Counterfeit Detection: Egypt 100 Piastres

Posted on 1/10/2023

While this coin is actually made of gold, its repeating marks show that it’s not the real deal.

Egypt’s strategic importance soared in 1869 with the opening of the Suez Canal, and by 1882, Great Britain had established a “veiled protectorate” over Egypt. The Ottoman Empire’s decision to join World War I on the side of the Central Powers prompted Great Britain to formalize the protectorate in 1914.

Genuine Egypt 1916 100 Piastres
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With the support of the British, Egypt was ruled from 1914 to 1917 by Sultan Hussein Kamal. Numismatists are familiar with his nephew, King Farouk I, who ruled from 1936 to 1952 and built one of the greatest numismatic collections in history.

NGC recently received a submission of a purported Egypt AH1335 // 1916 100 Piastres supposedly struck during the reign of Hussein Kamel. Genuine examples of these coins, which contain about a quarter ounce of gold, can carry a numismatic premium of several hundred dollars or more, depending on condition.

Counterfeit Egypt 1916 100 Piastres
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The coin has the correct weight and composition. But the luster is much flatter, and the relief is much more shallow on the fake when compared to a genuine coin. In addition, the text appears sharper and less rounded on the genuine coin.

Another counterfeit Egypt 1916 100 Piastres
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Interestingly, that submission to NGC contained another purported example of the same coin, which, unfortunately for the submitter, also turned out to be counterfeit. Both fake coins share repeating marks because the die used to strike them was created from a genuine coin that had nicks and scratches. It is mathematically impossible for two coins to have the same imperfections in the same places, so when two examples share these repeating depressions, alarm bells should ring in your head. These telltale imperfections were captured by the die and are repeated on the counterfeits, including a mark emerging from the top-left of the ‘P’ in PIASTRES and depressions in the wreath near the ‘S’ in PIASTRES.

Location of repeating marks on the first counterfeit
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These fakes might have been struck to fool collectors. Another possibility is that were made to circumvent the 1933 ban on gold ownership in the US, since this one-year type coin has value as a collectible. But whatever the reason a counterfeit is struck, remember that the NGC Guarantee protects collectors from fakes by backing NGC’s determinations of authenticity and grade.

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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