Draped Bust Silver Dollar Counterfeit/Authentic Image Comparisons
If you have an 1804 dated, Draped Bust Silver Dollar, in your possession, and it doesn't have the word COPY stamped on it's surface than it's a counterfeit. An 1804 Draped Bust is the most desired silver dollar and has been studied extensively. This is what the Heritage Auction's commentary, in part, reads.
"Many American numismatic pieces, patterns and regular issues, are rarer than the 1804 silver dollar, with its population of 15 known specimens. Another issue, the 1933 double eagle, with an auction record in excess of $7 million, holds the title of most expensive, at least based on past sales. However, no other U.S. coin can ever be popularly accepted as the King of Coins. The 1804 silver dollar is clearly the most famous coin ever struck at a U.S. mint. Its rarity has been documented for more than 150 years.
Varieties and Production
The varieties of 1804 silver dollars are known as Class I, Class II, and Class III. The Class I pieces are sometimes called Originals, although that name is inaccurate, since they were struck in 1834 rather than 1804. The Class II and Class III pieces are sometimes called Restrikes, also an inaccurate name since there were technically no Originals.
A single obverse die and two reverse dies were created for all of the 1804 dollars, and it is virtually certain that the dies were all made at the same time, certainly no later than 1834. The dies were also produced by the same engraver. The two reverse dies have been designated as Reverse X and Reverse Y, following past literature on the subject.
The obverse die for the 1804 dollars was first used with reverse X in 1834 for the Class I pieces. Many years later, no earlier than 1857, it was used with Reverse Y for the Class II and Class III pieces. Meanwhile, obverse dies dated 1801, 1802, and 1803 were produced and used with Reverse X to coin the proof novodels of those dates. The exact time of production for the novodels is unknown.
A central device hub of the Draped Bust motif was used for each of the obverse dies, with individual numerals, letters, and stars entered inside a beaded border.
Reverse dies X and Y are both copies of the earlier Heraldic Eagle design used for the silver dollars of 1798 to 1803, but they are inexact copies. Both dies have identical Heraldic Eagle motifs from a hub punch that still existed after its earlier use for the silver dollars made in 1801, 1802, and 1803. The engraver added additional details from individual punches, including all of the letters, stars, berries, and berry stems. With hand-punching of the various elements, positional differences occurred between Reverse X and Reverse Y. The most important difference between the new reverse dies and the original dies of 1798 to 1803 is the border, now consisting of beads rather than pointed denticles.
Reverse X has the A in STATES positioned over the space between clouds 3 and 4, and the O in OF entirely over cloud 7. Reverse Y has the A in STATES centered over cloud 3, and the O in OF over the space between clouds 7 and 8. There are other differences, but those mentioned are sufficient for identification. Reverse X was used for the 1801, 1802, and 1803 proof novodels (sometimes called proof restrikes, which they are not), and also for the 1804 Class I dollars. Reverse Y was used for the 1804 Class II and Class III dollars.
Each of the dies was polished, as standard for proof production. Planchets were supplied, and they were also polished. Each of the Class I pieces struck before the new lower weight standard of 1837 should weigh 416 grains, and in fact, every one does--with one exception. The Parmelee specimen weighs 412 grains, close to the post-1837 standard, suggesting that it was the last of the 1804 Class I dollars minted. Some of the Class III pieces are actually on higher-weight planchets, adding to their mysterious origins. With the exception of the unique Class II piece that has a plain edge, all of the other 1804 dollars, Class I and Class III, have a lettered edge of the style used from 1794 to 1803.
The Class II and Class III pieces were all made no earlier than 1857, the date of the undertype on the unique Class II specimen. Some of the Class III pieces may have been made in the late 1850s, while others may have been made as late as the early 1870s.
Four of the six known Class III dollars were artificially worn, giving the appearance of coins long in circulation. This imbued the coins with a certain legitimacy in relation to the concocted stories of their discovery, intended to hide their true origins with persons closely tied to the Mint."
So, as you can see, they're very rare and all are in a collector's possession. Below I included a Heritage's lists of the 15 known examples.
"Registry of Known Specimens
The 15 known 1804 silver dollars include eight examples of Class I, one of Class II, and six of Class III. There are six 1804 silver dollars in museums and nine in private hands. A complete historical record is provided in Dave Bowers' book The Rare Silver Dollars Dated 1804 and the Exciting Adventures of Edmund Roberts. Like that in our Queller Family catalog last year, the current registry is abbreviated to include only the basic ownership information. We are indebted to P. Scott Rubin for his assistance, providing complete auction records for 50 different offerings since 1867.
Class I - The So-Called Originals
1. Sultan of Muscat Specimen.
2. King of Siam Specimen
3. Stickney Specimen
4. Dexter Specimen
5. Parmelee Specimen
6. Mickley Specimen
7. Mint Cabinet Specimen
Impaired Proof, per conventional wisdom. Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt; Mint Cabinet; National Numismatic Collection; Smithsonian Institution.
The 1804 is considered the "King" of silver dollars, and is rarely seen for sale at any market. The 1804 Draped bust Dollar is classified as different restrike proofs, and when one enters the market it creates a large "buzz" in the numismatic community and will sale for 2-3 million dollar or more. So, if a dealer or a person selling out of their "garage", flea market (any market), over-seas or online auction sites, has one for sale or many for sale, than it should be obvious the coin is not authentic.
The above image is an example of an 1796 "Small Eagle" Draped Bust Dollar, and it's obvious the coin is fake, however there's other indicators that the coin isn't authentic. One the obverse, the 6 in the date isn't the correct font and the letters and stars are a bit too large. On the reverse, the eagle's beak is opened, the S in STATES, is too far right, and the eagle isn't perched on anything, just to point out a few errors.
Each silver dollar type above was only minted during these years as shown, but you also must take note of what mint mark was used on each year, and never buy a year that has a mint mark not used for that year. In example, a 1921-CC Morgan Dollar never existed nor does an 1872 Trade Dollar. So know your types, know your dates for each type, and know the mints that minted the coin date for each year.