Coin and Paper Money Collecting/Unknown American Duds


US Fakes
US Fakes  

US Fakes
US Fakes  
Hello. Have to start off that I had an uncle contact me about some coins he bought and knew I had books on world and US coins. I was asked to find out what they were and how much they're worth...

Some of these I found in my books, some I didn't. (Draped Bust/Indian Head.) Problem is that the ones I found were significantly larger than the image, they're magnetic, and conspicuously all the same size. So I know they aren't the real US coins with these lofty collectible values..

But what the heck are they? Looks like they came from some commemorative collection issues. They're indeed frosty and heavy, but not as heavy as they would be if they were really silver. Take a look at the back of the 1872, 1878 and 1879. Missing something..

Obviously he and I would like to know the value (which we know is tragically less than the real versions); but it's driving me nuts not having an explanation of these. I own a "copy." None of these say copy. The massive size is a dead giveaway.

I'm pretty much convinced they're a part of a larger set of collectible favorites released in the 90s that originally came in a booklet, but can't be found in numismatic books because they're not real US coins. Would love to have an answer. Help help.


These appear to be crude imitations, likely from China. This country has had a large increase in "copy" coins coming from there in the past couple of years. The Chinese government allows coins to be made in China without restraint. The "counterfeiter" could be put to death if they made fake Chinese coins.

The key to determining what you may have is to determine the metal composition, weight, diameter and thickness. Value is about $10 per piece to an interested collector. At least one or more of these designs were never official U.S. coins.

The Rules and Regulations under the Hobby Protection Act (1970's) require that all imitation numismatic and imitation political items sold in, or imported into, the United States be marked with the word "copy" the year of manufacture. An amendment to the Rule in 1988 permits manufacturers of miniature numismatic items to mark the word "copy" smaller dimensions than those required under the previous Rule.

Here's a U.S. site selling similar replica coins.

You may want to check US coins and currency listings under colonial issues on eBay from time to time to see if your coin is listed what this type of item may bring. Copies are often offered for sale.

If you live close to a local shop, they should offer an opinion as to the value at no charge. Always try and get at least two opinions and try and deal with PNG dealers if possible. If you should decide to sell your items to a dealer, remember they will offer about 50% to 60% of the retail value. Here's a link to find one in your area:

Please remember to go to the experts site to rate this answer. Check the nomination box on the rating page below any comments you may have.  

Coin and Paper Money Collecting

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Ronald Fern


I can answer most all questions relating to US coins, tokens, and currency. I'm not strong on world coins or ancients. Primary field of expertise is errors and varieties. Over 55 years experience in coin collecting. Part time dealer since 1976. Employed by McDonnell Douglas/Boeing for over 34 years as an Industrial Engineer/Technical Specialist before retiring in 2002.


Worked weekends for "Lonesome" John in the late 1960's to mid 1970's processing error coins, packaging, and preparing orders. Worked with John Devine and Fred Weinberg on several California Error A Rama's in the early 1970's. Served as display judge at annual Error-A-Rama coin shows. Opened and operated mail order coin business DBA "CAL ERRORS" in 1976. Contributor to Alan Herbert's "Official Price Guide To Mint Errors" and Fivaz/Stanton "Cherrypickers' Guide". Worked Saturdays at Huntington Beach Coin Exchange 1980-1999. Had table and sold coins at a number of coin and gun shows in So CA, AZ and NV. Sell coins, tokens and currency on Facebook. Past "Errorscope" Editor. Presently CONECA Examiner.


Errorscope, Numismatic News, Civil War Token Journal, Error and Variety News

AA Degree LBCC pre Engineering, 1964 BS Degree CSULB Ind Technology, 1968

Awards and Honors
1st Place EAR Trophy for Civil War Token Errors, NLG Author of Year Award for best monthly coin column "Error News and Views" in small Numismatic paper, owned and published by Ray Anthony.

©2016 All rights reserved.