We Remember The Magic Caf We Remember
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Nothing up my sleeve... » » Distinguishing replicas from real Morgan dollars? (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

karnak
View Profile
Special user
Connecticut
666 Posts

Profile of karnak
For someone not too intimately familiar with all the subtle nuances of detail, and who therefore cannot — from a layman’s glance — reliably detect a well-made replica from the real thing (I understand some replicas are much better than others), is there a handy way of determining with reasonable certainty whether a given set of Morgans really are the genuine silver article, or merely finely crafted copies?

(On a related note, and out of curiosity, what are the currently popular made-for-magic replicas typically made of? Copper, clad with cupro-nickel, or plated with silver? Or something else?)
For a supernatural chiller mixing magic (prestidigitation, legerdemain) with Magic (occultism, mysticism), check out my novel MAGIC: AN OCCULT THRILLER at http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Occult-Thriller-Reed-Hall/dp/1453874836
DragonLore
View Profile
New user
Toronto
71 Posts

Profile of DragonLore
The sound two coins make is a quick and reliable test IMO.
tonsofquestions
View Profile
Inner circle
1397 Posts

Profile of tonsofquestions
There was a similar (ish) thread about this a few weeks ago, here: https://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/view......orum=202
Probably a useful read, though might not answer your question.

Ultimately, it's a trade off between what tools you'll have at your disposal, and how much you trust the seller. You're probably not trying to grade it for really high value (as a collector), so you don't need some of the most extreme techniques.

Weight and dimensions will give an indication, but only if you have precision tools (calipers, scale) on hand.
You can often tell from the sound, but you may not be able to touch it if it's in a case.
I find fake coins often look uncirculated, which means extremely worn ones are likely to be real. (But that's not a promise, and usefulness depends on personal preference.)
There are fancy devices that can tell you what a metal is based on thermal and electrical conductivity, but I suspect that's more than you need.

Price will probably be a good indicator as well - if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

As far as material, it really depends. Some are cheap metals (brass or copper) plated in something. You can't soften those. Some are more expensive/mixed alloys (Bluether calls their's "white copper", but I don't know much past the name) that are solid.
Typically they aren't plated in silver, since that would be a fair bit more expensive, and doesn't add much benefit, unless you're trying to fool a naive collector. but I'm sure it's not unheard of.
Samuel Catoe
View Profile
Inner circle
South Carolina
1267 Posts

Profile of Samuel Catoe
I would think that unless the replica is made from the same metal as the Morgan Dollars, there will be a definitive difference in the sound if you are using actual Morgans in the same routine or program. Silver coins have a distinct sound that is different from clad coins. If the coins used are all the same metal content, I feel that finely crafted replicas would be more difficult to be discovered.

Even for laymen, replicas sound different than Morgans or any other silver coins for that matter.
Author of Illusions of Influence, a treatise on Equivoque.
PM me for details and availability.
Michael Rubinstein
View Profile
V.I.P.
4378 Posts

Profile of Michael Rubinstein
Your best bet is to get them at a coin store or coin show, where you can see a bunch of them
At the coin shows, look for the junk silver, but get there early because a lot of people want those (not just magicians but people who want them for their silver content only).
RUBINSTEIN COIN MAGIC SPECIAL:
I HAVE A LIMITED AMOUNT OF COPIES AVAILABLE TO BE SIGNED, AND COME WITH A SPECIAL FREE GIFT! If interested, shoot me an email for ordering information at rubinsteindvm@aol.com
inigmntoya
View Profile
Inner circle
DC area native, now in Atlanta
2203 Posts

Profile of inigmntoya
Quote:
On Apr 14, 2022, karnak wrote:
.... is there a handy way of determining with reasonable certainty whether a given set of Morgans really are the genuine silver article, or merely finely crafted copies?


Weigh them. Silver is heavier than most of the metals used to make replicas. Below, four coins of each type stacked on the scale.
Note:this is a food scale, accurate to maybe a gram give or take, but more than enough to see these differences.

Soft / worn silver, 104g
Unworn uncirculated should weigh a little more. Wikipedia says they weigh 26.73g each or 106.92 for four:

Image


Pristine "White copper" / cupro-nickel 97g:

Image


Pristine Steel 70g:

Image
inigmntoya
View Profile
Inner circle
DC area native, now in Atlanta
2203 Posts

Profile of inigmntoya
Quote:
On Apr 14, 2022, karnak wrote:
(On a related note, and out of curiosity, what are the currently popular made-for-magic replicas typically made of? Copper, clad with cupro-nickel, or plated with silver? Or something else?)


The best ones (from Bluether) are cupro nickel (see my post above). They're the same metal all the way through so retain the silver color.

The steel ones in my post have good details but can corrode easily. On the up-side they stick to magnets REALLY well.

Not shown, and possibly the most common and cheapest - brass plated with some silver color metal that wears off easily allowing the brass color to show through. A lot of these are poor replicas too, without detail in the hair and either a can-opener nose or Roman statue nose. Examples of the wonky details:

http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0554/17......1024.jpg

http://us02-imgcdn.ymcart.com/29748/2020......acd0.jpg

https://ae01.alicdn.com/kf/H77e03259bec6......0Q90.jpg
inigmntoya
View Profile
Inner circle
DC area native, now in Atlanta
2203 Posts

Profile of inigmntoya
Here's a sound check.
Balance a coin on your fingertip and strike the rim with another coin to make it "ring".
First is silver, 2nd cupro-nickel, 3rd is steel.

