A Counterfeit 1867 No Rays Shield Nickel
With Die Doubled Obverse & Reverse!
by Ken Potter - NLG
Coin courtesy of George Anthony

This macro shot of the obverse and reverse shows that there is a rim cud on the reverse above the UN of UNITED.


Obverse Diagnostics

The date appears cut in by hand; the loops of the 8 are weak and incomplete looking more like a sans-serif S.

Doubling is present on the west side of the W of WE and a bit on the E.

The US of TRUST is strongly repunched; and features a Peg Leg R.

A look at the cross atop the shield.

Tooling marks are evident on the left side of the annulet while the upper two horizontal lines in the shield converge on their left side.

A look at the crude vertical lines in the shield on this counterfeit.

Another look at the right side of the shield on this counterfeit.



Reverse Diagnostics

Doubling is strong in the TED of UNITED

Doubling is also evident on the ATE of STATES

The bottom of the O of OF is "broken" while the AM of AMERICA is doubled.

Crude lower serifs on the RI of AMERICA are a diagnostic of this counterfeit.

The S of CENTS is triple punched with the lower half showing as an S/S South and a
very strong vestige of a lower serif out in the field to the west.

Another look at the triple S of CENTS.

Many of the six-pointed stars on the reverse show some doubling but the star above the E of CENTS shows massive doubling.

        With all the Chinese counterfeits entering the market today and making almost weekly news, it is easy to forget that contemporary counterfeits that circulated during earlier eras still plague the hobby and turn up from time to time in collectors' hands and dealers' stocks.  One such piece came in recently from George Anthony of New Hampshire.  In this case, not only was it an 1867 Shield nickel with an obviously malformed date (the 8 appears to have actually been from a "S" letter punch) but it is boasts what would have been a new doubled die obverse and reverse listing if it was a genuine coin.  
    My initial feeling was that this counterfeit was most probably a contemporary from hand engraved dies that had their individual characters or sets of characters punched into the dies.  It weighs 4.2 grams vs. the correct 5 grams for a normal nickel and it is slightly oversize at 20.65 mm vs. the normal 2.50 mm. 
    Mike Ellis, Senior Grader and Error-Variety Specialist for Dominion Grading Service of Virginia Beach, Virginia, examined images of the coin and said:  "It appears to be struck by hand punched and hand engraved dies. The graver must have been real good at his work! Yes, I also believe it to be contemporary. I believe Ed Fletcher has known contemporary counterfeits at the back of his book [The Shield  Five Cent Series - A Comprehensive Listing of Known Varieties] ."
    With this knowledge I decided to check Fletcher's book and I thought I found a match but upon sharing the images with Fletcher (and eventually the coin) he said it was very similar to his Counterfeit #1 for the date but not the same.  "WOW! This is very similar to the 1867 Counterfeit #1 I have listed but slightly different. It appears to be a hand engraved false die consistent with examples from the late 1800's. I have a very strong feeling this will be a new addition to the second edition I am working on" said Fletcher.
    So, while Anthony may have purchased a counterfeit doubled die it is at least a new one that will probably get listed as such in Fletcher's second edition
as such.

    Ken Potter is the official attributer of world doubled dies for the Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America and for the National Collectors Association of Die Doubling.  He also privately lists other collectable variety types on both U.S. and world coins in the Variety Coin Register.  He is a regular columnist in Numismatic News’ sister publication, World Coin News, were he pens the Visiting Varieties column.  More information on either of the clubs or how to get a coin listed in the Variety Coin Register may be obtained by sending a long self addressed envelope with 70c postage to P.O. Box 33, Pinckney, MI 48169 or by contacting him via email at KPotter256@aol.com.   An educational image gallery may be viewed on his website at http://koinpro.tripod.com.