Another Fake? 1903-O & 1902-S Morgans
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Posted (edited)

Thanks Sandon, it just seemed like every time I went to check if a Morgan was legit a die variety popped up, like with this coin and discussions of counterfeits seemed to commonly focus on the date and mint mark, which I understand can vary significantly with older coins as those things are hand punched for different dies.  I have recently had a lot of Morgans in my hands working on my collection, but maybe that is just something that takes time to develop that feel if its legit or not.  For now, I'm just trying to do the best I can at identifying problem or counterfeit coins.

Edited by EagleRJO
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On 8/14/2022 at 8:57 PM, Sandon said:

   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.

Yes I was wondering why you wanted the VAM listing to check coins ? I have a hard enough time looking for a vam marker with a coin in my hand let alone from a photo?

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Posted (edited)

It's actually pretty easy to check varieties for Morgans.  VamWorld has a table by year and mint which you just click on, like 1903-O for this one, and the basic descriptions are listed right there.  For this one it was an "O" mint mark which was set right and tilted left compared to the verified examples I was looking at (the first comparison I posted), which is a VAM-3, and clicking on that gives you descriptions & photos of the variety right there (the second comparison I posted).  That also can give you any die lines or cracks which is another key comparison tool. I have imaging software to rotate and line up the two images which can be overlapped and swapped quickly to campare.

I am more interested in raw coins and trying to be careful with possible counterfeit coins, even with some of the common date/mint Morgans.  I started looking carefully at the dates and mint marks on raw coins after reading the chapter on "Identifying Genuine Coins" in the Official Guide to Coin Grading and Counterfeit Detection by PCGS which stated right off the bat ... "Knowledge of die characteristics, the shape of mint marks, the styles of digits, and how coins are made all comes into play when confirming authenticity".

I started noticing differences, sometimes significant in the location, spacing, and orientation of the lettering, dates and mint marks on some Morgans, mostly the last two as apparently these are hand punched into the dies for older coins like Morgans.  So, I guess it just started becoming part of my routine in checking out older Morgans where they didn't match, or where I saw distinct marks that could be either a scratch or die line.

Edited by EagleRJO
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On 8/15/2022 at 8:10 AM, EagleRJO said:

It's actually pretty easy to check varieties for Morgans.  VamWorld has a table by year and mint which you just click on, like 1903-O for this one, and the basic descriptions are listed right there.  For this one it was an "O" mint mark which was set right and tilted left compared to the verified examples I was looking at (the first comparison I posted), which is a VAM-3, and clicking on that gives you descriptions & photos of the variety right there (the second comparison I posted).  That also can give you any die lines or cracks which is another key comparison tool.

I am more interested in raw coins and trying to be careful with possible counterfeit coins, even with some of the common date/mint Morgans.  I started looking carefully at the dates and mint marks on raw coins after reading the chapter on "Identifying Genuine Coins" in the Official Guide to Coin Grading and Counterfeit Detection by PCGS which stated right off the bat ... "Knowledge of die characteristics, the shape of mint marks, the styles of digits, and how coins are made all comes into play when confirming authenticity".

I started noticing differences, sometimes significant in the location, spacing, and orientation of the lettering, dates and mint marks on some Morgans, mostly the last two as apparently these are hand punched into the dies for older coins like Morgans.  So, I guess it just started becoming part of my routine in checking out older Morgans where they didn't match, or where I saw distinct marks that could be either a scratch or die line.

Yes it is easy that is why I sent you that link but ,Wow. That is a lot of extra work if you are not holding the coin it is not worth all the leg work in my opinion. I would lose a screw. If you enjoy it that's all that counts I guess.

Edited by J P Mashoke
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Posted (edited)
Quote

... where they didn't match, or where I saw distinct marks that could be either a scratch or die line

Yea, that's only if something doesn't look right or is way off from certified example as noted above ...

Quote

... where they didn't match, or where I saw distinct marks that could be either a scratch or die line

Edited by EagleRJO
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On 8/13/2022 at 4:56 PM, EagleRJO said:

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....

Eagle, I trust you have studied the history and price movements of the 1903-O Morgan in light of the 1960's Treasury Hoards, right ?

Fascinating stretch of coin history !  (thumbsu

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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On 8/16/2022 at 9:03 AM, Mr.Bill347 said:

EagleRJO OKAY, the 1951 D Ben Franklin that we discussed…when I got it approved for my registry it displays an 1885 O dollar.

Thats strange cause the cert checks out.  Maybe a glitch with the Registry and PCGS and NGC not playing nice always.  :whistle:

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On 8/16/2022 at 9:42 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Fascinating stretch of coin history !

