Counterfeit Coin Maker?

lupaglupa

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Location
Upstate New York
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A recent trip South allowed me to photograph some item's from a family member's curio cabinet. All of these were collected by my great-uncle, mostly during the 20s and 30s in the South. One fascinating item is here - what my aunt says is a counterfeit coin maker used during the Civil War.

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This tool is heavy and at least partly hand made. The top round section has two faces, one for each side.

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Here is one face, with a profile and date.

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The other face has a V (for Victory?), a laurel wreath, and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA backwards.

Any clues as to when this might have been made? I'm adding one more photo below in case it helps.

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"Similarly during the period of counterfeiting the fives, the Liberty Head nickel was also minted from 1883-1913. This particular Liberty Head nickel is the 1883 'No Cents' variety..."

"Due to public complaint of people not knowing the new coin was for five cents, Charles Barber [the designer of the coin] had to make another version to include 'cents' below the Roman numeral 'V.' (It seems some enterprising, nefarious souls coated the new five cent coins in gold and passed them as $5 coins.) This version was early in the life of the new coin and does not have the 'cents' on the reverse."

Counterfeiting the Five

http://atlcoin.com/atlcoinblog/2011/03/08/counterfeiting-the-five/
 
A recent trip South allowed me to photograph some item's from a family member's curio cabinet. All of these were collected by my great-uncle, mostly during the 20s and 30s in the South. One fascinating item is here - what my aunt says is a counterfeit coin maker used during the Civil War.



This tool is heavy and at least partly hand made. The top round section has two faces, one for each side.



Here is one face, with a profile and date.



The other face has a V (for Victory?), a laurel wreath, and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA backwards.

Any clues as to when this might have been made? I'm adding one more photo below in case it helps.
What an unusual item! One thing that strikes me (no pun intended) about it is that it appears to be designed for unaided hand operation. I think coins and medals were usually stamped with two-man screw presses or (later) power presses. So this seems to be designed for a relatively soft metal. In any event, I'd love to know what this is.
 
I'm guessing the die might be illeagal

Ruh roh!

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/487

18 U.S. Code § 487 - Making or possessing counterfeit dies for coins​


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Whoever, without lawful authority, makes any die, hub, or mold, or any part thereof, either of steel or plaster, or any other substance, in likeness or similitude, as to the design or the inscription thereon, of any die, hub, or mold designated for the coining or making of any of the genuine gold, silver, nickel, bronze, copper, or other coins coined at the mints of the United States; or
Whoever, without lawful authority, possesses any such die, hub, or mold, or any part thereof, or permits the same to be used for or in aid of the counterfeiting of any such coins of the United States—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than fifteen years, or both.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 709; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(K), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)
 
I don't think its that big a deal.
I agree. Key phrase in the possession of counterfeit coins statute is "with intent to defraud any body politic or corporate, or any person, or attempts the commission of any offense described in this paragraph." I would have to believe that it also would apply to a 19th century very collectable counterfeit coin mold.

18 U.S. Code § 485 - Coins or bars​


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Whoever falsely makes, forges, or counterfeits any coin or bar in resemblance or similitude of any coin of a denomination higher than 5 cents or any gold or silver bar coined or stamped at any mint or assay office of the United States, or in resemblance or similitude of any foreign gold or silver coin current in the United States or in actual use and circulation as money within the United States; or
Whoever passes, utters, publishes, sells, possesses, or brings into the United States any false, forged, or counterfeit coin or bar, knowing the same to be false, forged, or counterfeit, with intent to defraud any body politic or corporate, or any person, or attempts the commission of any offense described in this paragraph—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than fifteen years, or both.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 708; Pub. L. 89–81, title II, § 211(a), July 23, 1965, 79 Stat. 257; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(K), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)
 

lupaglupa

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Location
Upstate New York
@JOHN42768 suggested that I look on EBay for info on a different item so, while there, I looked for things similar to this. Nada. Which left me wondering - would it be legal to sell this? The family isn't looking to but I'm curious. Obviously making coins with this would be illegal....
 

John Hartwell

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Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Location
Central Massachusetts
What an unusual item! One thing that strikes me (no pun intended) about it is that it appears to be designed for unaided hand operation. I think coins and medals were usually stamped with two-man screw presses or (later) power presses. So this seems to be designed for a relatively soft metal. In any event, I'd love to know what this is.
This is a coin mold, not a striking die. See the funnel-groove cut in the top edge, for pouring probably lead mixed with a little
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tin to harden it. Then a nice gold wash, & you've made yourself $5 for maybe 3 cents worth of materials and a little work.
Easy money! Just don't try to pay your taxes with it.
 
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This is a coin mold, not a striking die. See the funnel-groove cut in the top edge, for pouring probably lead mixed with a little
tin to harden it. Then a nice gold wash, & you've made yourself $5 for maybe 3 cents worth of materials and a little work.
Easy money!
Ah! That makes so much sense. Thank you for dispelling the fog.
 
This is a coin mold, not a striking die. See the funnel-groove cut in the top edge, for pouring probably lead mixed with a little
tin to harden it. Then a nice gold wash, & you've made yourself $5 for maybe 3 cents worth of materials and a little work.
Easy money! Just don't try to pay your taxes with it.

Whoever, without lawful authority, makes any die, hub, or mold, or any part thereof, either of steel or plaster, or any other substance, in likeness or similitude, as to the design or the inscription thereon, of any die, hub, or mold designated for the coining or making of any of the genuine gold, silver, nickel, bronze, copper, or other coins coined at the mints of the United States; or
Whoever, without lawful authority, possesses any such die, hub, or mold, or any part thereof, or permits the same to be used for or in aid of the counterfeiting of any such coins of the United States—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than fifteen years, or both.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 709; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(K), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)
 
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