Friday, May 21, 2010

1824/1 Bust Half Dollar with Cuds?

Dennis sent this information in, pretty interesting stuff.  Readers can click on the photos provided at the end of the text in order to see much larger images of the coin.

I came across an interesting (possible counterfeit) 1824/1 Bust Half Dollar at a local show in N.H.  Maybe the readers of JR Newsletter will be interested in hearing about it. (Pic attached).

The coin has what appear to be large rim cuds on both obverse and reverse.  All of the devices are very sharp (unlike a casting), and the piece has the ring of a genuine coin. It does not look like German Silver, (the color is a natural medium gray).

Both obverse and reverse dies are an exact match to Overton 101. I have made  photographic overlays of this piece and of a genuine O.101, and the match is identical for both obverse and reverse.  The reverse die cracks that appear on late states of a genuine O.101 near the rim cannot be seen on this piece due to the heavy wear.  To my knowledge, no known genuine 101 has die cracks in the areas of the cuds shown in the picture.  Also, no Capped Halves are known to have rim cuds.

Close examination does show slight roughness and pits around the date and some stars (similar to a cast copy), but these could also be due to corrosion.  If this is a cast piece, how could it develop features that look like cuds?  (The letters in the word 'STATES' appear "raised" and weak, as would be expected on a cud.  Also stars 1 and 2 on the obverse are raised.)  Coincidentally, I also own a cast copy of O.101, and as expected, the devices on that piece are very mushy and indistinct, and the surfaces are rough all over.

I suspect that this piece is a counterfeit that was struck from dies prepared from a genuine coin.  Somehow, all of the devices were perfectly transferred to the die from a genuine piece.

I'd be interested to hear what others have to say about this coin.

Dennis Villanucci

Editor:  I have added some additional photos to this post.  Dennis sent edge photos and photographic overlays of an 1824 O-101 over his coin to show that they match exactly.


  1. Dennis,

    You didn't mention anything about edge lettering. If you check G/L to see how many edges were used on this DM and compare this to some known genuine examples, that might shed some light on this. My wild guess is that it is a fake of some sort.

    Brad Higgins

  2. Though a bit weak, the edge lettering reads FIFTY CENTS OR HALF A DOLLAR *
    and the letters look "normal".
    I believe this is correct for the 1824 pieces.


  3. Dennis, if you send me pics of the edge, I will gladly post them. Richard

  4. Pictures sent. Thanks Richard.

  5. Weight is 12.4 grams

  6. Has anybody suggested this is a planchet flaw? It would explain the exact overlays, the edge lettering, and the substandard weight, as the flaw may be due to an large impurity or defect in the silver planchet 'strip' prior to the coin being cut.

  7. The idea of a planchet flaw did occur to me, and is still a possibility. If this is a flaw it is an unusual one in that the obverse and reverse shapes are noticeably different. Upon close inspection of the obverse I think a case could be made for a flaw because the outline is a bit ragged. On the reverse however, the outline is sharper, and both sides show raised design elements as in a retained cud. Could a planchet flaw have these characteristics?

  8. Well, considering a planchet flaw is present before an impression is made,then yes, the design elements would be present. Conversely, with a die cud, because the die sinks causing the cud to form, the design elements would become increasingly faint.

  9. I misspoke earlier:
    "On the reverse however, the outline of the artifact is sharper, and both sides show weak design elements (stars and letters)as would be caused by a retained cud."