Top 25 Most Commonly Counterfeited World Coins

According to Submissions to Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC)

1. Russia 1897AT 15 Roubles

Even with a mintage of nearly 12 million pieces, the 1897 15 Roubles carries a healthy numismatic premium. This premium has led to extensive counterfeiting of the series, as is the case with many U.S. gold pieces of the same era. Read more >

2. Korea KK501 (1892) 5 Yang

The 5 Yang is a one-year type coin with a mintage of a mere 20,000 pieces. Due to its unique nature and limited mintage, it is always in demand from collectors in Asia and abroad. This has driven up values, which of course creates an incentive for counterfeiters to reproduce this rare piece. Read more >

3. French Indo-China 1943-44 L&M-433, 435, 436 Tael

With such a simplistic design, counterfeit dies are much easier to create. Genuine pieces are usually crudely made, so fakes are easier to pass. However, this is an odd case in which the counterfeit examples often look nicer than the genuine pieces. Read more >

4. Great Britain 1775 Halfpenny

In the early United States, there was a severe lack of physical coinage. Due to this, many counterfeits also freely circulated. The most famous of these are the Machin’s Mills pieces, created clandestinely in the United States. These contemporary counterfeits are oddball pieces of numismatic history and are actually the only counterfeit coins that are eligible for grading by NGC.

Spurious 1775 halfpennies were produced by others besides Machin’s Mills, and these are often submitted to NGC in the hopes that they are from this famous secret minting facility. However, if they are not true Machin’s Mills issues they will not be graded by NGC. This pushes the 1775 Great Britain Half Penny to #4 on the list. Read more >

5. Vietnam 1945 20 Xu

This particular coin type is quite popular with collectors. It is one of the first issues of the communists in Vietnam, making it a very historical piece. Unfortunately, examples are crudely made, making counterfeiting easier. Nice, genuine examples can easily bring hundreds of dollars. Read more >

6. Saudi Arabia AH1370 (1950) Guinea

These popular Middle Eastern coins were issued in both 1950 and 1957. They were seen as a Saudi version of the extremely popular British Sovereign. Although some 2,000,000 pieces were struck in 1950, these coins are still quite popular today. Read more >

7. Korea KK502 (1893) Whan

The 1893 Korean Whan is a one-year type coin and is therefore highly sought by collectors. Most genuine examples are well used or have been chop-marked, so apparently high-grade examples, such as the counterfeit here, would draw much scrutiny from NGC’s graders. Read more >

8. Iran SH1339 (1960) 5 Pahlavi

The 1960 5 Pahlavi was the first issue of this denomination since 1926. With a mintage of only 2,225 pieces, this coin is rare in all grades. However, examples usually only sell for a moderate numismatic premium. Read more >

9. Great Britain 1847 Gothic Crown

A mere 8,000 gothic crowns were struck early in the reign of Queen Victoria. Many were carried as pocket pieces, which makes higher-grade examples scarce today. They are a very popular type worth many thousands of dollars in most grades. As such, they have become a popular target for counterfeiters. Read more >

10. Great Britain 1917 Sovereign

Early 20th century British gold sovereigns are a very popular series. Collectors eagerly snap up these pieces, which usually carry a modest numismatic premium. The popularity of these issues has made them an attractive target for counterfeiters, and these fakes are often encountered by NGC graders. Read more >

11. Eritrea 1891 5 Lire

The Eritrean 5 Lire, also known as the Tallero, was produced only in 1891 and 1896. As a coin produced under Italian rule, it was quite well made. There are many collectors of Italian coins, so demand is also high, which has led to extensive counterfeiting of this issue. Read more >

12. Italy 1936R XIV 20 Lire

Only 10,000 Italy 1936R XIV 20 Lire were struck in order to celebrate the country’s conquest of Ethiopia. The issue is extremely popular with collectors who praise its beauty and classic design. However, the high demand from collectors has driven up prices and, therefore, interest from counterfeiters. Read more >

