World Coins: Counterfeit China Manchukuo 1934 5 Li
Posted on 10/15/2013
Collectors and dealers all over the world have been worrying about Chinese counterfeits. This is especially true of expensive Chinese coins, which have long been a favorite target of counterfeiters. Recently, however, even inexpensive coins have been faked. A prime example are the spurious 1934 China Manchukuo 5 Li coins identified by NGC.
China Manchukuo 1934 5 Li coins have two different varieties, representing the two different reigns during that year. The Datong reign is dated year 3 and is cataloged by Krause Publications’ Standard Catalog of World Coins 1901-2000 as Y-1. It is valued at $105 in uncirculated condition. The Kangde reign started in 1934 and thus is year 1; it is cataloged by Krause as Y-5 and valued at $90 in uncirculated condition. Lately counterfeits have been observed for both varieties.
The coin featured here, the year 1 Y-5, has a number of repeating depressions that serve as diagnostics to easily distinguish it from authentic pieces. On the obverse between the first and second characters on the bottom there is a large depression. Under the third character on the bottom there are several depressions. Two more depressions can be seen between the fourth character and the star at 3 o’clock. There are additional depressions at at 12 o’clock. On the reverse, a recessed line is seen above the top character as well as to its left.
Besides the repeating depressions, the color of these coins is not consistent with authentic Manchukuo coins of the period. However, all the counterfeit Manchukuo coins that we have examined have registered as the correct weight.
Even cheaper coins with relatively low catalog values and no precious metal content are being made as counterfeits today to sell to unsuspecting collectors or dealers. It is always best to know what you are buying or seek the opinion of a reputable third-party grading service.