC quarter and thus modeled the reverse after a different year with a different mintmark style.

Few people have seen enough 1870-CC quarters to recognize that the mintmark was wrong on this specimen. NGC has graded a genuine 1870-CC quarter on 41 occasions, and NGC graders have probably seen more examples than virtually anyone in numismatics. This experience led NGC to determine that this rare and valuable coin was actually an expertly manufactured fake.

Be sure to check out NGC’s Counterfeit Detection column published monthly in the American Numismatic Association’s The Numismatist.

About the Author:

NGC was founded in 1987, and for coin grading, its opening heralded the introduction of a new standard of integrity. From the beginning NGC focused on only one objective, a standard of consistent and accurate grading. As NGC has grown to become the leader in third-party grading services, we have maintained a steadfast and uncompromising commitment to this standard. The knowledge, integrity and dedication of NGC's team of grading experts ensures you a level of grading consistency unparalleled among grading services. This record of consistency, built over the years, has helped to foster greater stability throughout the rare coin marketplace.

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