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Modern fakes

NumisdocNumismatic encyclopedia

Written on September 17, 2013 • Last edit: February 23, 2019
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We present here some fake coins which are owned by some Numista members. For comparison, we give you the link to the Numista page of the real coin.

*** To add your fake to the Numista gallery, send details of your coin by message to pejounet. ***


About forgeries

A common case with fake coins is copying designs that never existed, where the size and weight of the coin are substantially larger or smaller than the right size. These are automatically fakes and are worth only the metal they are minted on.
Let's start with copper coins. Usually fake copper coins (from China) have a soapy oxidation to them that is green and tough, but does not eat up the coin. Oftentimes they have scratches surrounding the coin to imitate short but thorough circulation; coins that circulate for long periods are smoother and evenly worn, while fakes have sharp, but worn features. Many fakes, however, are simply restrikes that imitate circulating coins and are intended to deceive buyers. These are usually coins that rarely circulated, or have very high values.
Silver Chinese coins, along with silver trade dollars from the US and Hong Kong are among the most faked coins in the world; luckily they are easy to spot, while some others are harder. The best place to start is to use a magnet. Any coin intended to be silver that is magnetic is automatically a fake, since silver is not magnetic. The second measure to determine a fake silver coin is looking at the rim. The reeding should be consistent, straight, and sharp; they usually reach the top and bottom of the rim. A third factor is weak impressions on the coin; a character may be blurred or unclear, and the design might be unclear around the edges of the coin. Lastly, fake silver coins occasionally have a porous surface, and this can be found by using a magnifying glass.
Another type of fake is a contemporary counterfeit. They have some value, in some cases, more than the real coin itself. Contemporaries usually have crude designs and use brass or tin and nickel instead of copper and silver, respectively. In most cases, contemporaries have much circulation wear throughout the coin.

How to recognize a fake coin?

First of all you should check your coin with a magnet. If your coin is supposed to be in gold, silver, brass, copper or bronze and it is attracted by the magnet you can be sure it's a fake.
If your coin passed the magnet test, check the size: diameter and thickness. The weight is more difficult to reproduce exactly if the original coin should be in gold or in silver. A different alloy will produce a big weight difference.
If your coin passed all these tests, take a magnifier and observe the edge, the details and the year, compare the design with the original coin on the Numista page.
If you still hesitate ask for confirmation on the Coin identifications and valuations forum.

The fakes

The characteristics showing that it is a forgery are in red.





Belgium
China
Ecuador
Euros
France
Germany
Greece
Hong Kong
Hungary
Indochina
Italy
Japan
Mexico
Mongolia
Russia
South Africa
Spain
United Kingdom
United States


The Gallery


Belgium

5 Francs
Belgium
Photo : © PetrusAscanus
Photo : © PetrusAscanus
Year:1869
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm:37
Weight in g:20.58
Edge:reeded
Metal:
Magnetic:yes
Crude details. Should be silver.
The real coin on Numista
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China

7 Mace 2 Candareens
China - Empire (Jiangnan (Kiangnan))
Photo : © Pfouque
Photo : © Pfouque
Year:
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm:39
Weight in g:20.99
Edge:reeded
Metal:
Magnetic:yes
Casting look with rust on some places.
The real coin on Numista
1 Mace 4.4 Candareens
China - Empire (Guangdong (Kwangtung))
Photo : © Pfouque
Photo : © Pfouque
Year:1890-1908
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :24
Weight in g:4.49
Edge:
Metal:
Magnetic:yes
The real coin on Numista
1 Yuan - Sun Yat-sen
China - Republic
Photo : © lolorose34
Photo : © lolorose34
Year:1934
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :39
Weight in g:26.48
Edge:
Metal:
Magnetic:no
Casting.
The real coin on Numista
1 Yuan Automobile
China - Republic (Guizhou (Kweichow))
Photo : © glorkar
Photo : © glorkar
Year:17 (1928)
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :
Weight in g:
Edge:
Metal:
Magnetic:yes
The real coin on Numista
1 Dollar - Yuan Shi-kai
China - Republic
Photo : © ALLRED1950
Photo : © ALLRED1950
Year:3 (1914)
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :38.7
Weight in g:18.95
Edge:reeded
Metal:
Magnetic:no
The real coin on Numista
1 Dollar - Yuan Shikai (Fat Man Dollar)
China - Republic
Photo : © dangravy
Photo : © dangravy
Year:(8) 1919
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :45.39
Weight in g:37.19
Edge:reeded
Metal:Silver
Magnetic:no
Good production quality despite poorly reeded edge. Measurements are way off. Patina rubs off by hand.
The real coin on Numista
1 Dollar Yuan Shikai (Fat Man Dollar)
China - Republic
Photo : © dangravy
Photo : © dangravy
Year:(4) 1915
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :38.9
Weight in g:20.28
Edge:reeded
Metal:Steel
Magnetic:yes
Fair production quality despite poorly reeded edge, with rust spots due to ferrous material. Year 4 doesn't exist.
The real coin on Numista
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Ecuador

