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.
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.