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Saudi Arabia gold disc counterfeit/genuine comparison.

Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,457 ✭✭✭✭✭

I am often asked to post an image of an entire coin. It's complicated. I need to stop what I'm doing, go to our photo guy, get him to stop what he is working on and jump in on my project. In the time it takes me to walk across the building, click, click, click and I've got what I need. So...no whole coin. I also told a member that in most cases, if I posted an entire coin, it would look genuine! That's because many fakes look genuine in hand. The best of them would fit into any collection of genuine coins.

So we are left with these micrographs: Note that at 20X, the counterfeit is granular and lacks the sharpness of the genuine specimen. IMO, this fake would not get past a TPGS but it is good enough gold to fool most folks.

Comments

  • ifthevamzarockinifthevamzarockin Posts: 6,019 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great photos & information! :)

  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,881 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good illustrations of fake and real.

    Note - there are more than a dozen variations on cast and false-die pound and 4 pound pieces.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 23,484 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting.

    Struck counterfeit (transfer die?) or was it cast?

  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 29,954 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A few general questions for background.
    A. How many genuine dies are known for both sides of each denomination?
    B. How were the dies made? Were hubs made, or were the individual working dies individually engraved a la the 1790’s-1830’s era?

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • SmudgeSmudge Posts: 7,984 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks. Good close ups. Always wanted one of those.

  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,881 ✭✭✭✭✭

    For both denominations, archive files state that hubs were made based on the Philadelphia Mint's gold bullion stamp, with the inscriptions added as shown on the pieces. Two pairs of dies were made. After delivery and confirmation that no more were wanted, the hubs and dies were destroyed.

    Just a reminder - the old stories about these pieces are largely false. There was no direct connection with CASOC or ARAMCO. Manufacture was largely a State Department project.

  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 29,954 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you.
    Are there pictures available of distinguishable differences between any two like dies, such as both four pound obverses or both one pound reverses or?

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • 1Mike11Mike1 Posts: 4,198 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting, thanks for posting.

    "May the silver waves that bear you heavenward be filled with love’s whisperings"

    "A dog breaks your heart only one time and that is when they pass on". Unknown
  • Timbuk3Timbuk3 Posts: 11,633 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you for sharing the information !!! :)

    Timbuk3
  • Namvet69Namvet69 Posts: 6,793 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for sharing that information. Those images are powerful. Peace Roy

    BST: endeavor1967, synchr, kliao, Outhaul, Donttellthewife, U1Chicago, ajaan, mCarney1173, SurfinHi, MWallace, Sandman70gt, Ricko, mustanggt, Pittstate03, Lazybones, Walkerguy21D, coinandcurrency242 , thebigeng, Collectorcoins, JimTyler, USMarine6, Elkevvo, Coll3ctor, Yorkshireman, CUKevin, ranshdow, Jzyskowski1, CoinHunter4, bennybravo, Centsearcher, braddick

  • rickoricko Posts: 89,852 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great imagery and pertinent information. Thanks for this helpful instruction. Cheers, RickO

  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,457 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @RogerB said: "Note - there are more than a dozen variations on cast and false-die pound and 4 pound pieces."

    Interesting. Extremely hard to believe. How many of these "variations" have you seen in hand? Are you going to include some images of the fakes when you publish?

    @jmlanzaf said: "Interesting. Struck counterfeit (transfer die?) or was it cast?"

    This piece was die struck. I'll see if it is still here so I can send images to Roger. BTW, I cannot ever recall seeing a cast counterfeit Saudi disk of any denomination since 1972. I am sure they must be out their as Roger has reported they exist.

    @RogerB said: "For both denominations, archive files state that hubs were made based on the Philadelphia Mint's gold bullion stamp, with the inscriptions added as shown on the pieces. Two pairs of dies were made. After delivery and confirmation that no more were wanted, the hubs and dies were destroyed."

    @CaptHenway asked: Are there pictures available of distinguishable differences between any two like dies, such as both four pound obverses or both one pound reverses or?"

    Something about only two die pairs does not compute. As I remember at least THREE distinct (completely different) genuine obverses for the 4 P discs were used. I'll need to find my diagnostic records. Stay tuned...

    PS NGC and PCGS should have images!

  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,881 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My rough notes show at least 14 different "variants" combined were examined. They included counterfeits so good they would be called genuine except for alloy problems. To crude casts. Most were of correct or nearly correct purity. Haven't found my die notes - might be in storage with a lot of old papers. This was a very simple design and the gold content was easily obtained by melting sovereigns. Early fakes were made for the format premium, not a gold premium. Later ones suffer from common mixtures of real and fake sovereigns and the resulting skewed alloy.

  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,457 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @RogerB said:
    My rough notes show at least 14 different "variants" combined were examined. They included counterfeits so good they would be called genuine except for alloy problems. To crude casts. Most were of correct or nearly correct purity. Haven't found my die notes - might be in storage with a lot of old papers. This was a very simple design and the gold content was easily obtained by melting sovereigns. Early fakes were made for the format premium, not a gold premium. Later ones suffer from common mixtures of real and fake sovereigns and the resulting skewed alloy.