5 Sucres
Ecuador
Photo : © jimpop
Photo : © jimpop
Year:1944
Mint/Mint Mark:Mexico
Ø in mm :39
Weight in g:19
Edge:
Metal:
Magnetic:yes
The real coin on Numista
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Euros

1 Euro (1st map)
Italy
Photo : © Equator
Photo : © Equator
Year:2002
Mint/Mint Mark:R
Ø in mm :23.25
Weight in g:[b]6
Edge:segmented reeding
Metal:
Magnetic:yes
Notably thinner than the real coin.
The real coin on Numista
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France

5 Francs - Napoleon III
France
Photo : © Pfouque
Photo : © Pfouque
Year:1867 BB
Mint/Mint Mark:Bee
Ø in mm :37.5
Weight in g:22.61
Edge:reeded
Metal:
Magnetic:no
The real coin on Numista
10 Francs - Turin
France
Photo : © Pfouque
Photo : © Pfouque
Year:1933
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :27.8
Weight in g:7.62
Edge:reeded
Metal:
Magnetic:No
Gray look of the metal alloy. It has more value than the real coin itself!
The real coin on Numista
10 Francs - Turin
France
Photo : © tetricus79
Photo : © tetricus79
Year:1934
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :28
Weight in g:7.63
Edge:reeded
Metal:
Magnetic:no
Gray look of the metal alloy.
The real coin on Numista
10 Francs - Turin
France
Photo : © belare
Photo : © belare
Year:1938
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :27
Weight in g:10.00
Edge:
Metal:bronze-aluminium
Magnetic:
The reverse looks soft as if it was casting. The bronze color leaves no doubt that it's a fake.
The real coin on Numista
20 francs - Turin
France
Photo : © al6246
Photo : © al6246
Year:1939
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :35
Weight in g:20.53
Edge:
Metal:silver
Magnetic:no
Form, place and size of date are not correct.
The real coin on Numista
10 Francs - Gambetta
France
Photo : © tetricus79
Photo : © tetricus79
Year:1982
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :26
Weight in g:9.86
Edge:
Metal:
Magnetic:no
More yellow than the original coin, smooth forgery.
The real coin on Numista
5 Francs - Hercule
France
Photo : © Pfouque
Photo : © Pfouque
Year:
Mint/Mint Mark:A
Ø in mm :37
Weight in g:19.45
Edge:sharp
Metal:lead or tin
Magnetic:No
Very smooth, very bad forgery. Looks like poor imitation of inscription in relief for the edge. Perhaps a vintage copy.
The real coin on Numista
5 Francs - Semeuse
France
Photo : © tetricus79
Photo : © tetricus79
Year:1960
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :29
Weight in g:9.38
Edge:
Metal:
Magnetic:no
Gray color of the alloy.
The real coin on Numista
5 Francs - Semeuse
France
Photo : © Pimousse124
Year:1962
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :29
Weight in g:10
Edge:reeded
Metal:
Magnetic:no
The real coin on Numista
10 francs - Génie de la Bastille
France
Photo : © 007mat
Photo : © 007mat
Year:1988
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :23
Weight in g:6
Edge:5 groups of 12 reeds
Metal:bimetallic
Magnetic:yes (center)
Crude forgery, the central part clearly stands out from the ring.
The real coin on Numista
10 francs - Génie de la Bastille
France
Photo : © tetricus79
Photo : © tetricus79
Year:1989
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :23
Weight in g:6.51
Edge:5 groups of 12 reeds
Metal:
Magnetic:yes
Reeds very soft.
The real coin on Numista
10 francs - Génie de la Bastille
France
Photo : © 007mat
Photo : © 007mat
Year:1990
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :23
Weight in g:6
Edge:5 groups of 12 reeds
Metal:bimetallic
Magnetic:yes (center)
Crude forgery, the central part clearly stands out from the ring.
The real coin on Numista
10 francs - Génie de la Bastille
France
Photo : © tetricus79
Photo : © tetricus79
Year:1991
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :22.7
Weight in g:6.47
Edge:5 groups of 12 reeds
Metal:
Magnetic:yes
Rust on the center part.
The real coin on Numista
20 Francs - Napoleon III
France
Photo : © opannob
Photo : © opannob
Year:1864
Mint/Mint Mark:A
Ø in mm :21.1
Weight in g:3.43
Edge:inscribed
Metal:plated metal
Magnetic:no
The real coin on Numista
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Germany

