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US Continental Currency Replica 1776
Wow, Jason. It would be something if you have a genuine Continental Currency piece. These are worth tons of money. Our picture, of coure, is a replica, worth essentially zero. Note the word COPY tucked neatly away in one of the circles on the reverse.
NEVER CLEAN A COIN. CLEANING RUINS VALUE. Click to this CoinQuest page for an article about cleaning a fugio cent.
Here is what the Red Book, the definitive US coin catalog, says about your coin:
worn: $7,000 US dollars catalog value
average circulated: $21,000
well preserved: $50,000 and more
If you think you have a genuine coin, and not one of the many different counterfeits, there are several immediate steps you should take to establish, then preserve, the value of your coin. At a minimum, you must have your coin authenticated and graded by one of the following services: PCGS, NGC, ANACS, or ICG. Look them up on the Internet. Do not use other services.
The image below shows a genuine piece from the Professional Coin Grading Service. There are minimal differences in the patterns between the real and the fake. But the differences come in the overall appearance of the coins, the patina (the thin layer of coloring, coating, or corrosion that forms on a metal surface exposed to air and water), as well as the quality, depth, and sharpness of the strike. Use these factors to help you determine authenticity.
CoinQuest thanks PCGS for use of their coin photo. It is a beauty!
The second picture is a probable counterfeit sent to us by a lady named Denise. The word COPY is not found on this coin, but that does not mean it is genuine. There were mountains of copies made before the Hobby Protection Act took effect in 1970, which required the word COPY on reproductions. Nevertheless, the second picture is probably a fake. The word CURRENCY is spelled with one R, but that's ok. Variations in the original coin included a 'one-R' version. Ditto with the many other small variations. Fundametnally, you can not tell a real from a fake based on the details of the pattern.
The main problem with the second coin is its horrible surfaces. This is the best indication that the coin is not genuine.
In summary, there is no simple, sure-fire method to determine if your CC piece is real or reproduction. The chances of having a genuine piece are essentially zero compared to the changes of having a counterfeit. If you really want to know, and are willing to invest a small fee to find out, use one of the following coin authentication services: PGCS, NGC, ICG, or ANACS. Do not use other services. They are easily found on the Internet.