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Counterfeit 1899-S Morgan?


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I recently bought this coin off ebay in a roll with 19 other morgans:

I authenticate all coins I buy using a kitchen scale and a ping tester (bullion test or ping coin). Usually morgans weigh 26.7 - 26.8g. The first red flag is that this coin weighed 26.9g. It does ping OK but sometimes it only passes 2/3 checks.

I measured the diameter as 37.8mm (usually my calipers measure 38 or 38.1) and the thickness as 2.8mm-3mm.

Do coins from 1889-S have different dimensions? (unlikely)

What's up with the surface of the coin? It looks almost like spray paint or something.


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It definitely looks to have an odd patina. I have quite a few Morgan’s and don’t have any that look like this.

There are some areas that so think look a bit weak - notably a couple of areas in the feathers.

Would be good to see a clearer pic of both the on and rev of the coin.



Not my circus, not my monkeys

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A visual inspection, weight and physical dimensions are the place to start as you've done. I personally don't think ping testers are a great idea for determining whether a coin is genuine enough, they have seemingly been a great business venture for some despite this.

A specific gravity test is a good way of determining whether the metal compound is correct, a magnet slide test is a help too.

Fake Morgans as with other coins usually are not the correct metal compound, so that's the place to start. Fakes of extremely rare or valuable examples may well be made of .900 silver? Not come across any myself but it's possible.

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I had originally included a link to imgur but it was removed by the mod. I just now tried to upload the full high res images but the max file size is 5MB

At the risk of getting banned here's the link again:


(replace the - with /)

Doesn't it seem suspect the coin diameter is less than it should be and the coin is slightly thicker than it should be? I've examined hundreds of Morgans and this is the only one that I've flagged. 

then there's the issue of the surface. it doesn't look like any Morgan I've ever seen 

it's not a super rare year but 1889-S (typo on my end) mintage is around 700k iirc. Would it even make sense for a counterfeitter to spend $10 of low grade silver for a small profit?

The seller says it came from a collection purchased from ebay or wherever over the years.

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