5 Mark - Wilhelm II
German states - Prussia
Photo : © Pooxloff
Photo : © Pooxloff
Year:1907
Mint/Mint Mark:A
Ø in mm :38
Weight in g:17.46
Edge:reeded
Metal:
Magnetic:yes
The real coin on Numista
5 Mark - Wilhelm II
German States - Prussia
Photo : © jimpop
Photo : © jimpop
Year:1904
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :38
Weight in g:25
Edge:reeded, without lettering
Metal:
Magnetic:no
Die crack through hair.
The real coin on Numista
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Greece (ancient)

Tetradrachma - Athens
Greece (ancient)
Photo : © sujit_kumar
Photo : © sujit_kumar
Year:
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :32
Weight in g:26.1
Edge:
Metal:
Magnetic:no
The real coin on Numista
Tetradrachm - Lysimachus
Greece (ancient) - Kingdom of Thrace
Photo : © sujit_kumar
Photo : © sujit_kumar
Year:
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :35
Weight in g:26.3
Edge:
Metal:
Magnetic:no
The real coin on Numista
Top of the page

Hong Kong

1 Dollar - Victoria
Hong Kong
Photo : © monéphil
Photo : © monéphil
Year:1867
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :39.2
Weight in g:26.54
Edge:reeded
Metal:
Magnetic:No
The real coin on Numista
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Hungary

5 Korona - Franz Joseph I
Hungary
Photo : © Al Louarn
Photo : © Al Louarn
Year:1900
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm:37.9
Weight in g:17.64
Edge:reeded
Metal:
Magnetic:yes
Coin alignment with shift.
The real coin on Numista
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Indochina

Piastre de Commerce
Indochina
Photo : © Pfouque
Photo : © Pfouque
Year:1908
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :39
Weight in g:16.78
Edge:reeded
Metal:
Magnetic:yes
One of the most copied coins.
The real coin on Numista
Piastre de Commerce
Indochina
Photo : © courtesy of Walder Coins
Year:1896
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :39
Weight in g:14.04
Edge:incorrect reeding
Metal:
Magnetic:
Grainy Field and improper mint damage.
The real coin on Numista
Piastre de Commerce
Indochina
Photo : © courtesy of Walder Coins
Year:1827
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :39
Weight in g:19.21
Edge:reeded
Metal:
Magnetic:
Poorly reeded edge and poor details in general with heavily worn lettering and missing border teeth.
The real coin on Numista
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Italy

50 Centesimi - Vittorio Emanuele II
Italy
Photo : © marcpleche
Year:1867
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :18.06
Weight in g:2.29
Edge:
Metal:
Magnetic:no
"BN" upside down. Silver test is negative.
The real coin on Numista
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Japan

