World Coin Counterfeits: South Africa 1895 Gold ½ Pond
Posted by Jay Turner, NGC Grader on 5/14/2013
One of the greatest problems facing numismatics today is the issue of counterfeits. As the desire and value of numismatic pieces steadily rises, so does the drive to counterfeit such issues to profit from the market. South African coinage has been in high demand for several years and new counterfeits are starting to appear on the market.
In a couple of recent submissions to NGC, previously unknown counterfeits of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR), or South African Republic, have been detected. The first is a South Africa 1895 gold 1/2 Pond. NGC received two such pieces recently. The coins are gold and within the weight tolerance, but they feature many other diagnostics that are indicative of a counterfeit. The counterfeits have the wrong gold color and luster when compared to other ZAR South African gold pieces. The designs have a mushy look that can be linked to the method of manufacture: transfer dies. The coins also have “repeaters,” or diagnostics that continually appear on the same counterfeits. Easy-to-recognize repreating depressions on this coin are found on the obverse: on the face by Kruger’s mouth, on Kruger’s ear and into his hair, and on the bottom of his coat. On the reverse, repeating depressing are seen on the 8 of the date and on the ribbon above the first “A” of “MAAKT”.
While a professional can quickly determine that these coins are counterfeit, they can still be very deceptive to many newer collectors. If you ever have reason to question the authenticity of an uncertified coin, it is recommended that you submit the coin to a reputable third-party coin grading company for certification.