Counterfeit Detection: 1926 Estonia 10 Marka Struck Over 1970 Russia Rouble

A counterfeit 1926 Estonia 10 Marka with some unusual characteristics was received by NGC several weeks ago.

A particularly interesting counterfeit 1926 Estonia 10 Marka was received by NGC several weeks ago. This issue was not released into circulation and most of the mintage was melted, which makes genuine examples quite scarce and valuable today. While one might expect that this coin would be targeted by counterfeiters, NGC graders were surprised to see that it was overstruck on a Russian rouble minted more than 40 years later.

1926 Estonia 10 Marka
click image to enlarge

The mushy details and peculiar raised lines served as an initial indication that this coin was not genuine. However, the undertype from the host coin was a dead giveaway. The letters CCCP were clear and did not resemble the style used on Soviet coins struck in the 1920s. A closer inspection revealed that the host coin was a 1970 Russia rouble struck to commemorate the centennial of Lenin’s birth.

A 1970 Russia rouble should measure 31mm, but this fake is only 26mm — the size of a 1926 Estonia 10 Marka. The counterfeiter took the effort to cut down a 1970 Russia rouble into the proper size instead of simply acquiring 26mm planchets. This unnecessary step made the forgery more obvious and it is not clear why it was done. Although this is not a particularly deceptive fake, it is one of the more unusual counterfeits observed by NGC.

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