Counterfeit Detection: Australia 2012 Year of the Dragon Silver Dollar

Posted by Max Spiegel, Numismatic Researcher on 8/14/2012

The popularity of lunar coins has grown of late, making the coins an excellent target for counterfeiters.

Lunar coins have become very popular in recent years with coins struck annually to commemorate the Chinese Zodiac, a calendar that assigns a different animal to each year in a 12-year cycle. The first government-issued lunar coin was the Hong Kong 1976 Year of the Dragon $1,000 gold piece, and since that time a number of other countries have introduced lunar coin series.

Chinese and Australian lunar coins are particularly popular, and the 2012 year of the dragon coins were widely anticipated. NGC has graded thousands of these coins, issued in a number of sizes and denominations. Almost immediately, however, we began to receive counterfeits.

Counterfeit Australia 2012 Year of the Dragon Silver Dollar
Click images to enlarge.

One example is this 2012 Australian Year of the Dragon dollar. Although genuine examples are not rare or particularly valuable, this issue has still been targeted by counterfeiters. The major issue with this fake is the lack of detail in the design elements. In addition, the letters around the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II are malformed and have a pimpled appearance. The overall appearance differs significantly from the sharply struck genuine examples.

These fakes are not particularly deceptive, but a one ounce 2012 silver dollar is not something that would normally set off a red flag or require close inspection. Although someone familiar with the legitimate coins would not be fooled, this is a coin that could easily be overlooked.

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