Coin and Paper Money Collecting/Kennedy half dollar


QUESTION: I have a Kennedy half dollar which appears to be perfect in EVERY respect except one......It is identical on both sides. The Kennedy side is MISSING.   In other words, it has the Eagle on both sides.   I have heard that magicians use similar coins that have been manufactured by taking two coins, grinding one down (except for the outside edge), then grinding the other coin down, removing the outside edge, then gluing the two together, but there is ABSOLUTELY no sign that this coin has been altered in any way.
Is there any other explanation?
It would obviously involve a tremendious amount of precision work to alter this coin so perfectly.....which should make it a real collectors item.   Do you have any idea how much it would be worth?
Thanks for your help.
Chuck Barnett

ANSWER: Chuck:

Sorry. Likely 99.9999% altered. Die shafts are different diameters. Two reverse dies could not fit into the chambers. Considered novelties. Not errors. Drop to similar coins on a hard surface. A normal coin will make a ringing sound, while the two tailed piece will be dull. See:

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QUESTION: Dear Mr. Fern
Thank you for your reply. As you suggested, I tried dropping a normal coin and the two tailed coin on several different hard surfaces.  They sounded exactly the same.   While I am reasonably sure the two tailed coin is not an error, I do believe it is more than a novelty.  It definitely required a great deal of time and expertise to manufacture a coin that is identical in size and weight.  I am  positive that each side of the coin is authentic, although each side likely came from separate coins.  While I suspect that two normal coins were somehow joined, there is absolutely no apparent evidence of it.  The precision of the craftsman who did this is unbelieveable to me.
Obviously a lot of time and effort went into this.
Do you have any suggestions on how I might  obtain a value on it?


Excellent altered two sided coin examples sell on both Ebay and through dealer sites on the web. Prices range from $10 to $15 for the half. They are more common than you think, and fool many people. Without a photo of your piece or actually seeing it, I can't say for certain that it is an extraordinary example of the alteration, but is surely not an authentic mint product.

A really good example may sell for up to $100 or more to someone who thought it real, and they may try to resell it for much more as a real two tailed coin.

You might consider sending it to the U. S. mint by Registered Mail and Insure it for what you think it's worth. Be sure to include the cost of the return fees and postage. My best guess is that it's be kept by the mint as an altered or counterfeit coin, and you wouldn't get it back.

See: and

Sometimes you can think you have a real error coin. Here are examples of coins either being altered or damaged.
See link:
See link:

If you live close to a local shop, they should offer an opinion as to it's value and if it is authentic at no charge. Always try and get at least two opinions and try and deal with PNG dealers if possible. Here's a link to find one in your area:

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Thank You and Good Luck in your collecting.

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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.

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