13. Great Britain 1887 5 Sovereign

The 1887 Great Britain 5 Sovereign is a one-year type coin with a mintage of a mere 54,000 pieces. This low mintage, along with the natural attrition of such an old gold coin, has made any example quite valuable. This has opened the door to counterfeiters looking to take advantage of collectors in search of an example for their collection. Read more >

14. Japan M8 (1875) Trade Dollar

Just over 3 million trade dollars were struck by Japan between 1875 and 1877. These coins had slightly more silver than the Yen coin circulating at the time, and were intended for circulation not only in Japan, but in Japanese-occupied Taiwan, Korea, and beyond. Due to their dispersion and wide circulation, they are hard to come by today in good condition, which has greatly increased their value. This has led to an increase in the number of fakes seen by NGC. Read more >

15. Turkey AH1327//4 500 Kurush

Although only 41,863 500 Kurush coins were struck in 1912, they are still available today for a small premium over melt value. However, many fakes have been struck in order to deceive collectors searching for an example for their collection. Read more >

16. Japan M10 (1877) Trade Dollar

This is the second Japanese Trade dollar on our list. Some 1.125 million trade dollars were struck in Japan in 1877. These pieces circulated throughout Asia, leading to a high attrition rate. This has driven up the values today, which has led to an increase in the number of fakes seen in recent years. Read more >

17. Canada 1913 $5

The Royal Canadian Mint struck 98,832 $5 gold pieces in 1913, which was the second year of issue for the series. Although the recent Bank of Canada hoard added some 30,000 $5 and $10 coins of the era to the numismatic marketplace, examples are still quite valuable today. Fakes of this issue have been seen in the marketplace for many years. Read more >

18. Russia 1897AT 7.5 Roubles

This is the second Russian gold coin on our list, and it also happens to be from 1897. Like the 1897 15 Roubles, which is number one on our list, this issue had a large mintage, with nearly 17 million pieces issued. It is a one-year type coin, making it quite sought out by collectors. This demand exceeds the supply, as most have been lost to melting. Counterfeiters have stepped in to the marketplace in an attempt to capitalize on this rarity. Read more >

19. Italy 1914R 5 Lire

This coin is a one-year issue with a mintage of only 273,000 pieces. The combination of low mintage and high demand has made it quite valuable in all grades. This value has made counterfeiting very common. Read more >

20. Japan M3 (1870) Yen

Over 3.6 million Japan Yen were struck in 1870. However, most went into use circulating in Japan and the surrounding regions. Many of those became worn or were chop-marked by merchants. This makes them quite rare today in any grade, but especially in Mint State grades. A buyer should be very wary of any uncertified pieces as counterfeits are plentiful. Read more >

21. Saudi Arabia (1947) Pound

These pieces have an extremely interesting history. While not technically considered coins, they were struck by the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia in order to satisfy the debts owed to Saudi Arabia’s Arabian American Oil Company, or ARAMCO. They weigh the exact same amount as the British gold sovereign, which was extremely popular at the time. This interesting history, along with a relatively simplistic design and high value, has made these pieces a popular target for counterfeiters. Read more >

22. Russia 1912EB Napoleon’s Defeat Rouble

This is the only silver Russian coin that made our list. It is an extremely rare type, with only 46,000 pieces originally struck. This low mintage has made the 1912EB Napoleon’s Defeat Rouble quite valuable today, which has of course attracted forgers. Read more >

23. Japan M9 (1876) Trade Dollar

This is the third Japanese Trade dollar on our list. Just over 1.5 million trade dollars were struck in Japan in 1876. Due to the wide circulation of these pieces, they are very hard to come by today, which has greatly increased their value. This has led to an increase in the number of fakes in recent years. Read more >

24. Great Britain 1893 5 Sovereign

A mere 20,000 Uncirculated and 773 Proof gold sovereigns were struck in 1893. Due to this low mintage, this coin is worth thousands of dollars in any grade. Of course, with high value comes a high chance of counterfeits, and NGC has seen its fair share, including this piece. Read more >

25. Great Britain 1818 Half Crown

Although nearly 3 million Half Crowns were struck in 1818, they are highly sought after today and command a large premium. This high numismatic premium has led to extensive counterfeiting. Read more >

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