Counterfeit Detection: 1844 Dime

Posted on 1/12/2021

This fake has numerous problems, starting with the date.

The 1844 Dime is one of the rarer issues of the 1837-1891 Seated Liberty series. Even a well-circulated genuine example like the one here graded NGC F-12 is worth several hundred dollars. Prices escalate to several thousand dollars for genuine Mint State examples.

Genuine 1844 Dime, graded NGC F 12
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NGC recently received a submission of a purported 1844 Seated Liberty Dime that caught the attention of our grading team — for several reasons.

Counterfeit 1844 Dime
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Seated Liberty Dimes have the same small diameter as modern dimes, so a loupe is especially useful in helping to authenticate them. An examination of the numerals in the date immediately raises concerns. The serif at the bottom of the 1 is far too narrow, as are the vertical lines in the 4’s. Additionally, the numerals in the date have a more rounded look than those on the genuine example.

Close-up view of the date on the counterfeit
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Overall, the coin has weak details, and this is especially noticeable on the stars and Liberty’s body. The devices are also porous, which can be seen on the figure of Liberty when compared to the genuine example.

Close-up view of the Liberty figure
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The poor denticles on both sides are another ominous sign, and they are particularly flat on the reverse at 5 o’clock. In addition, the coin shows signs of artificial aging and toning, an attempt to distract from its numerous problems and make the coin appear much older than it is.

Close-up view of the reverse denticles
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Finally, the fake dime is underweight: 2.54 grams versus an expected 2.67 grams — a difference of about 5 percent. A metallurgical analysis confirms this is a counterfeit: It should be struck in 90% silver and 10% copper, but this counterfeit is 60% copper, 37% zinc and only 2% silver.

Whether you are buying a small coin like a dime or a large one like a silver dollar, please keep in mind that NGC backs its determinations of authenticity and grade with the NGC Guarantee.

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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