July 17, 2015

Switzerland, 1897

If the republished article was correct with the Swiss Scrap rate, the metal merchants offered (Bid) only 50% of the US/global market rate.

1897: 1 Ozt. Platinum (Paris: Ingot, Mkt) = Fr 62.21 (USD$ 12.16) 

Mid-1897?: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (Semi-Mfg, Retail) = USD$ 15.55
Apparently, Scrap Bid was half-retail.  To dealers, the counterfeit FFr 20 (assumed 6.45 g.) was worth SFr 8. (USD$ 1.542), or about USD$ 7.75.

1897: 1 Ozt. Platinum (Geneve: Scrap Bid, Mkt) = Fr 38.60 (USD$ 7.45)

1897: 1 Ozt. Platinum (Geneve: Scrap Bid, Mkt) = Fr 38.57 (USD$ 7.96)

Where a true mint state FFr 20. (Napoleon III, 1866A and anchor : cf. Fr.584; cf. KM.801.1) should weigh 6.451 g, a true example worn to this grade might weigh 6.43 g.  This slightly crude counterfeit in Platinum weighs 6.69 g, implying the uncirculated counterfeit originally weighed 6.80 g., 3.97% overweight.


See France, 1890.

c.1893 the French press reported that each spurious Fr 20 netted the counterfeiter Fr. 6; however, the coins had been produced in the 1860-70s yet the total 'first cost' (tools, materials, labor AND secondary/tertiary expenses of the criminal enterprise) is unknown, assumed to be Fr 14.

"Ces pièces reviendraient à 6 francs chacune aux faux monnayeurs qui les mettent en circulation." 
Scrap metal dealers reportedly paid Fr. 8 for 6.45 g;

Counterfeit Fr. 20 coins, first.  Most common are gold-plated Platinum; they are very well-struck; they have the legal weight to about two milligrams; it is not by weighing one can distinguish them. There are even some in the gold {treasury} of the Banque de France. They show the portrait of Napoleon III, various years, uncrowned before 1860, crowned from 1860 to 1870. There are also, but in smaller numbers, with the effigy of the Republic, the years 1873, 1874, 1875 and 1876. 

Here what signs we can ensure that they are false:

Uncrowned Coins. - The sound resembles Silver, clearer and brighter than true coin. On the edge, the words "Dieu protège la France" are almost illegible; the characters are hackly.  The {Obverse} effigy lacks relief; the hair-parting forms an overly accentuated bar, the face is too full, the ear too crushed, the goatee raised in point instead of falling right.  The letters of the epigraph are smaller.  On the Reverse, the characters "20 FR" are too big and weapons are too flat.

Crowned Coins. - The Emperor's head is shorter; the laurels are thicker. Same defects as the former.

Coins of the Republic. - On the Obverse, right leg of the Génie seems broken and presents a slight break in continuity.

We must keep close watch on the whole to collect all these irregularities. The weak point of this counterfeit lies entirely in the gold plate cladding the Platinum. This layer wears off from the first friction and shows the white color of the Platinum on the high points of the edge. The edge - so that's what must be examined - and the letters of the edge. These Platinum counterfeit Fr. 20 coins are, of course, cut at the counters of large administrations. Metal dealers then buy them for Frcs 8.  There are also Fr 20 coins with a copper core but so well imitated that one cannot recognize them at first sight. It is their weight that betrays them: they are a third lighter than those that are good; finally, they have a strange sound.  As for the counterfeit  Fr. 10 coins, they have the same features as those of Fr. 20. But they are far less numerous, because their first-cost does not leave sufficient profit - and the risks are the same.

Citation: Revue suisse de numismatique, Vol. 7 (1898) p.417