World Coins: Counterfeit China 1912 Li Yuan-Hung L&M-45, Y-321 Silver Dollar

There are two 1912 commemoratives of Li Yuan-Hung, and good-quality counterfeits exist for all issues.

Deceptive counterfeit Chinese coins continue to emerge onto the coin marketplace. One example is this counterfeit China 1912 Silver Dollar commemorating Li Yuan-Hung, listed as L&M-45 and Y-321. Made by the transfer die method, this counterfeit is top notch and could fool many collectors and dealers unfamiliar with authentic examples.

Li Yuan-Hung was a Chinese general and later served as Vice President of the Republic under Sun Yat-Sen, a position he held in 1912 when authentic issues of this coin were struck. He would later become President of the Republic of China. There are two different commemoratives of Li Yuan-Hung from 1912, one where he wears a hat (L&M-43 and L&M-44), and one where he is hatless (L&M-45). Good quality counterfeits exist for all issues.

Counterfeit China 1912 Li Yuan-Hung L&M-45, Y-321 Silver Dollar
Left to Right: Coin 1 Obverse; Coin 2 Obverse; Coin 3 Obverse
Click images to enlarge.

Counterfeit China 1912 Li Yuan-Hung L&M-45, Y-321 Silver Dollar
Left to Right: Coin 1 Reverse; Coin 2 Reverse; Coin 3 Reverse
Click images to enlarge.

This counterfeit was made using the transfer die method, like other high quality counterfeits being manufactured today in China. This method uses a real coin to create the die, ensuring that the design is correct. With this method, flaws can also be transferred (such as contact marks). These flaws will appear on the dies that produce the counterfeit coins, and thus will appear on all counterfeit coins struck from the dies. In the case of this counterfeit, there is a significant repeating mark that distinguishes it: in the field behind Li Yuan-Hung’s head, there are connecting scratches that almost form an “X” in the field. Other repeating marks on the obverse include a depression between the first two characters on the top, lines on Li Yuan-Hung’s forehead and uniform, and contact marks in the field. On the reverse, there are repeating contact marks in the field next to the right wheat ear, above the “ON” of “ONE” and below the “DOL” of “DOLLAR.” So far, all examples of this counterfeit that we have handled have been made of silver and are within the weight tolerance.

Counterfeit China 1912 Li Yuan-Hung L&M-45, Y-321 Silver Dollar
Diagnostics circled in red
Click images to enlarge.

Examples of authentic 1912 Li Yuan-Hung dollars have brought as much as $30,000 at auction. While this example has an “X” that marks it as counterfeit, without the knowledge of this diagnostic it could easily pass as genuine. Education is critical, and if there are any doubts certification from a reputable third-party grading service is recommended.


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