Another Fake? 1903-O & 1902-S Morgans
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79 posts in this topic

I thought I would start another thread for this coin, instead of maybe it getting buried in some of my pervious threads about Morgans.

Here is another 1903-O Morgan claimed to be MS that is rubbing me the wrong way.  When compared the obv just seems off, like with the eye, and in particular the O mint mark as well as the "O" in dollar on the reverse when compared to the PCGS examples on CoinFacts.  Attached is the coin and the comparison of the mint mark and "O" in dollar (listing on top and PCGS below).  Another fake?

 

1903-O Morgan Dollar BU+ - Bid eBay cri4obw.jpg

1903-O Morgan Dollar BU+ - Bid eBay cri4obw COMPARE.jpg

Edited by EagleRJO
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Posted (edited)

Thanks @Sandon for your comments in the other thread ...  

Quote

I suspect that this coin is also a fake, though not because of the shape or position of the mint mark.  The mint mark is a match to that shown for die variety VAM 3 (O Set Right, Tilted Left). However, other details of the reverse, such as the eagle's breast feathers and the shape of the gap between the eagle's neck and right wing don't seem to match the genuine article.  The oddly prooflike surfaces are also peculiar, though some genuine prooflike (rare) and semi-prooflike 1903-Os do exist. The coin is also oddly devoid of the usual bag marks.  This could be one of the newer, more deceptive Chinese counterfeits!

I apologize because I moved this to a new thread so it wouldn't get buried.  Attached is an example graded VAM 3 as well as a comparison of the listing (top) vs a VAM 3 (bot) from 1903-O VAM-3 - VAMWorld.  The "O" in dollar and in particular the mint mark still look off from the VAM 3.

Also, is that site where you go to look at the VAMS?

1903-O Morgan Dollar BU+ - MS62 ANACS VAM 3.jpg

1903-O Morgan Dollar BU+ - Bid eBay cri4obw vs VAM 3.jpg

Edited by EagleRJO
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Thanks guys, that is the VAM reference I had as posted.

On 8/13/2022 at 6:11 PM, J P Mashoke said:

It is MS looking but it is a photo. Buying raw coins from pictures is way chancy. You may do well and get real coins but there is that chance you will get a fake down the line?

I find it much more interesting to collect the raw coins, which are usually less expensive too.  Yes, I know buying raw coins involves risk, and typically would stick to raw coins from one of the larger dealers, particularly for the more common coins.  For more costly coins I am definitely going slabbed to protect myself.

Sometimes the dealers are out of the grade I'm interested in for some less common coins, like the 1903-O in XF, or like in this case I am keeping my eye on going prices and something seemed off with the coin or grade, so I post those.

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On 8/13/2022 at 5:54 PM, Mr.Bill347 said:

 Ow THIS is a fake! On EB for $65 lol

E295C872-72E3-4C0A-B08E-B78FDFE3A146.jpeg

4052E0CF-A728-4863-8CEC-51E87D0559CA.jpeg

OMG!!!!!!! In the same way a drawing of Daffy Duck is not a photograph of a duck. 

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   I was using the actual VAM book, formally titled Comprehensive Catalog and Encyclopedia of Morgan & Peace Dollars by Van Allen & Mallis (3d ed. 1991). (I had to place my digital microscope on a pile of 6 books to get the accompanying photo and still couldn't get the top of the photo.) There are newer editions that have added additional varieties, as well as on the web sites.  The photo of the mint mark in my book looks more like the photo on the likely counterfeit coin, but I think the difference is in the photos, not the coins.  Notice, however, the distinct difference in the surface texture on all of the photos of genuine coins versus that on this likely fake!

   If you are a new collector and want to buy more expensive uncertified coins, you should only buy them from reputable, well-established coin dealers, not from random people who post on eBay.  You should also only buy them after in-person examination.  I'm sure that there are established coin dealers and coin shows in your well-populated area.  Have you tried them?

 

 

 

S20220813_0001.jpg

Edited by Sandon
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On 8/13/2022 at 6:00 PM, EagleRJO said:

For more costly coins I am definitely going slabbed to protect myself.

That’s not enough to save you. There are gazillions of fake slabs out there too. 

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On 8/13/2022 at 6:10 PM, Sandon said:

 If you are a new collector and want to buy more expensive uncertified coins and are a new collector, you should only buy them from reputable, well-established coin dealers, not from random people who post on eBay.  You should also only buy them after in-person examination.  I'm sure that there are established coin dealers and coin shows in your well-populated area.  Have you tried them?

