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Heads, It's a 1796 Dollar; Tails, It's a Skid Row Slug


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Heads, It's a 1796 Dollar; Tails, It's a Skid Row Slug


(From Los Angeles Times, October 13, 2006)


The LAPD confiscates what may be rare coins that are cropping up among the homeless.


It wasn't exactly the kind of transaction a police officer walking the beat on skid row is used to seeing.


Patrolling 5th Street on Sunday afternoon, Los Angeles police Capt. Andrew Smith noticed two men on the sidewalk selling small, shiny items.


For $20 each, the men were offering 24 silver dollars from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries — some bearing dates that would make them nearly as old as Los Angeles itself.


The 1796 and 1799 coins portray Lady Liberty with a draped bust and are emblazoned with stars and the word "Liberty." Silver dollars from 1840 and 1873 show Lady Liberty seated. Some of the coins appeared to differ from images on coin collection websites. For example, the 1796 coin has 13 stars while images found online have 15. An 1871 coin appeared to have a design that a website said was first used in 1873.


Coin experts said the 18th-century coins would be by far the most valuable of the batch if they are authentic.





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'Old' Coins of Skid Row Are Fakes, Experts Say


The coins found in downtown Los Angeles have details wrong. And they aren't made of silver, an authority says.


"It's a great joke played on us by the Lord, or fate, or nature, whatever you prefer. But whoever or whatever played it certainly had a sense of humor!"

"The Treasure of the Sierra Madre"


The treasure of skid row didn't turn out much better than the 1948 classic movie about star-crossed treasure hunters.


The scores of rare silver dollars found around skid row over the last few months looked so weathered and real to beat officers.


But one look by experts Friday found them to be fakes, and not even good ones.


"These are such bad counterfeits, it may not be correct to call them counterfeits," said Fred Weinberg, a former president of the Professional Numismatists Guild, the coin industry's professional association.


"The easiest way to tell is to put a magnet over these coins," Pereira said. "It will pick them up, and so obviously they aren't silver."


Don Ketterling, another coin expert, said that technically, fake coins are not legal and could be seized by the U.S. Secret Service. He said he saw obvious flaws in some of the coins in photographs published by The Times, including a Washington quarter with an incorrect date.





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I was going to say... from the small pictures provided.. the coins are clear fakes.. I have seen these popping up at flea markets for between $5-$10 apeice....and at the shop I see them quite often... from seated and bust dollars...to trade dollars and chineese dragons... be on the lookout for these.

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