Counterfeit Coin Maker?

Rex Felton

Cadet
Joined
May 29, 2021
Location
28 June
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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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Otis a United States 5 cent which was the size of $5 gold pieces, real legal 5 cents coins were faced by dipping in liquid gold and the gold was worth about 25 cents. Nice return $4.70. This looks as it used silver or copper Flats to mint a V Cents into V $. What a great return after washing the large $5 coins into $4 at least.
 

Story

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Location
SE PA
Curiosity sent me a-googlin', found this from the Smithsonian -

According to one tall tale, the racketeer nickel was developed after the U.S. mint issued the Liberty nickel in 1883. On one side it had the head of Liberty. On the obverse, it simply had the Roman numeral V and nowhere did it spell out its value as 5 cents. As it so happened, the nickel was close in size to the $5 gold piece, which had a similar design. So, as the story goes, a man named Josh Tatum began gold-plating the nickels and passing them off as $5 gold coins, for instance buying a 5-cent cigar then placing the coin on the counter and getting $4.95 in change. When he was finally caught, he was exonerated since he was unable to speak, and thus never actually misrepresented the currency.

*

Griffith reports that U.S. Treasury officials publicly scoffed at the idea that the coins could ever be used for counterfeiting, but that was probably just a smoke screen. Coin Trackers reports that they wised up and began printing the word “Cents” on the back of the coins starting in 1884. The nickel was produced until 1913 when it was replaced by the buffalo nickel.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/brief-history-racketeer-nickel-180961066/
 

Rex Felton

Cadet
Joined
May 29, 2021
Location
28 June
That is the story as I read in a numismatic magazine, probably Coin World. I had forgotten that the mobster caught was released due to his being mute and his lawyer proved that he never misrepresented the V Coin was $5 in gold. I have seen Coin dealers with the V Coins in their inventory but I collected Civil War postal history of stamps and envelopes (called covers). This really increased my knowledge of the Civil War. I liked and collected Confederate Essays which were designs stamps but for whatever purpose were never utilized by the stamps as legal Confederate stamps. Interesting fact,: the CSA government was not able to provide legal government stamps until roughly October of 1861. At first the United States continued using Federal stamps and post offices and postal routes until an agreement to have the Confederate take over the postal delivery on June 1, 1861. So the enemies delivered mail from Secession and the firing upon Fort Sumter in April. The Confederate Postal Department was authoring each Post Master to use "whatever means they could provide" to indicate postage was paid or due. Soldiers were allowed to mail there items postage due. The Post Masters either returned to hand stamping or actually printing their own stamps called Post Master Provisioners. Rare, precious, beautiful, and very expensive.

I never got into Confederate currency or coinage but I did acquire over about 25 years several examples of pre Civil War and 1861 gold coins minted in Charlotte North Carolina and Dalahgana Georgia.
 
I never got into Confederate currency or coinage but I did acquire over about 25 years several examples of pre Civil War and 1861 gold coins minted in Charlotte North Carolina and Dalahgana Georgia.

John C. Calhoun owned a number of gold mines in the Dahlonega, Georgia area that were worked by his slaves with the gold being sold to the United States Mint at Dahlonega.
 
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