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An odd one


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I was informing one of my coworkers the other week of my interest in trading paper bills in exchange for any old change jars she happened to have, and a short discussion about coin collecting soon followed. She told me that back in the late '60s or early '70s she was working at a fast food joint, and one of her customers paid her with a really odd looking coin which seemed to be a half dollar of some sort. She traded for it, and later found out that it was a half dollar from the late 18th century. Extremely unlikely, but I suppose anything is possible, as evidenced by the brilliant individual who traded 10 Double Eagles for 10 $20 paper notes at a bank recently.


A few days ago, she got back to me and told me that she dug it out of her jewelry box a few days ago out of curiosity, and it was dated 1789. That immediately rules out any possibility of it being a genuine US half dollar, since production of those did not start until 1793. I looked through my old Red Book to see if she could have mistaken it for anything, but the only early coin I could find with that date is the "Mott Token"

Example: http://www.coinfacts.com/colonial_coins/mo..._thick_rev2.jpg


This one confuses me. Initially, I would think counterfeit, but it just doesn't make sense. Why would somebody forge a coin that clearly has an unacceptable date and then spend it? Forgeries intended for circulation would have been Franklin or Walking Liberty halves, and forgeries intended to fool collectors wouldn't have made such a careless error. She said she'd try to get a picture of it for me, which should clear some things up.


What's your take on it? Forgery? Token? Foreign?

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The Chinese have been known to make 1799 Peace Dollars and 1978 Morgan Dollars so anything is possible. If you do not know when the coins were made, it is likely you would just dream up a date to put on the coins. Then you call them "tributes" and hawk them on the TV just like the pros do with that stupid $5 coin dated 1929 that is being hawked on the boob tube all the time.

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