Counterfeit Detection: 1800 Draped Bust Dime

Posted by Max Spiegel, NGC on 12/16/2013

Spurious 1800 Draped Bust Dimes are now starting to be seen more often.

Draped Bust Dimes, struck 1796 to 1807, had fairly low mintages although emissions did increase with the 1806 and 1807 issues. The 1800-dated Draped Bust Dime had a mintage of just 21,760 pieces and is quite scarce today. NGC has certified only 51 examples (12/2013) with the majority in the XF to AU grade range.

At the XF level, the NGC US Coin Price Guide reports a value of $4,440, and prices climb quickly in AU grades. An AU 58 specimen trades for $16,880—nearly a fourfold increase above an XF example. Although this creates significant upside for a counterfeiter, fakes have been seen infrequently in the marketplace.

With the proliferation of new made fakes from China, however, spurious 1800 Draped Bust Dimes are now starting to be seen more often. A counterfeit recently identified by NGC is a typical example of one of these Chinese-made fakes.

Counterfeit 1800 Draped Bust Dime
Click images to enlarge.

Most notably, all of the design elements are poorly defined and the coin has an overall “fuzzy” appearance, particularly at the stars on the reverse. The denticles are nonexistent at the top of the obverse and are weak almost everywhere else. While Draped Bust Dimes are typically seen with soft strikes, this piece is particularly deficient and the inconsistent level of detail throughout is a red flag.

Looking closer, other issues common to counterfeits become obvious. There are a number of raised tines around the letters and numerals that are never seen on genuine examples. In addition, there are many raised lumps in and around the design elements that are a primary diagnostic for counterfeit coins.

Click image to enlarge.

The combination of these problems allows an NGC grader to quickly condemn it as illegitimate. Since this coin’s appearance is similar to many of the Chinese counterfeits seen by NGC on a regular basis, it is important to be watchful for all of these diagnostics, regardless of a coin’s date or denomination.

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