Counterfeit Detection: Altered Date Philippines 10 Centavos

Posted on 3/14/2023

This crude fake won’t be rewriting the reference books of numismatics.

From 1903 to 1945, the United States struck coinage for the Philippines. This represents almost the entire time period between when the Southeast Asian nation ceased to be a Spanish possession and when it gained its independence from the United States. Coins were struck in seven denominations: Half Centavo, Centavo, 5 Centavos, 10 Centavos, 20 Centavos, 50 Centavos and Peso.

This Philippines coinage was struck at various points by US Mint facilities in Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco and the Philippine capital of Manila. The silver denominations include the coins from the Peso down to the 10 Centavos (which is slightly smaller than an American dime). Mint State examples of the 10 Centavos can cost hundreds of dollars, depending on their rarity. Mintages topped out at 8.42 million with the 1918-S issue.

Genuine 1919-S Philippines 10 Centavos graded NGC MS 61
Click images to enlarge.

Recently, a purported 1910-S 10 Centavos was submitted to NGC, which is odd because that particular issue is not known to exist. It is absent from both the Standard Catalog of World Coins and the Guide Book of United States Coins (the Red Book). If this coin were genuine, it would be designated a Discovery Coin and celebrated for its importance to Philippine numismatics.

Altered Date Philippines 10 Centavos
Click images to enlarge.

The coin bears the ‘S’ mintmark of San Francisco on its reverse, to the left of the date. This is what would be expected for any business strike 10 Centavos from 1908 to 1919. However, the last digit of the date shows obvious signs of being crudely altered. Clearly, a counterfeiter chose a coin struck with another date in the 1910s and altered the final digit to try to make it appear to be a great rarity.

Close-up of Altered Date Philippines 10 Centavos
Click images to enlarge.

Altered date coins pose a challenge because a genuine coin is used and the alteration only affects a tiny area on the coin’s surface. Other examples of altered dates include the key date 1877 Indian Cent and the key date 1914-D Lincoln Cent (sometimes altered from a 1944-D).

Collectors can help protect themselves by acquiring a good loupe and the knowledge about when a small change like this could mean an enormous profit to a counterfeiter. If you want to be sure that a coin has not been altered, remember that NGC backs its determinations of authenticity and grade with the NGC Guarantee.

Related Link:
Philippines Under U.S. Sovereignty coinage

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