Fake Gold Coins
Part of our virtual black museum of interesting fakes forgeries and counterfeit coins, displayed here as part of the educational and information sections of our websites.
1879 Victoria Young Head Fake Fantasy Double Sovereign
We illustrate and discuss forgeries of gold coins, including an 1879 Victoria Young Head double sovereign or two pound piece, to help collectors & investors be alert.
Fakes abound in gold coins. There is obviously more profit and more reason to produce counterfeit gold coins than base metal ones.
We discuss and illustrate fake British and other gold coins, mainly as a guide to identifying and avoiding them.
Seen First on eBay
The first of these fakes we noticed was on eBay. A Cheshire based "dealer" with the eBay username "trafalgar-bay" was offering it as "EXT RARE VICTORIA YOUNG HEAD TWO POUND PIECE 1879. TOTALLY UNRECORDED IN ANY CATALOGUE- UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY".
We had noticed other dodgy listings from this same person, and decided to name and shame him (eBay ID only), and share our views of his offerings. We do not know the actual identity of the individual as eBay makes it very easy for crooks and fraudsters to remain anonymous, and we doubt that this particular idiot will volunteer to identify himself to us.
Oversize Sovereign Copy
The "coin" appears to be a farily crude copy of an 1879 Victoria Young Head Melbourne Mint Sovereign, which you can see on our "Gold Sovereigns" website.
We can only conjecture why the forger created a fantasy piece like this. Perhaps it was with the relatively innocent intention to create an affordable and decorative "jewellery piece", without breaking the law. The fact that no Victoria Young Head gold two pounds was ever issued, or any gold two pound dated 1879, may be a sufficient legal defence to protect the issuer to avoid prosecution for forgery. This is a view with which we have a strong sympathy. Somebody would have to be particularly stupid or optimistic to believe that these pieces were real original Royal Mint (Melbourne Branch) issues. A glance in any relevant coin catalogue would show up its absence, and the crude lack of detailed engraving, and the amateurish look should alert anybody with as little as half a brain to the likelyhood that this is not a genuine coin.
The fact that one eBay vendor was happy to demonstrate his ignorance by describe it as a rare pattern, and the fact the numerous bidders were prepared to pay a substantial premium above its gold content, only serves to highlight the dishonesty of eBay sellers, and the stupidity of eBay buyers, a dangerous combination.
Guess the Date
Being an "expert" also has its own dangers. Having seen one of these on eBay, when one was offered to us, the author, Lawrence Chard, on seeing the obverse, immemdiately played "guess the date", and was correct. I can also guess the date of George V first type pennies (1911 to 1926) correctly better than 1 in 17 as would be expected, and can usually achieve about 1 in 4 or better. I have not yet devoted the time to studying exactly how I am able to do this, apart from "years of experience" as I used to say when I was 16.
You may wonder where the danger lies. There were three of these pieces in one lot we were offered, and I proceeded to play my usual guess the date game. Twice I was correct, but on the third occasion I was wrong! One of the Victoria Young Head double sovereigns was dated 1905, a full four years after Victoria's death. A 1905 British coins would feature the portrait of Edward VII. Such anachronistic coins turn up sporadically, and are quite amusing. Some anachronisms are more subtle than others. We often see, for example, fake 1918 London Mint sovereigns. The London Mint did not produce any sovereigns between 1917 and 1925 exclusive.
More to Follow
We intend to add to, and link to, this page, with details of more fakes when we have time.
Obverse of Fake 1879 Victoria Young Head Double Sovereign
Reverse of Fake 1879 Victoria Young Head Double Sovereign