    Examined by who, Virgil H.? o:)

    Who tested the alloys. Had to be within the last ten years right? Ali Express may be selling casts.

    I'm looking for my notes also, it's driving me crazy!

  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,457 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Roger, you once said you were going to publish your research to correct the record? How is it coming?

  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,881 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I did the examinations using both an 10x magnifier and 40x binocular dissecting scope. The authentic-looking piece was tested by XRF with a competent technician. I took photos but they might be sitting on a crashed hard drive.

    I'll publish a lengthy article which I have the money to have it printed in color and when I feel entirely comfortable with all of it, not just a tiny fragment about fakes.

  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,457 ✭✭✭✭✭

    How much money do you need to publish? Bet you could raise it in one day!

  • ashelandasheland Posts: 19,249 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great thread

  • FredWeinbergFredWeinberg Posts: 5,356 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Roger,

    I just got back from PCGS one of each Size/Denomination,.

    I'd be glad to ship 'em to you, if you'd like to look at them.

    Collector & Dealer in Major Mint Error Coins & Currency since the 1960's.Co-Author of Whitman's "100 Greatest U.S. Mint Error Coins", and the Error Coin Encyclopedia, Vols., III & IV.
    Authenticator for Major Mint Errors
    for PCGS. A 42 +-Year PNG Member, and an ICTA Board Member.A full time coin dealer since 1972.
  • TPRCTPRC Posts: 3,187 ✭✭✭✭

    Great discussion!

    Tom

  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,881 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 4, 2019 1:47PM

    Fred. Thanks, but the holders prevent careful examination. I've seen a lot of these over the years of researching. This includes pieces direct from the Kingdom, etc.

    As for Insider2's suggestion, I doubt there's a source of money to pay for printing -- and publication would not be of much authentication help. The originals are so simple, and easy to imitate/counterfeit that the potential number of different false varieties is pointless to enumerate -- except maybe for an authentication company. The examples shown - other than the off-color - are representative of many. Frankly, authentication companies see these so infrequently that it's probably not worth the investment to maintain the false variety data.

    Keep in mind that in parts of the old Ottoman Empire that became a British Mandate, and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, content was more important than form. In the case of the Saudi discs, it was literally backwards for a few years: the form made the pieces valuable to the Kingdom. When that distinguishing factor faded, there was no difference in making gold into sovereigns, roosters, Napoleons, Canadian $5, US $5, or discs.

  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,457 ✭✭✭✭✭

    IMHO, the holders do nothing of the sort. There is nothing of consequence to see or count on the edges. I'm still looking (on and off) for my file on these coins!

  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,881 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 21, 2019 10:19AM

    Anything that impedes direct examination will interfere with the quality of results. Clear plastic as commonly used in coin holders, is not uniform in density or clarity. Further, it is under mechanical stress in a slab. These can create misleading images in addition to surface reflections. While this is not usually a major problem, it is something an astute collector should be aware of.

    Also, the edges include significant details resulting from manufacture. Collars used on the two sizes impart their own unique 'signature' to every genuine piece. Only the very best counterfeits come close to a match, even though the faces look OK. Since the local purpose of counterfeiting these was to take advantage of the form vs content for profit, very little attention would have been paid to the edges.

  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,457 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 21, 2019 10:49AM

    @RogerB said:
    Anything that impedes direct examination will interfere with the quality of results. Clear plastic as commonly used in coin holders, is not uniform in density or clarity. Further, it is under mechanical stress in a slab. These can create misleading images in addition to surface reflections. While this is not usually a major problem, it is something an astute collector should be aware of.

    Also, the edges include significant details resulting from manufacture. Collars used on the two sizes impart their own unique 'signature' to every genuine piece. Only the very best counterfeits come close to a match, even though the faces look OK. Since the local purpose of counterfeiting these was to take advantage of the form vs content for profit, very little attention would have been paid to the edges.

    NUTS! Ah, I must respectfully disagree with everything in this post regarding these particular coins.

  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,881 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Sorry you disagree about factual material and good research/examination technique.

    Attempting to authenticate a coin, medal, etc. based only of the faces ignores the third edge - a critical source of information about the method of production and points of comparison with genuine pieces. Further, there are numerous coins that can be accurately authenticated/attributed only by the edge.

  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 42,341 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @RogerB said:
    Further, there are numerous coins that can be accurately authenticated/attributed only by the edge.

    Can you give us a few examples of counterfeit coins that can only be authenticated by their edge?

  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,881 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I was speaking of coins in general, not counterfeits specifically. The focus is to access and use ALL available information in authenticating and attributing a coin.

  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 29,954 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @RogerB said:
    Sorry you disagree about factual material and good research/examination technique.

    Attempting to authenticate a coin, medal, etc. based only of the faces ignores the third edge - a critical source of information about the method of production and points of comparison with genuine pieces. Further, there are numerous coins that can be accurately authenticated/attributed only by the edge.