(be sure sound is enabled)

https://i.imgur.com/mA16i2d.mp4
tonsofquestions
View Profile
Inner circle
1397 Posts

Profile of tonsofquestions
Thanks for those, inigmntoya. It gives some good reference points to the same tells that I suggested.
Mb217
View Profile
Inner circle
9128 Posts

Profile of Mb217
Lots of good technical info here, but mostly glad that specs don’t seem to care or to spend the time to know of any difference in any of it beyond the magic. 😊
*Check out my latest: Gifts From The Old Country: A Mini-Magic Book, MBs Mini-Lecture on Coin Magic, The MB Tanspo PLUS, MB's Morgan, Copper Silver INC, Double Trouble, FlySki, Crimp Change - REDUX!, and other fine magic at gumroad.com/mb217magic Smile


"Believe in YOU, and you will see the greatest magic that ever was." -Mb Smile
Degio
View Profile
Regular user
It took me years to get to
151 Posts

Profile of Degio
Quote:
On May 1, 2022, inigmntoya wrote:
The best ones (from Bluether) are cupro nickel (see my post above). They're the same metal all the way through so retain the silver color.

Cupronickel is actually quite yellowish. It's an alloy of copper and nickel and it is normally plated in order to have a bright silver finish.
I have a feeling that Bluether is using "white copper" which is an alloy of copper, zinc and nickel and appears like silver (so does not need to be plated).
tonsofquestions
View Profile
Inner circle
1397 Posts

Profile of tonsofquestions
Good catch, yes. The Bluether coins use white copper - I remember seeing that in one of their marketing materials.
inigmntoya
View Profile
Inner circle
DC area native, now in Atlanta
2203 Posts

Profile of inigmntoya
Searching Wikipedia for "white copper" redirects to cupro-nickel.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cupronickel

"Despite its high copper content, cupronickel is silver in colour."

Another link indicating cupro-nickel is silver/white in color:

https://alloy.wiki/cupronickel/

And another equating the two terms:
https://www.chemeurope.com/en/encyclopedia/Cupronickel.html

Is there a link / reference saying one is yellow in color or that they're distinct from one another?
Degio
View Profile
Regular user
It took me years to get to
151 Posts

Profile of Degio
It probably depends on the relative % of copper and nickel.
The cupronickel coins I encountered were yellowish but I cannot exclude there are others more silvery.
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cupronickel
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/white_copper
Degio
View Profile
Regular user
It took me years to get to
151 Posts

Profile of Degio
An interesting article talking about the different % of copper and nickel in coins:
https://www.nytimes.com/1991/06/23/news/coins.html
Indeed, in the article "white copper" is used interchangeably as cupronickel.
inigmntoya
View Profile
Inner circle
DC area native, now in Atlanta
2203 Posts

Profile of inigmntoya
Quote:
On May 3, 2022, Degio wrote:
An interesting article talking about the different % of copper and nickel in coins:
https://www.nytimes.com/1991/06/23/news/coins.html
Indeed, in the article "white copper" is used interchangeably as cupronickel.


Thanks. Unfortunately the NYT article is stuck behind their pay wall, but I found this page that also discusses the percent of nickel needed to get the silver color in the alloy.

https://www.gammafoundries.com/alloys/copper-nickel-alloys

"Nickel has an observable effect on the color of Cu-Ni alloys. When nickel is added, the copper color grows lighter. On the other hand, alloys nearly turn silvery-white when about 15% of nickel is added. The clarity and purity of the color increase with nickel content; from about 40% nickel, a polished surface is difficult to be identified from that of silver."
Degio
View Profile
Regular user
It took me years to get to
151 Posts

Profile of Degio
Gosh... I was able to read the article once, then I was hit by the paywall too!
Anyway... thanks inigmntoya: I think we all agree that "white copper" is just cupronickel with more nickel (and maybe a bit of zinc too).

Back to the original subject: I found in the past a Morgan replica (made in cupronickel and silver plated) with exactly the same weight of a regular Morgan dollar.
To achieve that, they made the coin thicker!
Devilish...
Koolmagic114
View Profile
Veteran user
391 Posts

Profile of Koolmagic114
Certainly weighing the coins as shown above is a good way..

But bottom line (and I am one who does sell replicas) If a deal is a "good dealer" he should be very upfront with you that you are buying a replica and be able to give you as much or all the information about the coin you are buying.
Eddy

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Co-Creator of "TAGZ" / "Iced Over" / " TelePad" / "Penigma"
www.magicianslair.com
Dr.Brown,dc
View Profile
New user
9 Posts

Profile of Dr.Brown,dc
I took my coins to a coin dealer. The tests that they did had them convinced they were "real", until they weighed them. Off by a few grams.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Nothing up my sleeve... » » Distinguishing replicas from real Morgan dollars? (4 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2022 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.05 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL