I read your title as what the hell too!!
I have been spending a lot of time recently with my Chinese
and Vietnamese cash
coins, which include a lot of contemporary counterfeits
, unofficial issues, etc. When it comes
to Vietnamese cash
in particular, 3rd or even 4th generation casts (casts of casts of casts) are common and of course even the original issue coins were cast
The point is I have recently been looking at hundreds of cast coins
and it helps to exercise the eye when it comes
to trying to spot casts of struck coins.
Coin #1 just screams cast
to me. The muddiness of the reverse
lettering in particular. This is subtly different from natural wear. The blob where the exergue
should be is an even better clue as it is clearly not wear. It is a blob formed from poor
casting - perhaps a poorly formed "negative" in a sand mold.
Coin #2 is better. The horizontal line at the top of the reverse
could at first glance be taken for a die crack
. However the mint mark
blobby enough to set off alarm bells and cause the close examination which would highlight more issues re lettering.
Coin #3 is even better in that it appears to be in poorer condition and the lettering looks more worn than the result of poor
casting. It might have received post-casting abrasion to wear it down. I would have bought this coin if it was cheap
. But knowing it was rare
, and being the suspicious type
, I would look further and be concerned about a blob in the mint mark
. While the whole mint mark
is no longer a single blob (maybe it was tooled
) there is still
metal present where there shouldn't be - between mint mark
letters. This metal does not look like corrosion or adhesion product but looks like what it is - a casting flaw.
Coin #4 is very convincing. If not original then it is a high quality cast
made by someone with skill. Concerning - and only an issue if checked very carefully before a big purchase - is the small dot/blob behind the head
and the slight mess at the modius
of right hand figure / adjacent letter. These would have to be a) casting flaws, b) die damage, or c) an early adhesion product that then gained the same patina
as the rest of the coin. I agree that a true thin hard black patina
may be very difficult or impossible to create, but you can't tell from a photo that it is such a true har patina
- could be a good
paint job till you get it in hand.
Coin #5 is also very convincing, at least as a photo. The thick yellow-green patina
is clever if this is a fake as it hides casting muddiness. Likewise the deep scratches could hide casting flaws. When i blow the photo up though I do see indications of porosity
- lots of possible tiny casting bubbles. However, the poor
condition and remaining patina
might make you think it received harsh treatment - either in the ground or at the hands
- and dismiss the concerns. Would likely need this in hand to be sure.