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Any experts in mid-19th century fractional Guatemalan gold?

Or counterfeits thereof?

This was one of those half dozen smaller gold coins I got earlier this year. A bit stunned by the results. I see that NGC's own plate coin is a gilt copper piece. Any ideas or thoughts? Tourist piece? Contemporary counterfeit? Trial?

We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
--Severian the Lame

Comments

  • RexfordRexford Posts: 1,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Modern counterfeit. Flat luster, soft devices. I’m sure there will be improper surface texture up close.

    Not sure what you mean re: the coin currently shown in the NGC price guide - it’s this piece, which looks like a normal example: https://www.ngccoin.com/certlookup/4836913-003/63/

  • ELuisELuis Posts: 761 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 19, 2024 12:19PM

    Not familiar with these coins.

    Is the one with the not genuine with the engraver name?:

    edit to add numista: https://en.numista.com/catalogue/pieces56607.html

  • WeissWeiss Posts: 9,922 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Rexford said:
    Modern counterfeit. Flat luster, soft devices. I’m sure there will be improper surface texture up close.

    Not sure what you mean re: the coin currently shown in the NGC price guide - it’s this piece, which looks like a normal example: https://www.ngccoin.com/certlookup/4836913-003/63/

    LOL.
    No.

    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • WeissWeiss Posts: 9,922 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ELuis said:
    No familiar with these coins.

    Is the one with the not genuine with the engraver name?:

    Designer's name apparent:

    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • ELuisELuis Posts: 761 ✭✭✭✭

    @Weiss i open that image and zoom in, does not look right.

  • WeissWeiss Posts: 9,922 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ELuis said:
    @Weiss i open that image and zoom in, does not look right.

    Clearly something's off, or else NGC just doesn't like me (not putting that past them).

    But this piece was in the 2x2 since at least the 1970s and came from a collection dating to the early 1960s.
    I can't find other examples of counterfeits of this series. And you'd think that if a piece this small was going to be counterfeited, which must have been a pretty costly and labor intensive endeavor, there would be multiples out there.

    I didn't pay much for it. Just doesn't add up. If it's a tourist piece, it's a tourist piece. But that's a heck of a long way to go for what would have been a few cents when sold back 40 or 50 years ago.

    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • FrankHFrankH Posts: 756 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Oak Island discovery? :o

  • WillieBoyd2WillieBoyd2 Posts: 5,026 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This tiny gold coin is possibly the smallest modern machine-struck coin ever made.

    image

    Guatemala 4 Reales 1860
    Obverse: Rafael Carrera facing right / RAFAEL CARRERA P. DE LA R. DE GUATEMALA
    Reverse: Wreath / 4 REALES 1860 / 21 Q R
    Gold, 9mm, 0.83gm, 0.875 fine

    The obverse has "FRENER F." under the bust but it is hard to read. Jean-Baptiste Frener was a Swiss engraver who lived in Guatemala from 1854 to 1897. He worked at the mint in Guatemala City.

    The reverse "21 Q" is 21 Quilates (21 karat or 21/24 or 0.875 gold). The "R" is mint assayer Rafael Romaña. Many coin catalogs treat the "R" as a mint mark.

    The original value was 4 reales or one-half peso, the equivalent of one-half US dollar. The coin is close in size to the little California fractional gold coins. It is smaller than the US silver three-cent piece and the "Panama Pill" 1904 2-1/2 centavos.

    Rafael Carrera was a peasant and soldier who rose to power during the first part of the 19th century. He was President of Guatemala from 1854 to 1865 and managed to keep Guatemala independent of Mexico. He also instituted the coffee-growing industry there. Rafael Carrera died on April 14, 1865.

    :)

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  • RexfordRexford Posts: 1,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Weiss said:

    @Rexford said:
    Modern counterfeit. Flat luster, soft devices. I’m sure there will be improper surface texture up close.

    Not sure what you mean re: the coin currently shown in the NGC price guide - it’s this piece, which looks like a normal example: https://www.ngccoin.com/certlookup/4836913-003/63/

    LOL.
    No.

    That note is probably carried over from Krause, which is where the price guide data came from. The NGC image is changed periodically, and the current example is a normal circulation issue.

  • RexfordRexford Posts: 1,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Also, coin definitely looks fake in that higher-res image of the reverse, and I have seen fakes of this type before. There are fakes of just about everything.

  • WeissWeiss Posts: 9,922 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @WillieBoyd2 said:
    This tiny gold coin is possibly the smallest modern machine-struck coin ever made.

    Preach, brother Willie!

    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • carabonnaircarabonnair Posts: 1,385 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'm not an expert, but I have what I think is a contemporary counterfeit of this:

  • 7Jaguars7Jaguars Posts: 7,181 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wow, I wonder about the OP coin. I am not at all sure that I agree the lustre is off as this is similar to some of the mid-19th C. coins I have seen. If anything it looks almost too well struck and the designer's name replete with its lack of crispness also do not bother me - how in the world with a coin of this minuscule size could it be expected to strike up fully? Devices, edges and denticles well struck up IMHO.
    I have had NGC return to me as "not genuine" TWO 1855 half sovs that appear for all intents and purposes (weights, details, sharpness of strike, metal) appear to be good and well matching up a very complete date run in similar state. I really wish they would clarify what excludes this coin.
    The last posted coin appears about how I would expect a counterfeit, and the other examples posted - i.e. the NGC coin price guide picture of different planchet type and prep.....
    In short, I would not be so hasty to condemn without better evidence.

    Love that Milled British (1830-1960)
    Well, just Love coins, period.
  • WeissWeiss Posts: 9,922 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My thoughts, too, @7Jaguars . Unfortunately my Sigma can't read something this tiny. But it really looks like good gold and high karat gold, too. The originals are supposed to be 87.5% pure.

    Of course someone could go to the effort of making a legitimate die, creating blanks, and minting pieces this tiny in real high purity gold. But why on earth would they? Especially 40 or 50 years ago. There was no money in these when gold was $40 an ounce to tourists, collectors, or speculators.

    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • Does look like good gold from a distance, but those surfaces look very non-kosher, particularly looking at the clearer reverse photo. As noted above, there are off-metal patterns (though no, that NGC Krause pic is not one), and also as noted, (typically crude) contemporary counterfeits. This doesn't appear to be either.

    For those familiar with U.S. gold, I'm thinking something along the lines of all the jewelry copies made of U.S. gold $1 pieces (I think mainly out of Europe). This type, like those, Spain 1/2 escudos, etc., is also often found on stickpins and such.

    However, those almost "bubbly" surfaces seem almost textbook for mid-to-late 1900s Lebanese fakes of U.S gold, so???

  • RexfordRexford Posts: 1,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It’s a textbook example of a transfer die counterfeit, and not a very good quality one. The half sovereigns would have been too. They were made in massive quantities from the 1950s onward, and it is normal for the fakes of gold types to be made of gold. The grading services see these all day, every day.

  • RexfordRexford Posts: 1,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Weiss Is there a reason you are LOL reacting to my comments? If you were familiar with die transfer counterfeits, you wouldn’t have posted the comments you posted above, because you would know their history and the characteristics they display. You posted on this forum asking for opinions. I gave you mine. If you aren’t familiar with an area, it’s best to approach with open mind, but it seems that you don’t want to hear views that counter yours.

  • RexfordRexford Posts: 1,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @realeswatcher Correct, this would be similar to those mid-century gold counterfeits from the Middle East and elsewhere, which also were also from transfer dies. The reintroduction of the Sovereign in 1957 was partially an effort to combat this issue, after they realized that 5% or more of the older Sovereigns in foreign markets were counterfeit.

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