World Coins: Counterfeit Cuba 1915 Silver Peso

Posted by Jay Turner, NGC Finalizer on 5/19/2014

While poor-quality counterfeit Cuban peso coins have been produced and sold at flea markets for years, this is the first high-quality counterfeit of the Cuban 1915 Silver Peso we've seen.

A high-quality counterfeit of a Cuba 1915 Silver Peso submitted to NGC is a recent production. While Cuban counterfeit coins are not new, this coin, like many recent Chinese counterfeits, has been produced by the transfer die method. The danger in this piece is that it lacks many repeating depressions as they appear to have been removed at some point in production.

Counterfeit Cuba 1915 Silver Peso
Left to Right: Coin 1 Obverse; Coin 2 Obverse; Coin 3 Obverse
Click images to enlarge.

The Cuban 1915 Silver Peso coins were products of the United States Mint. Authentic pieces exhibit manufacturing standards consistent with other coins minted by the United States. These counterfeits, however, lack the luster and surfaces that genuine Cuban 1915 Silver Pesos exhibit, but they are also struck in silver.

Counterfeit Cuba 1915 Silver Peso
Left to Right: Coin 1 Reverse; Coin 2 Reverse; Coin 3 Reverse
Click images to enlarge.

Unlike many other transfer die counterfeits coming from China, these Cuban fakes appear to have had most of the contact marks removed from the transfer die before production. There are still a number of issues that serve as diagnostics, including raised die lines, a few repeating marks, and various other transfer die defects. On the obverse, the key diagnostics are two raised "spikes" through the top of the “T” in “LIBERTAD”. There are also repeating marks that were on the host coin that were not removed before production of these counterfeits. There is a hit on the “I” of “PATRIA” as well as a few repeaters on the star in the center. The reverse shows a slight weakness and blurriness to the leaves to the right of the shield and on the shield from being transferred. There is also a depressed line on the top of the fasces. The coins received and examined so far all have additional bag marks and handling to deflect suspicion that the piece is counterfeit.

Counterfeit Cuba 1915 Silver Peso
Diagnostics Circled in Red
Click image to enlarge.

While poor quality counterfeit Cuban peso coins have been produced and sold at flea markets for years, this is the first high quality counterfeit of the Cuban 1915 Silver Peso we have encountered. With a catalog value in Krause of $1,200 in UNC and $8,500 in BU, a counterfeiter can profit greatly from producing a deceptive product. We continue to urge collectors that if you are unsure as to authenticity, buy a certified coin from a reputable third-party grading company. It's better than learning an expensive lesson from buying a counterfeit.





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