Counterfeit Detection: Cuba 1916 Gold 10 Pesos

Posted on 4/9/2019

The denticles and edge of a coin can give important clues about whether it is genuine.

The 1915-16 Cuban 10 Pesos are very interesting pieces of numismatic history. Although they are Cuban coins, they were struck at the Philadelphia Mint from dies sculpted by Chief Engraver Charles Barber – one of the last projects he worked on before his death in 1917.

Because of this connection to the United States, they are quite popular with US and world collectors alike. However, because they do trade for a premium in the marketplace, they have been heavily counterfeited. NGC graders recently caught one such fake in a recent submission.

Counterfeit Cuba 1916 Gold 10 Pesos
Click images to enlarge.

Like many well-executed fakes, the counterfeit is of a high enough quality to fool many casual collectors and dealers. It is of the correct weight and metal content, but the surfaces look a bit off and different from the surfaces of a genuine example. It is much easier to spot when you compare it to a genuine example.

Genuine Cuba 1916 Gold 10 Pesos
Click images to enlarge.

As you can tell from the photos above, the genuine piece certainly has a different “look” to it than the fake. Among the most noticeable differences are the much weaker strike on the fake. Note how the high points of the hair and ear fade into the surfaces on the counterfeit, and are much bolder on the genuine piece.

Additionally, a closer look reveals how different the denticles appear.

Counterfeit (top) and genuine (bottom) Click image to enlarge.

Clearly, the counterfeiters were using far less pressure when striking their fakes. The denticles appear soft and rounded, and smoothly flow into the field. On the other hand, the denticles on the genuine example are much sharper and more defined.

Additionally, there are some tool marks on the fake that appear as raised lines that are especially visible running through the top of the 6 in the date.

Lastly, on these coins it is very important to also check the edge, which is lettered.

Counterfeit (top) and genuine (bottom) Click image to enlarge.

Notice that on this counterfeit, the edge lettering is not straight. This fake (like many others) suffers from that issue. Note how the T, D and S are higher up than the two O’s, whereas the letters are straight on the genuine example. Also note the extensive tooling marks on the edge of the fake.

While at first glance, these two 1916 Cuba 10 Peso gold coins looked very similar, you can now see how very different they are. One is a counterfeit struck to deceive collectors, while the other is a genuine coin struck in Philadelphia for use in Cuba. If you still feel unsure of your authentication abilities, you can always buy a coin already in an NGC holder, as all coins graded by NGC are guaranteed to be authentic.

Did you know? NGC has created a comprehensive Counterfeit Detection resource to help collectors and dealers identify counterfeit and altered coins. Visit

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