VDI's on Dug Large Coppers

VDI 83 1845 large cent provided for reference. Coin shows little wear, and should clean up nicely when the surface dirt is removed. Point is to show weight loss of 6% even with minor wear.
Large Cent
weight (g) ref/act/loss:
10.89/10.20/6.39%
dug 6/28/09, loc C
VDI 78 1826 half cent. Hopefully will be able to get the caked-on dirt off this one as well. For comparison with following.
Half Cent
weight (g) ref/act/loss:
5.44/5.00/8.09%
dug 6/28/09, loc C
VDI 76 Another 1826 half cent. Great for providing reference to the above. VDI never rang above 77 in testing, where the above did touch 80. So we'll call about 2 points of VDI loss from the wear and tear. Note 17% weight loss off the reference for the worn coin.
Half Cent
weight (g) ref/act/loss:
5.44/4.48/17.65%
dug 4/16/09, loc B
VDI 61 This coin seems likely a period counterfeit. One would expect a VDI of around 80 for a pure copper. Debasing the coinage with base metal alloys was a common counterfeiting technique, and the low VDI seems to give it away. Weight loss seems consistent with wear and tear (or intentional faking of a worn coin, also a common practice).
George II Copper
weight (g) ref/act/loss:
9.96/7.66/23.09%
dug 3/30/09, loc A'
VDI 61 This copper has no identifiable markings. Like the previous one, VDI indicates counterfeit base metal alloy. Given its weight, I would expect to see something on it. Perhaps it was blank all along. I have some pretty worn coppers, but none purely flat like this. Who knows?
Unknown Copper
weight (g) ref/act/loss:
9.96/8.22/17.47%
dug 04/09, loc A
VDI 77 Consistent with 1787 "Britannia" Vermont copper, VDI strikes me as a touch low, but consistent with mostly pure to pure copper, possibly reflecting wear and tear. Rang as 86-88 in the field. As I understand it, colonial mints had little quality control over their source copper.
Vermont Copper
weight (g) ref/act/loss:
--/7.07/--
dug 6/08/09, loc A
VDI 83 Consistent with a CT or VT copper. VDI indicates genuine copper and no debased regal halfpenny. Not much to go on except an "IN" on the reverse consistent in location with "INDE" found on many of these domestic coppers. Perhaps an ammonia bath is in order.
Colonial Copper
weight (g) ref/act/loss:
--/7.35/--
dug 6/08/09, loc A
VDI 81 Right facing bust and seated Britannia consistent with George III copper. VDI and weight consistent with genuine regal mintage. If some lettering cound be recovered, it could possibly be identified as a colonial copper instead, but no lettering has been recovered yet.
George III Copper
weight (g) ref/act/loss:
9.96/8.80/11.65%
dug 6/09/09, loc A
VDI 78 Consistent with a CT or VT copper, sort of. "TORI" recovered on obverse consistent with "AUCTORI" on some of these coins. "INDE" recovered on reverse consistent with domestic issue colonial coppers. However, the position of the arm relative to the "N" in "INDE", and the details of the branch it is holding are not consistent with any pictures of these coins that I've found. "TORI" would appear in upper left of obverse if normal (180 degree) relation to reverse is true in these coins.
Colonial Copper
weight (g) ref/act/loss:
--/7.55/--
dug 6/10/09, loc A
VDI 82 What a treasure. The 26mm width is inconsistent with any large copper I'm aware of, except for chain-type US large cents, which weigh twice as much. Colonial and regal halfpennies are generally 29mm. Farthings and US halfpennies are smaller, while other US large cents are larger. VDI indicates genuine copper.
26mm Copper
weight (g) ref/act/loss:
--/6.41/--
dug 6/10/09, loc A
VDI 76 Consistent with a George III copper. 34% weight loss seems light for the amount of wear. VDI seems a tad light as well, but rang up to 80. Tough to say between counterfeit and genuine, tho I am leaning towared the former, based on comparison with the other presumed genuine and conterfeit coins.
George III Copper
weight (g) ref/act/loss:
9.96/6.53/34.44%
dug 6/11/09, loc A
  • All VDI tests done with a DFX using the stock 950 coil, using the Deep Silver program. Air test on a 5 inch stack of phone books in a verified metal-free area. VDI's bounced a few points in some cases; most consistent number was chosen.

  • It has been estimated that anywhere from 30% to "a majority" of British regal halfpennies (George II, III, et. al.) circulating in the colonies in the late 18th century were counterfeit (either domestic or British Isles produced).

  • Weights are reference, actual, and percent loss. Reference weight of 9.96 grams and dimensions of British coppers taken from Forgotten Coins of the North American Colonies, by Anton, William T. & Kesse, Bruce. Information on 18th century counterfeit coppers from ibid. and the Notre Dame Colonial Coins Project website. Information and weights on domestic coppers taken from A Guide Book to United States Coins (aka "The Redbook"), by R. S. Yeoman.
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