Counterfeit Detection: 1874 5 Pesetas in Silver and Bronze

Posted on 2/14/2023

Showing a pretender to the Spanish throne, these coins are pretenders themselves.

In 1833, a dying Spanish King Ferdinand VII broke with tradition to decree that his daughter, Isabella II, would be his successor, rather than his younger brother, Charles V. This sparked a series of civil wars, including the Third Carlist War that began in 1872. The Carlist forces were led by pretender to the throne Charles VII (the grandson of Charles V). They were able to seize territory in northern Spain before being driven into exile in 1876.

Pretenders to the throne sometimes mint their own coins in order to bolster their claims to power. In 1874, silver and bronze 5 Pesetas bearing the name and image of Charles VII were struck in several designs, including ones where the date is on the obverse only, on the reverse only, and on both the obverse and reverse. Today, these coins are recognized as an important part of Spain’s rich numismatic history.

Genuine 1874 Charles VII 5 Pesetas
Click images to enlarge.

Genuine examples of the 1874 coinage of Charles VII can sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. NGC recently received purported examples of two of these coins from the same submitter, one struck in silver and the other in bronze. However, both were determined to be counterfeit.

Counterfeit 1874 Charles VII 5 Pesetas
Click images to enlarge.

These two counterfeits are betrayed by their repeating depressions. The marks existed on the genuine coin that was used to create the false dies. Those dies captured these marks and imparted them to every coin struck from them. They can be seen below the ear and to the left of the date on the obverse, and near the top of the coat of arms and the first A in HISPANIARUM on the reverse. Two coins would not pick up the same marks in these exact same places independently.

Repeating marks on the two counterfeit coins
Click images to enlarge.

These imperfections are hallmarks of a transfer-die counterfeit, one of the most deceptive types of counterfeit coins. To learn more about them, visit And keep in mind that NGC’s determinations of authenticity and grade are backed by 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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