ABSOLUTELY AGREED. Every bit of this. With every passing year, the percentage of crooks on eBay increases. And the ability of eBay to deal with it declines. “There is nothing good about the Internet that will not eventually be ruined by crooks and con men.”

Edited by VKurtB
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On 8/13/2022 at 7:10 PM, VKurtB said:

That’s not enough to save you. There are gazillions of fake slabs out there too. 

Yes, I saw a recent thread about fake slabs too.  Buyer beware for anything, which is why I am trying to learn as much as I can about coins I may be interested in.

On 8/13/2022 at 7:10 PM, Sandon said:

If you are a new collector and want to buy more expensive uncertified coins, you should only buy them from reputable, well-established coin dealers, not from random people who post on eBay.  You should also only buy them after in-person examination.  I'm sure that there are established coin dealers and coin shows in your well-populated area.  Have you tried them?

Yes, I am a newer collector who is more interested in collecting raw coins, except for the more expensive ones where I am definitely going slabbed (ahemm) to try and protect myself.  Coin shows have been scarce around me lately, and some of the local coin shops within reasonable distance don't always seem to have a good supply of the less common ones, but I am keeping my eyes open.  But even if from a more reputable dealer I am sure some of the really good fake coins slip through sometimes.

I not interested in buying the eBay listed coin, and the ones I have been looking at are really just to see if I can gauge the grade and maybe pick up things that don't seem right for my edification, and post if I have questions to learn as much as I can about the coins I'm interested in obtaining.

On 8/13/2022 at 7:10 PM, Sandon said:

   I was using the actual VAM book, formally titled Comprehensive Catalog and Encyclopedia of Morgan & Peace Dollars by Van Allen & Mallis (3d ed. 1991). (I had to place my digital microscope on a pile of 6 books to get the accompanying photo and still couldn't get the top of the photo.) ...but I think the difference is in the photos, not the coins.

I agree the overall appearance is off, which is maybe what got me thinking about if it's a fake.  I really appreciate the effort in getting to your VAM book to take a pic. ;) That does look a lot closer to the listing coin, but still seems off to me with what still looks like a narrower gap inside the mint mark.  It's also interesting that that pic looks a little different to me vs the one from the online VAM site for a VAM 3 posted above.

1903-O Morgan Dollar BU vs VAM 3 Sandon.jpg

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Give your local understocked guy a “want list”. Dealers have a dealer-only listserve where they can help one another. 

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On 8/13/2022 at 8:41 PM, VKurtB said:

Give your local understocked guy a “want list”. Dealers have a dealer-only listserve where they can help one another. 

Thanks for the advice, something I didn't think of doing just looking at what he had.

But in my mind the original question remains ... is that indeed a fake Morgan?

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Regarding fake slabs from EBay, does someone actually have one that appears untampered, great looking, that the TPG number checks out?

If so , I would like to see it.

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On 8/13/2022 at 7:00 PM, EagleRJO said:

Thanks guys, that is the VAM reference I had as posted.

I find it much more interesting to collect the raw coins, which are usually less expensive too.  Yes, I know buying raw coins involves risk, and typically would stick to raw coins from one of the larger dealers, particularly for the more common coins.  For more costly coins I am definitely going slabbed to protect myself.

Sometimes the dealers are out of the grade I'm interested in for some less common coins, like the 1903-O in XF, or like in this case I am keeping my eye on going prices and something seemed off with the coin or grade, so I post those.

I know you want raw coins that is cool and from all the posts you are checking things out closely. I just would hate to see you get a bad one that's all. 

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On 8/14/2022 at 5:39 PM, J P Mashoke said:

I know you want raw coins that is cool and from all the posts you are checking things out closely. I just would hate to see you get a bad one that's all.

Thanks, it may happen which is the risk I take with raw coins which is hands down my preference. So, I have been trying to learn as much as I can and post coins where I have questions.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/13/2022 at 7:10 PM, Sandon said:

you should only buy them from reputable, well-established coin dealers, not from random people who post on eBay

@Sandon Great advice as usual.  I buy very few coins on eBay, and those are almost always slabbed.  The vast majority of raw coins I have are from very large/reputable dealers or local coin shops.  However, I find going to eBay is a great place to check out raw garbage and learn about the grading and potential impairments and counterfeit coins, as opposed to just looking at a label.

Remember, I am collection coins, not TPG labels so I need to try and have a good understanding of these coins regardless of where I ultimately buy them or if they come with another person's opinion. :grin:

Edited by EagleRJO
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On 8/14/2022 at 9:51 AM, Mr.Bill347 said:

Regarding fake slabs from EBay, does someone actually have one that appears untampered, great looking, that the TPG number checks out?

