World Coins: Counterfeit Republic of China 1912 Sun Yat-Sen Silver Dollar

Posted by Jay Turner, NGC Grader on 11/25/2013

This counterfeit China 1912 Sun Yat-Sen Silver Dollar was made using a transfer die method.

High quality counterfeit Chinese coins continue to flow into the market and NGC recently received one fake that is extremely deceptive. Counterfeits have been made since coins were invented. The Republic of China 1912 Sun Yat-Sen L&M-42 Silver Dollar has always been a desirable coin, with high grade examples recently selling in excess of $10,000. Counterfeits of this type have been around for years; however, this particular high quality fake is a piece is new to the market.

China 1912 Sun Yat-Sen Silver Dollar
Left: Coin 1 Obverse; Right: Coin 2 Obverse
Click images to enlarge.

China 1912 Sun Yat-Sen Silver Dollar
Left: Coin 1 Reverse; Right: Coin 2 Reverse
Click images to enlarge.

Counterfeit coins can be made using a transfer die method where a host coin is used to make dies to produce the counterfeits. With transfer dies it is very likely that the design will be correct if transferred properly, which poses a significant danger for collectors and dealers. Counterfeiters have recently become very good at making high quality transfer dies that can produce high quality counterfeits. One of the diagnostic features of transfer dies is that marks, abrasions and other identifiers that are on the host coin are often, but not always, copied to the counterfeit dies and then copied onto any counterfeits produced by those dies. The numismatic term for this effect is “a repeating depression” since the defect will repeat on each counterfeit coin.

This counterfeit Chinese 1912 Sun Yat-Sen Silver Dollar attributed as L&M-42 was produced by the transfer die method. The glaring problem with this counterfeit is that a major repeating depression was picked up by the transfer dies. This depression appears to be a large scratch on the reverse under the second center character. Other depressions on the counterfeits include hits on the obverse behind Sun Yat-Sen’s head, in his hair and two large marks in the field in front of the face. On the reverse next to the scratch under the second character there are depressions next to the E of ONE, and next to the wreath stocks. Aside from these depressions the coins are the correct size, design, silver and the luster is very close to correct.

China 1912 Sun Yat-Sen Silver Dollar
Diagnostics Circled in Red
Click images to enlarge.

Deceptive counterfeits are nothing new to numismatics. A third-party certification service with a comprehensive guarantee of grade and authenticity can also add peace of mind when collecting.