Yea, at one point the 1903-O was the most rare and expensive Morgan Dollar, outranking the 1893-S and 1895 Proof.  Then BAM, a bunch of mint bags full of 1903-O Morgans are found.  Can you imagine if you were the guy who recently purchased a super rare 1903-O for boatloads of cash, and then they find the bags. :whatthe:  I think it's why those coins are still overpriced imo.  Prices can be sticky on the downslide. :grin:

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On 8/16/2022 at 10:01 AM, EagleRJO said:

Yea, at one point the 1903-O was the most rare and expensive Morgan Dollar, outranking the 1893-S and 1895 Proof.  Then BAM, a bunch of mint bags full of 1903-O Morgans are found.  Can you imagine if you were the guy who recently purchased a super rare 1903-O for boatloads of cash, and then they find the bags. :whatthe:  I think it's why those coins are still overpriced imo.  Prices can be sticky on the downslide. :grin:

I think the 1904-O was a bit more rare but both were up there. (thumbsu

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Posted (edited)
On 8/16/2022 at 10:15 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

I think the 1904-O was a bit more rare but both were up there. (thumbsu

[Edit: The 1903-O was the king of Morgans, not the 1904-O, or other 1904's where there is reasonably good availability, but the coins just have a poor strike like the notoriously poor 1904(P).]

It was the 1903-O as former king which was dethroned by the 1893-S and 1895 Proof when those bags were found.  The issue with the 1904's was the poor strikes that year in general, particularly the 1904(P), making the higher MS grades a little scarce/expensive, but still not like say an 1893-S.  I really didn't have much of an issue filling all the 1904 mint slots in AU/BU grades, except for the 1904-S which took a while and was a bit more than the others due to somewhat lower available numbers.

Edited by EagleRJO
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On 8/16/2022 at 9:03 AM, Mr.Bill347 said:

EagleRJO OKAY, the 1951 D Ben Franklin that we discussed…

when I got it approved for my registry it displays an 1885 O dollar. Does54771C03-7E16-4279-935E-06FE35BED105.thumb.jpeg.cba55833f674e94ce13b9a2862e76486.jpeg that mean it is a fake slab?

95E173E8-C40B-4B0F-BEB4-71BAF7CC89EE.jpeg

You put in the first set of numbers Bill. You have to put in the last set of numbers for it to work.39551330

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On 8/16/2022 at 7:18 PM, J P Mashoke said:

You put in the first set of numbers Bill. You have to put in the last set of numbers for it to work.39551330

JP, I am an insufficiently_thoughtful_person with dislexia and an eye getting a cataract! I apologize to you and everyone that I raised alarm with in this incident. I did learn a lesson, don’t add a coin to the registry on your phone!,, bad idea AND I CANT SEE WORTH A S**T anymore! Thanks JP.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/16/2022 at 9:42 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

... the history ... of the 1903-O Morgan. Fascinating stretch of coin history !

@GoldFinger1969 It really is very interesting to me, and I found a good book on the history and minting of Morgans called "A Guide Book of Morgan Silver Dollars" by Bowers.  He includes a discussion in one chapter as well as an entire Appendix related to the discovery of models, working hubs, and master dies for the mythical 1964 Morgan that apparently was never officially struck, as well as for the 1965 Peace Dollar (struck in 1965 at Denver but backdated 1964) that were produced but reportedly all melted.  But there are still rumors of trial strikes for the 1964 Morgan coins, or 1964 Peace Dollars which may have been stashed before the melting (maybe by a mint director or employee).  Discovering either coin would be quite a find, so I am keeping my eyes open.

Btw, Bowers also mentions @RWB and quotes portions of his book on Peace Dollars and the consideration of using the Morgans' design as a basis for the new Peace Dollars' design, while discussing the possibilities surrounding a 1964 Morgan.  The intrigue involving these coins is why I added a Moonlight Mint 1964-D Morgan Dollar and Moonlight Mint 1965-D Peace Dollar to my "Potty Dollar" collection, although RWB claims I added "counterfeits" to my collection. :insane:

The 1903-O is likely going to end up being one of my favorite Morgans in the collection (unless I can actually afford a decent VF or XF 1893-S one day), and why I am spending a good amount of time and effort looking for a really nice one for the circulation set.  I am actually seriously considering spending more than my budget for a nice BU grade 1903-O because of that.