    Sure comes in handy on a lot of coins in determining Proof vs. Unc.

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,457 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 21, 2019 5:06PM

    @RogerB said:
    Sorry you disagree about factual material and good research/examination technique.

    Attempting to authenticate a coin, medal, etc. based only of the faces ignores the third edge - a critical source of information about the method of production and points of comparison with genuine pieces. Further, there are numerous coins that can be accurately authenticated/attributed only by the edge.

    You have produced NO FACTUAL MATERIAL regarding the edges of gold discs. As to this statement: "Further, there are numerous coins that can be accurately authenticated/attributed only by the edge." This is correct except your "numerous" is actually "extremely few" in practice.

    I challenge you to name over 10 coins of any denomination that YOU OR ANYONE ELSE HERE could ID for their date and mint If told: "This is a genuine (insert coin type) and its reed count is (insert number)." Now tell me the date and mint. :)

    In fact, I'm going to post a discussion on this topic. :)

    Roger, I've been studying/counting the edges of all coins from every era and country I could get in hand using a microscope since 1972! That's because I got a wild idea back then as a rookie authenticator that gold coins could be authenticated that way. It did not pan out as I had hoped. Nevertheless, there are some reed count trends at each mint that are very interesting (mostly unpublished).

    Furthermore, I'll bet I'm one of the tiny group of numismatists in the country to use reed counts to authenticate coins. I was delighted to see this type of information finally dispersed to the public by Morgan dollar specialists and the LSCC club members. While it is true that the authenticity of SOME key date coins in several series can be confirmed by a reed count, it is useless for authenticating the majority of coins. Saudi discs are In that group where the edge is useless for authentication. BTW, so are 16-D dimes, 1911-D $2 1/2, key date Barber quarters, and ....

    So, you can take this to the bank: At one time long ago I could SOMETIMES detect a counterfeit gold coin by its edge alone, but that time has been over for DECADES. The edges of good fakes - struck in a reeded collar - look identical to the genuine coins. While the edges of most crude, modern Chinese junk are terrible, before those coins get 10 feet away you know they are fake so who needs to see their edge?

  • bkzoopapabkzoopapa Posts: 172 ✭✭✭

    if you put 1841 P - C and D quarter eagles on edge you can certainly till the “P” mint by the finer reeding

  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,881 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Insider2 -
    I do not plan to post edge information on Saudi gold discs. It would help no one, confuse some, and do nothing to separate the dozen or more varieties of fake pieces. The point which you seem to ignore behind that defensive wall you're building, is that the edge of any coin or medal can be a source of distinctive information. Reed counts are all good stuff - but there is more information there - or even on a plain edge coin - and it should be used as routinely as obverse and reverse. It is part of treating authentication and attribution was a scientific method approach.

    Sorry, but I'm not going to bother with you further. You're beginning to sound like TTTT. :(

  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,457 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 21, 2019 8:25PM

    @bkzoopapa said:
    if you put 1841 P - C and D quarter eagles on edge you can certainly till the “P” mint by the finer reeding

    But you can't tell the DATE also. Therefore the edge is useless for authentication unless the counterfeit is a cast or very crude.

  • Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,457 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 21, 2019 8:31PM

    @RogerB said:
    Insider2 -
    I do not plan to post edge information on Saudi gold discs. It would help no one, confuse some, and do nothing to separate the dozen or more varieties of fake pieces. The point which you seem to ignore behind that defensive wall you're building, is that the edge of any coin or medal can be a source of distinctive information. Reed counts are all good stuff - but there is more information there - or even on a plain edge coin - and it should be used as routinely as obverse and reverse. It is part of treating authentication and attribution was a scientific method approach.

    Sorry, but I'm not going to bother with you further. You're beginning to sound like TTTT. :(

    Unfortunately, this is a typical response of most folks who are backed up against a proven fact. I own four of the 4P pieces and IMO their edges are useless for authentication. Every fake Saudi 4P I've seen (all had apparently fooled the coin dealers who submitted them) had a genuine looking edge but the color, and microscopic fabric of the coins were "Off."

    We'll just disagree then. However, in my experience, there are some things that professionals can disagree on that are valid and there are other things where one party is just plain wrong. :wink:

    PS This makes my point: "I do not plan to post edge information on Saudi gold discs. It would help no one, confuse some, and do NOTHING to separate the dozen or more varieties of fake pieces." BTW, If you've seen a dozen or more DIFFERENT fakes of these coins, it beats my five aces! LOL.

    We'll await the edge info when the article on these coins is published and I'll repeat my offer to proof read it in case there is more to add. <3

  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 29,954 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Chill, people.

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • thefinnthefinn Posts: 2,512 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I love to see people that know something argue. No winners, but it makes great theatre.
    Like TV talk shows, except that they are clueless.

    Keep up the good work. Scraps fall from the table for the rest of us.

    thefinn

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