Lately, we have experienced a sharp rise in calls from people who want to know how much their 1804 silver dollar is worth. Unfortunately, if you have an 1804 dollar you should assume it is a counterfeit. Instead of being worth millions of dollars these coins have no value at all. For if you had a real one of these (only 15 exist) you would certainly know it.
Counterfeit coins are designed to defraud people who are unfamiliar with authentic ones.
If you are approached by a person on the street with rare coins for sale don’t be tempted. They are a loser at any price and, whatever his story is, you don’t want anything to do with him and his coins.
Counterfeit coins often have poor details, may be attracted to a magnet (real silver coins are not magnetic), and land with a thud when you drop them on a table. But only an experienced numismatist can tell for sure.
Other commonly counterfeited dollars are the 1887-CC Morgan dollar, and Trade dollars dated 1799 or 1872. You can be certain that every 1887-CC Morgan dollar is counterfeit because the Carson City mint did not make any silver dollars in 1887. The U.S. Mint did not make Trade dollars prior to 1873 so you can be sure that the 1799 and 1872 Trade dollars are counterfeit as well.
To drive the point further, a man came to our shop the other day with 15 silver dollars - every one a counterfeit; 3 of them dated 1804. He said he had paid $500 for them. Each of them was attracted to a strong magnet. Needless to say he was disappointed with his sidewalk purchase. Had they been real they would be worth $40 million.
So unless you are an experienced coin collector, you can best protect yourself from potential loss by following these guidelines:
- Avoid online purchases from businesses whose membership with the American Numismatic Association (ANA) or Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) cannot be verified. Athough eBay has strict rules regarding the sale of counterfeit coins, they are not immune to violations
- Unless you know the seller, do not to buy coins at garage sales, flea markets or from street vendors
- Purchase coins from reputable and established coin dealers with experience
- If a dealer tells you that your coins are counterfeit and you are convinced of this, destroy and discard the coins yourself. Do not sell them.
If you want to be assured that your coins are genuine, visit our Bound Brook, NJ coin shop for a free no-obligation written appraisal. It is advisable to have your coins authenticated if you expect to pass them on to a relative. Also, should you ever wish to sell your coins for needed cash, you can avoid an unexpected financial jam by getting them checked out beforehand. You’ll be glad you did.