Counterfeit Detection: 1972 Doubled Die Cent
Posted by Max Spiegel, Numismatic Researcher on 6/15/2012
There are a handful of varieties that are regularly seen faked, including the Philadelphia and Denver 1942/41 Mercury Dimes, the 1955 Doubled Die Cent, and the 1937-D Three-Legged Buffalo Nickel, though the latter is typically an alteration rather than an outright counterfeit. Counterfeits of other varieties are not particularly common, however, and can sometimes catch you off guard.
NGC recently received a fake 1972 Doubled Die Cent, which is not something that we see often. There are actually several varieties of doubled die obverse 1972 cents, but the most popular is FS-101 because of the extremely pronounced doubling on the date and mottos. Many collect this doubled die as part of the regular series, and as of 5/21/12 NGC has graded nearly 2,000 examples. According to the NGC US Coin Price Guide, even a low grade example sells for a few hundred dollars.
Those familiar with the 1972 Doubled Die will be able to identify this counterfeit with ease. Instead of the bold doubling seen on genuine examples, this piece has weakly defined legends that blend into the fields. The surfaces also have a pockmarked appearance with raised lumps, particularly around IN GOD WE TRUST and the N in ONE. Familiarity with the look of genuine specimens certainly helps, but the soft details and raised areas on this piece are telltale signs that it is a counterfeit.
Genuine coin images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.