If so , I would like to see it.

@Mr.Bill347 The attached is a counterfeit slabbed 1886-O Morgan from eBay, the legit slabbed 1886-O Morgan from GC, and a comparison of the bar codes from another forum.

1886-O Counterfeit Morgan Slab.webp

1886-O Legitimate Morgan Slab.webp

1886-O Counterfeit Bar Code vs Legit.webp

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God Eagle, you just scared the bejesus out of me, as I just seconds ago, popped for an 1883 CC MS63 Morgan!

yes I pre verified, hoped for it,  Bid for it and won it by $1. I just hope it’s not one of those kinds!,,

14CF6EF4-A1FC-4099-B3F0-1323972D6635.jpeg

Edited by Mr.Bill347
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The 1886-O is worth thousands in the mid MS grades where it's very profitable to swap out slabs/coins.  I think for that one they used a significantly lower-grade legit coin and put it in fake slab with the higher-grade label.  I guess it's always a possibility with any slab, but my guess is that it's much less likely for a $400 to $450 coin.  But I try to be careful and check out everything I am going to buy, including the grade and correctness, even for slabbed coins.

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The only thing that frightened me was that on the PCGS verification page, no photo was present. But this was a GSA hoard coin with the hoard numbers, so I’m really hoping I didn’t f**k up.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/14/2022 at 7:27 PM, Mr.Bill347 said:

The only thing that frightened me was that on the PCGS verification page, no photo was present. But this was a GSA hoard coin with the hoard numbers, so I’m really hoping I didn’t f**k up.

Yea, the cert pages don't always have a pic.  If your concerned post pics in a thread for ppl to check out and maybe give you some opinions either way.  And I assume you have a given period of time from when you receive it to take a very close look in-hand.  I would find the NGC/PCSG grade examples and varieties for the specific coin you purchased and carefully compare that to your coin.

Edited by EagleRJO
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Posted (edited)

I usually crop out the coin and put it side by side to compare to known examples, like this which doesn't take long to do at all.  Now take that and go to the NGC/PCSG examples for that coin/grade and compare the two carefully.  Keep in mind that it's my understanding that the date/mint are hand punched for each die for older coins so there can be variations with that I am still getting a handle on by going to sites like VamWorld.com.  @Sandon may be able to provide a little more insight on variations in general.

1883-CC Morgan Coin.jpg

Edited by EagleRJO
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On 8/14/2022 at 7:58 PM, EagleRJO said:

I usually crop out the coin and put it side by side to compare to known examples, like this which doesn't take long to do at all.  Now take that and go to the NGC/PCSG examples for that coin/grade and compare the two carefully.  Keep in mind that it's my understanding that the date/mint are hand punched for each die for older coins so there can be variations with that I am still getting a handle on by going to sites like VamWorld.com.  @Sandon may be able to provide a little more insight on variations in general.

1883-CC Morgan Coin.jpg

Yes Eagle I have been matching CC MS 63 coins all over the place, it wasn’t cheap, and imo, it’s legit, also the seller, who has a great rep, and nearly 1,000 sales is confident about it as well. Nonetheless, I get the shakes thinking about buying anything that costs this much.

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On 8/14/2022 at 8:11 PM, EagleRJO said:

Did you find the right VAM for that date and mint mark?  That has been the sticky part for me.

I am unable to fully determine the VAM from the photos , however if I were to guess, before I actual see it, VAM 2,

slanted CC, doubled C

92739F7E-325E-4E06-91C6-130C338889AF.jpeg

BA17871A-4662-483C-BBCF-BF484869B43B.jpeg

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   RJO-Eagle--You seem to believe that it is necessary to determine the die variety of a Morgan dollar in order to authenticate it.  This generally isn't how it's done, especially for more common coins like an 1883-CC!  In my VAM book, the first "variety" listed for every date and mint is "normal die", which doesn't refer to a specific die pair but refers generically to all die pairs that don't have enough distinctive characteristics to warrant a separate listing.  For higher mintage dates (1886-O for example, notwithstanding its low mint state population) this listing could cover a large number of die pairs that have only minute differences in date and mint mark positions and aren't covered by any photo or description in the VAM book or website.  

   The only Morgan dollar I know of where checking the die variety is essential to authentication is the 1893-S, all of which were struck from a single obverse die that per the VAM book "has a small, raised diagonal die polishing line in the top of T in LIBERTY."

   To get a better comfort level that you're buying a genuine uncertified coin--and you can never be absolutely sure, unless you bought the coin directly from the mint--you must look at a number of coins (not photos) to get a "feel" for what genuine ones look like.  It's largely a matter of experience.

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