1 Trade Dollar
Japan - Meiji era
Photo : © Pfouque
Photo : © Pfouque
Year:(10) 1877
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :36
Weight in g:17.80
Edge:reeded
Metal:
Magnetic:no
Casting with a big break on the reverse.
The real coin on Numista
1 Yen
Japan - Meiji era
Photo : © lolorose34
Photo : © lolorose34
Year:1882
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :38
Weight in g:19.7
Edge:
Metal:
Magnetic:no
The real coin on Numista
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Mexico

8 Reales - Felipe V
Mexico
Photo : © 007mat
Photo : © 007mat
Year:1732
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :24
Weight in g:5
Edge:plain
Metal:
Magnetic:yes
Colonial coinage.Mini coin.
The real coin on Numista
8 Reales
Mexico
Photo : © sujit_kumar
Photo : © sujit_kumar
Year:1882
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :39
Weight in g:18.45
Edge:reeded
Metal:
Magnetic:yes
Federal coinage. Inferior Mint quality.
The real coin on Numista
8 Reales - Carlos III
Mexico
Photo : © sujit_kumar
Photo : © sujit_kumar
Year:1760
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :37
Weight in g:15.8
Edge:
Metal:
Magnetic:no
Colonial coinage.
The real coin on Numista
20 centavos
Mexico
Photo : © sujit_kumar
Photo : © sujit_kumar
Year:1980
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :28
Weight in g:9.2
Edge:
Metal:
Magnetic:no
Obverse: fantasy design - MEXICO instead of Rep. Mexicana.
Reverse: MEXICO instead of CENTAVOS
.
The real coin on Numista
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Mongolia

10 Möngö
Mongolia
Photo : © dangravy
Photo : © dangravy
Year:1925
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm:17.94
Weight in g:2.71
Edge:reeded
Metal:unknown
Magnetic:no
Poor production quality and measurements way off. Reeding on edge protrudes over face of coin.
The real coin on Numista
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Russia

1 Ruble
Russia
Photo : © Al Louarn
Photo : © Al Louarn
Year:1833
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm:38
Weight in g:17.20
Edge:
Metal:
Magnetic:
Coin alignement.
The real coin on Numista
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South Africa

1 Pond
South Africa
Photo : © ZacUK
Photo : © ZacUK
Year:1896
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :
Weight in g:
Edge:
Metal:
Magnetic:
Supposed to be gold, and in daylight this fake does have a little gold-plating still showing.
The real coin on Numista
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Spain

5 Pesetas - Joseph Napoleon
Spanish states
Photo : © apuking
Photo : © apuking
Year:1814
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :40.3
Weight in g:25.4
Edge:
Metal:
Magnetic:
20 flowers around "pesetas" instead of 25 and missing dot after Barcelona. Blue-gray look.
The real coin on Numista
20 Reales - Isabel II
Spain
Photo : © Pimousse124
Year:1859
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :37.5
Weight in g:20
Edge:inscribed
Metal:
Magnetic:yes
The real coin on Numista
10 Centimos
Spain - 2nd Republic
Photo : © zegeri
Photo : © zegeri
Year:1938
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :20
Weight in g:3.75
Edge:
Metal:
Magnetic:yes
Obverse: poor design of the shield and larger letters.
Reverse: poor design of the wreath, figure "1" in "10" is different
.
The real coin on Numista
5 pesetas
Spain - Provisional government

Photo : © mad
Photo : © mad
Year:1869
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :35.45
Weight in g:23.30
Edge:smooth with inscriptions
Metal:tin
Magnetic:no
should be silver, coin heavily cleaned
The real coin on Numista
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United Kingdom

1 Pound - Menai Bridge
United Kingdom
Photos : © ZacUK
Year:2008
Mint/Mint Mark:
Ø in mm :
Weight in g:
Edge:
Metal:
Magnetic:
The obverse has a portrait that someone has taken time over to create a new one. The bridge on the reverse was only used on 2005 coins. Edge is of poor quality.
The real c