00 Book - Morgan Silver Dollar RB Guide by Bowers - Small.jpg

Dan Carr 1964-D Morgan Dollar Token - Slab - Small.jpg

Edited by EagleRJO
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On 8/16/2022 at 9:45 PM, Mr.Bill347 said:

JP, I am an insufficiently_thoughtful_person with dislexia and an eye getting a cataract! I apologize to you and everyone that I raised alarm with in this incident. I did learn a lesson, don’t add a coin to the registry on your phone!,, bad idea AND I CANT SEE WORTH A S**T anymore! Thanks JP.

That's ok Bill I have messed up the numbers before. What counts is it is not a fake and you can still see good enough to pick out good looking coins (thumbsu

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EagleRJO -

The Peace dollar book includes a detailed chapter on the 1964 dollars. This includes all the factual information known from research, and none of the nonsense.

A counterfeit coin is anything that bears a "likeness or similitude" to a legal tender coin. It does not matter what it is made of, or struck on, or what the date is, or any other excuses. Effectively, if a piece has "United States of America" and a U.S. denomination, and was not issued by the U.S. Mint, it is a counterfeit. The act of making or distributing it is by definition intent to defraud.

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Posted (edited)

RWB we will have to agree to disagree.  Both Websters and Oxfords defines a "counterfeit" as an imitation or exact copy of something with the intent to trick or deceive people into believing it is the real thing.  There is nothing to "imitate" or "copy" as that thing does not exist, and they are clearly intended as a novelty item or "fantasy coin", not something intended to deceive people that it is a legal tender coin struck at a US mint which so far there is no proof was ever done.

Counterfeiting US currency is a crime, and the US mint agrees they are doing nothing wrong, and ANACS will in fact "Authenticate" these fantasy coins.  Nevertheless, I kept the original certificate of authenticity from the mint and clearly display that on the obverse side of the holder in the very unlikely event I am pushing up daisies and 1964-D coins struck at the Denver mint are discovered. :grin:

Now, there are in fact "counterfeit" 1964-D Morgan Dollars, but they are not struck at Moonlight Mint.  Attached is an example of a "counterfeit" 1964-D Morgan Dollar.  It is an imitation or "exact" copy of the Moonlight Mint fantasy coin that is intended to trick or deceive people into believing it is a real fantasy coin struck by the Moonlight Mint due to the popularity of those coins.

Dan Carr 1964-D Counterfeit.jpg

Edited by EagleRJO
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On 8/17/2022 at 12:55 PM, EagleRJO said:

RWB we will have to agree to disagree.  Both Websters and Oxfords defines a "counterfeit" as an imitation or exact copy of something with the intent to trick or deceive people into believing it is the real thing.  There is nothing to "imitate" or "copy" as that thing does not exist, and they are clearly intended as a novelty item or "fantasy coin", not something intended to deceive people that it is a legal tender coin struck at a US mint which so far there is no proof was ever done.

Counterfeiting US currency is a crime, and the US mint agrees they are doing nothing wrong, and ANACS will in fact "Authenticate" these fantasy coins.  Nevertheless, I kept the original certificate of authenticity from the mint and clearly display that on the obverse side of the holder in the very unlikely event I am pushing up daisies and 1964-D coins struck at the Denver mint are discovered. :grin:

Now, there are in fact "counterfeit" 1964-D Morgan Dollars, but they are not struck at Moonlight Mint.  Attached is an example of a "counterfeit" 1964-D Morgan Dollar.  It is an imitation or "exact" copy of the Moonlight Mint fantasy coin that is intended to trick or deceive people into believing it is a real fantasy coin struck by the Moonlight Mint due to the popularity of those coins.

Dan Carr 1964-D Counterfeit.jpg

So that is a counterfeit of a fake, or a fake counterfeit (:

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Posted (edited)
On 8/17/2022 at 2:29 PM, J P Mashoke said:

So that is a counterfeit of a fake, or a fake counterfeit 

Too funny JP.  Dan Carr at MM does such nice work with those fantasy coins that they pop when you're holding them in your hand, and they are very sought after which can make knock offs profitable.  The US Mint liked his work so much that they invited him to submit an official finalist design for the new Sacagawea dollar, and he actually designed the 2001 New York and 2001 Rhode Island state quarters for the US Mint.  The pic of my slabbed one above or the attached ANACS graded one doesn't really do it justice ... see attached for a better example pic of how they really present in hand.

