Counterfeit Presidential Dollar Coins? No Verdict Yet.


Presidential $1 Proof Coins for 2007The verdict isn’t in on whether counterfeit coins were used earlier this month at a local McDonald’s restaurant in Macomb, Illinois.

The boy who used them was given the four Presidential $1 Coins as a gift from his grandparents. They were special proof versions, which are made for collectors, and have a current value of at least $14.95.

Proofs usually make ideal gifts for many children due to each coin’s mirror-like shine and unmatched detail. The boy, however, was apparently less intrigued and decided to spend them.

The unfolding of the 2007 Presidential Dollar counterfeit story

As the story goes, the boy used the coins at a McDonald’s restaurant, they were later taken to a bank, and it was there where suspicions arose to their authenticity.

When the story first broke by the Peoria Journal Star, initial speculation by readers and blogs penned interesting comments about those involved with the case, suggesting they:

  • Simply didn’t know what a proof coin was
  • Didn’t realize they were legal tender, and could be used
  • And/or, had little knowledge of the new Presidential Dollar – coins that already have mintage productions in the hundreds of millions, but many still haven’t seen in daily circulation

The details of the case were few and based on them, some rightly questioned the knowledge level of the bank who reported the coins, the police who opened the investigation and the Peoria Journal Star in how they reported it all.

More details about the Presidential $1 Coins that lead to suspician

When further details were made public, better understanding of the case came to light.

In short summation, the coins apparently aren’t of the same normal proof quality and they bear other details not typical of the new presidential dollars coins.

According to a follow-up story by the Peoria Journal Star and their reporting of a detective’s summation of coin collectors who saw the coins,

The collectors questioned the spacing of lettering on the side of the coins, burs on slash marks in between the lettering on the sides and the amount of copper showing through. Also, the frosted images were different than other proofs.

Within days, the police detective referred the case to the U.S. Secret Service.

Sorting it all out, and a link to reader comments from the Peoria Journal Star

Even if the coins are counterfeit, as unlikely as it would seem given the time and expense of trying to replicate modern-day coinage, you would expect the Secret Service to have higher threats to investigate. This case likely won’t get the "closed stamp" any time soon.

Recommended reading, based on the published reader comments alone, is the Peoria Journal Star’s article, Talking Point: Collectors put in their two cents on Macomb’s ‘counterfeit’ coin flap.

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Dennis Mason

I found what I’m sure is a counterfeit George Washington Dollar coins in a roll I received from the bank to day. It is the right diameter color & &thickness, but everything else is wrong about the coin! I was sure I had found a rear mint error specimen since it doesn’t have any edge lettering. But under closer examination under magnification, I determine it has to be a counterfeit even though my 1st thought was, any counterfeit would cost more to make than profit from, as was already pointed out. I am an very experienced Numismatic that has been… Read more »

Carol Deans

Am very interested in more details on the characteristics of the Washington dollar coin you deemed counterfeit. I too recently came upon one that looks like none of the others. It also has no edge lettering and according to what I’ve researched thus far it would be from Denver mint. The edge has a gold tone rather than copper. George seems bigger and fuller than the coins I’ve compared it too. I’m assuming I’m also seeing the sunburst pattern on both sides. Liberty is also out of proportion. Can’t really explain it.

Carol Deans

I found a Washington dollar coin with no edge lettering and what appears to be starburst effects on both sides. The Washington and the Liberty both seem to be doubled, causing distortion in their apperances when compared to other Washington dollars. I’m trying to figure out what I’m seeing here.