Coin Collectors should be able to recognize Coin Frauds, Fakes and Errors ...
The overwhelming majority of coin collectors and dealers are honest. The fact that eBay and other Internet sites are successful is evidence to that effect.
Trust keeps the whole system going, since there's a delay between the purchase and the delivery.
But coin collecting attracts coin frauds and fakes and errors do happen.
And serious coin collectors will have to do some research whenever they consider trading coins with someone they don't know.
One basic type of error is the simple, old-fashioned human error. A coin may simply be identified incorrectly.
However serious coin collectors use the term 'error' in another way; an error is a coin that may have been stamped with the wrong date, have the obverse face of one coin, but the reverse has the design of another denomination.
A fake coin, is a coin that is not intended to be used as real currency. It may be for advertising purposes or just a joke.
Coin frauds, involve a coin that has been made to look like genuine currency, but was not produced by a legitimate mint.
Being able to tell the difference between the coin collecting frauds, fakes and errors can save you money and grief.
- Errors can be worth a lot because of their rarity.
- A fake is definitely not a numismatic collectible
- and coin frauds are simply worthless.
The most common fake coin ...
One common type of fake that can be misinterpreted as an error, for example, is the 'two-headed' coin. These are sometimes mistakenly believed to be errors, but in fact they are just fakes.
They are commonly made for magicians, or for practical jokes. There are two common ways of producing them.
- In one case, two coins are shaved to about half-thickness then bonded together. If done carefully with two nickels for example, the result can look quite convincing.
- The other technique involves hollowing out the first coin, then shaving the perimeter and one side of another before bonding them together.
But however the deed is done, they are always fake. There are no known instances of a genuine, mint-produced two-headed or two-tailed coin. Given the way coins are minted it would be difficult if not impossible to do.
Proper Coin Production
Every coin produced by a mint gets its images from a striking process involving two die, a hammer die and an anvil die. The anvil die is large, square and stationary while the hammer die is smaller, round and mobile. The coin blank (the planchet) is essentially laid on the anvil and struck with the hammer.
Because of the differences between the two die it's practically impossible to exchange their positions. Even if they were, unless the design from one was placed on the other, you would simply have the same coin that had been produced upside down. It would be indistinguishable from any other.
Fake Ancient Coins ... Truly old coins (Ancient Roman, Greek, Medieval and so forth) were produced by very different processes. Thus, the same coin collecting frauds don't apply. As a result, many ancient coins are much more likely to be frauds than fakes or errors. Detecting these requires the coin collector do more intensive research.