ID it's not, no, and yes. Those are not TPG (Third Party Grader) certified and sealed slabs, just easy-open retail slabs I put my raw coins in for protection and storage.  But they can go in a real authenticated/sealed/graded TPG slab by ANACS if you want to submit them as noted above, which looks like the attached.  They use "Token" on the TPG labels, so I did too, but I don't think it really matters as long as you're not trying to pass it off a legal US tender.

s-l1600.jpg

Replica - Dan Carr 1964-D Morgan Dollar Token  - Moonlight Mint Pic.jpg

Edited by EagleRJO
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On 8/16/2022 at 11:05 PM, EagleRJO said:

@GoldFinger1969 It really is very interesting to me, and I found a good book on the history and minting of Morgans called "A Guide Book of Morgan Silver Dollars" by Bowers. 

Good choice, I have the 4th Edition, I believe they are up to the 7th.  Not sure how much is new from 6 to 7. 

On this counterfeit thing....the government didn't make any 1964-D's (at least for public release)....so if this Dan Carr is striking coins that say that they are 1964's but are INSIDE those custom-slabs, then maybe they should be considered some kind of commemorative ?

He's not trying to pass them off as legitimate 1964-D's, right ? 

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On 8/17/2022 at 8:31 AM, RWB said:

EagleRJO -

The Peace dollar book includes a detailed chapter on the 1964 dollars. This includes all the factual information known from research, and none of the nonsense.

A counterfeit coin is anything that bears a "likeness or similitude" to a legal tender coin. It does not matter what it is made of, or struck on, or what the date is, or any other excuses. Effectively, if a piece has "United States of America" and a U.S. denomination, and was not issued by the U.S. Mint, it is a counterfeit. The act of making or distributing it is by definition intent to defraud.

And yet nearly no one agrees with @RWB on this point, starting with the American Numismatic Association. Choose your side. 

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On 8/17/2022 at 10:28 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

He's not trying to pass them off as legitimate 1964-D's, right ? 

No, they call them various things like "fantasy coins" or "overstrike coins". The TPG calls them a "token" (see above) so I just follow thier lead with my slab labels.

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On 8/14/2022 at 7:05 PM, EagleRJO said:

@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

If you look at the top coin, the part that holds the coin has gaps at the top left and almost the full bottom is misshapen, pcgs holders do not look like that.

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On 8/18/2022 at 12:30 AM, jimbo27 said:

If you look at the top coin, the part that holds the coin has gaps at the top left and almost the full bottom is misshapen, pcgs holders do not look like that.

@jimbo27Are you talking about there being only partial contact between the holder and the coin at several point around the perimeter for the fake, vs the legit one that looks like there is full contact around the perimeter of the legit one?

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On 8/18/2022 at 5:19 AM, EagleRJO said:

@jimbo27Are you talking about there being only partial contact between the holder and the coin at several point around the perimeter for the fake, vs the legit one that looks like there is full contact around the perimeter of the legit one?

yes

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The debate on the Carr coins is an interesting one.  I am an anti-Carr.  I think he does really nice work, but without the word "replica" or "copy" it's a slippery slope.  The second one spends, deposits, or sells a coin as genuine - a line has been crossed.

You may be thinking - but these coins are fantasy, they never really existed!  Neither did Josh Tatum's $5, nor Francis Henning's 1944 Nickel.  The differences here are two-fold:

  1. Carr is said to strike coins on existing coins of the same denomination.  This is the argument for them not needing the "COPY" language (a debatable point)
  2. People are not spending/depositing the Carr coins in the same way as Tatum/Henning did (see sentence #4 above).
Edited by The Neophyte Numismatist
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On 8/18/2022 at 10:39 AM, The Neophyte Numismatist said:

You may be thinking - but these coins are fantasy, they never really existed!  

Is that true ?  I thought I read that a few "samples" were made and ordered to be destroyed.  Isn't there one in the LBJ Library or something ?

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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  • Member: Seasoned Veteran

1964-D Peace Dollars were coined in May of 1965, but none were released. They went to the melting pot before year's end. I believe a few were preserved until 1970 or so within the Mint's Technology Office, but these ultimately joined their brethren. The complete story is in Roger's Red Book on that series.

There's no evidence that any 1964-dated Morgans were coined, but some Matrix elements turned up within the Mint a few years ago that revealed how they would have looked.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/18/2022 at 10:16 AM, jimbo27 said:

yes

@jimbo27Then that is a no go on identifying the fake PCSG slab as the 2 are simply different generation PCGC slabs. According to the OP in that thread, who had the slabs in hand and was very carefully comparing the two, the only diff between the fake and a legit PCSG holder of the same gen was a slight rounding of one of the coin holders' tongs, but I couldn't see it from the pics of that he posted in the thread.

If I buy an expensive coin, I would look at that very carefully vs known legit coins for both grade (how that scam worked) and authenticity, regardless of having a piece of paper in a plastic holder.

Edited by EagleRJO
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