Counterfeit Detection: 1921-D Half Dollar

Posted by Max Spiegel, Numismatic Researcher on 9/13/2012

The numerous abrasions were copied from a genuine specimen and will appear on all other counterfeits made from this pair of dies.

The 1921-D boasts the lowest mintage in the Walking Liberty half dollar series with just 208,000 pieces struck. In low circulated grades (Good through Very Fine) it is probably the most challenging Walking Liberty half, and in high grades its rarity is eclipsed by only a handful of other dates. According to the NGC US Coin Price Guide, examples could sell for anywhere from a few hundred dollars in Good to thousand of dollars at the Mint State level.

This 1921-D half might appear to be a lightly circulated at first glace. A few major problems quickly become apparent, however, such as the poorly struck details and an unusual lint mark in the right obverse field. The stars in the flag behind Liberty and the peripheral letters are particularly soft with a “fuzzy” appearance.

Counterfeit 1921-D Half Dollar
Click images to enlarge.

This coin was likely struck in Asia in recent years and then artificially toned to give the appearance of being a legitimate piece. The numerous abrasions were copied from a genuine specimen and will appear on all other counterfeits made from this pair of dies. Although this fake might not fool a collector familiar with the series, it is deceptive enough to fool many people.

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