Experts at the Society of Private and Pioneer Numismatists (SPPN) meeting settle four decades of uncertainty
A panel of leading numismatists determined the questionable 1853 United States Assay Office of Gold $20 proof, prooflike, and similar coins to be forgeries produced from transfer dies.
The panel's discussion was the main program at the annual meeting of the Society of Private and Pioneer Numismatists held in Baltimore, Maryland Saturday, August 2nd, 2008 as part of the American Numismatic Association's World Fair of Money.
The Transfer Die Forgeries first appeared during the late 1950's, "discovered" by Paul Franklin through a bank teller in Arizona. Franklin and John J. Ford Jr. sold hundreds of these pieces throughout the 1960's as genuine pieces struck in San Francisco by the U.S. Assay Office in 1853.
A $5,000 finder's fee reward is being offered by Kagin's, Inc. of Tiburon, California for confirmation of the second known gold coin counter-stamped with the genuine hallmark of Baltimore silversmith, Standish Barry.
The only coin now known with the hallmark is the unique 1735 imitation Lima 8 escudos that was found in the collection of legendary Baltimore banker, Louis E. Eliasberg Sr.
Announcement of the finder's reward was made by Donald H. Kagin, Ph.D., President of Kagin's, when he displayed the counter-stamped doubloon at the American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money convention.