Monday, December 11, 2023

Types of Counterfeit: Spark Erosion Counterfeits

Types of Counterfeit Coins

Counterfeiters have employed a variety of methods to create forgeries or alterations. These methods, as well as the varied skill levels of the counterfeiters, have resulted in spurious pieces that range widely from very crude to extremely deceptive. A comprehensive understanding of the different methods used to make forgeries or alterations can help a numismatist identify these counterfeits. 

Spark Erosion Counterfeits

These are interesting fakes that usually attempt to replicate smaller denominations, most often ones that are made of copper. Spark erosion counterfeits are created by submerging a genuine coin in an electrolytic bath with the coin placed close to the die. Electricity is then passed through the coin and a spark jumps from the coin to what will become the die, etching the coin’s design into the surface. Once complete, the dies are heavily polished to remove the pitting this counterfeiting method typically leaves. The polishing process cannot remove the pitting from the recesses of the die, however, and, as a result, the raised elements of the counterfeits have a granular appearance. 

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