Counterfeit Detection: 1841 Dollar

Posted on 4/11/2023

The 1840s were a time of real change for the silver dollar, but this particular coin is a fake.

The Seated Liberty Dollar series began in 1840, when the silver dollar was struck in large quantities for the first time in decades. The acclaimed Christian Gobrecht design shows Liberty seated on a rock encircled by stars, and it was used on all US coins from the half dime to the dollar in the mid-19th century.

Genuine 1841 Seated Liberty Dollar
Click images to enlarge.

The 1841 Dollar had one of the highest mintages before the Civil War and is certainly not a key date. Nevertheless, 1841 Dollars today generally cost hundreds of dollars in the lowest grades and several thousand dollars for the scarce Mint State examples, which is plenty of incentive for a counterfeiter. A recent submission to NGC contained an 1841 Seated Liberty Dollar that turned out to be a fake.

Counterfeit 1841 Seated Liberty Dollar
Click images to enlarge.

This counterfeit was struck from dies made from a genuine coin. We know this because it has depressions and marks that are similar to another coin that NGC examined several years earlier and declined to certify. These marks came from the original coin, were captured on the counterfeit dies and were replicated in every fake coin struck with those dies.

Another 1841 Seated Liberty Dollar that NGC did not certify
Click images to enlarge.
Locations of repeating marks and depressions on the two coins
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Two coins should not share the same set of marks, which generally come from the rigors associated with circulation in commerce. The similar marks and depressions are highlighted in red in the images above:

Counterfeits struck from dies that are created from genuine coins can be difficult to spot. If you have any doubts about your authentication skills, remember that NGC backs its determinations 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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