Counterfeit Detection: 1891 Eritrea Tallero

Posted on 6/14/2022

Depressions that were captured by the counterfeit dies reveal the spurious nature of this coin.

Eritrea was an Italian colony in eastern Africa from the late 1800s until World War II. The Tallero, modeled on the Maria Theresa Thaler, was the official currency for most of the colony’s existence.

Genuine Eritrea 1891 Tallero

The 1891 Tallero, the first crown-sized coin of Eritrea, is popular with collectors. It shows a bust of Italian King Umberto I on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse. The L and 5 near the eagle’s talons are a reminder that the Tallero was equal to 5 Lire. Genuine examples can sell for hundreds of dollars in circulated condition.

Counterfeit Eritrea 1891 Tallero

NGC recently received a purported example of this coin. The coin has mushy details on its high points, when compared to a genuine example. The counterfeiter also added fake toning to this coin in an attempt to make it look older.

Repeating issues on two counterfeit Eritrea 1891 Talleros

The coin also has multiple imperfections that match that of another known fake. On the obverse, they include issues involving the O in UMBERTO, the E in RE and a mark on the king’s collar. On the reverse, they include depressions in the eagle’s left leg, the shield and the T in ERITREA.

Identical sets of depressions like these wouldn’t occur in the same place on genuine coins. This means these counterfeit coins were struck using the transfer-die method, in which a genuine coin (and all its imperfections) serves as the model for the die. If the counterfeiter fails to remove these imperfections from the dies, they will be repeated on every coin struck with them.

If you want to rest assured that your coin is genuine, remember that NGC backs its determination of authenticity and grade with the NGC Guarantee.

Did you know? NGC has created a comprehensive Counterfeit Detection resource to help collectors and dealers identify counterfeit and altered coins. Visit

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