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1916-D Dime Attracts Coin Doctors and Counterfeiters
by Jaime Hernandez (PCGS)

We have all heard the phrase "if it's too good to be true, it probably is."

Unfortunately, coin doctors and coin counterfeiters are also very familiar with this phrase. So, what do they do? They just mark up the price of the coins which they altered or fabricated. This way, unsuspecting buyers believe the fake or altered coins are authentic since they are being sold at about the same price as authentic example.

Once these counterfeit coins get into collectors' hands, the first thing some of the collectors want to do is get their coins authenticated and encapsulated by PCGS. Then comes the most difficult part of our profession, which is when we have to bare the sad news to the collectors by letting them know their coins have been altered or even worse, they are fake. For this, we also have a phrase which is, "please don't shoot the messenger." We really dislike having to tell submitters that the coins they bought have been altered or they are fake.

One of the most notorious coins that attract coin doctors and counterfeiters is the 1916-D dime. The 1916-D dime is often altered or counterfeited because it commands a strong premium. The 1916-D dimes used four different reverse dies to strike the coins. Two of these four reverses also have re-punched mint marks which make it very helpful in determining authentic examples.

Here's how to determine an authentic 1916-D dime. The genuine mintmark on a 1916-D dime has a square-like appearance. The inside of the "D" is triangular in shape, and the serifs are strong and squared off. The mintmark is very well defined and sharply struck. Of the four reverse dies that were used, two show re-punching on the mintmark, leaving a notched effect in the upper left serif. The mintmarks that were not re-punched do not display the notched effect.

So remember if you are purchasing an expensive coin such as a 1916-D dime, make sure it is certified by PCGS as our graders are well aware of the differences between altered and authentic examples.


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