After 3 completed months in 2023, the 3rd previously undocumented Capped Bust half dollar (CBH) counterfeit hand-made die variety has been documented. This new variety hails from the large Buck-Toothed Eagle (BTE) family. It marries a known obverse, 1831 Davignon 14, with a previously undocumented reverse die; this variety will be given a designation of Z15-IE in my forthcoming publication. I may have said this before, but for me, what is exciting about new varieties like this is not necessarily that it is a new die marriage, because frankly counterfeiters could have married various obverse and reverse dies all day and week-long. Instead, it is that we are still documenting new dies created by this counterfeiting group and thus expanding our understanding of the scope of this operation in terms of die production. At this time, 19 obverse and 16 reverse dies have been documented from the BTE family.
The BTE family now has 21 recorded varieties made from 19 obverse and 16 reverse dies. I believe this is only the 2nd new variety documented from this family since Davignon’s 2nd Edition was published in 2010; the other new variety, an 1838, was only just documented within the last couple years. The BTE family remains the third largest counterfeit CBH family based on known die marriages with the Mexican Head family having 22 varieties and the Clinton Head family with 31 varieties.
This example of 1831 Z15-IE exhibits all major details with the exception of 50 in the denomination which is weakly present. There are planchet metal mixture issues present on the high points of this coin, notably on the face of Liberty and in the shield and wing detail of the eagle. In addition, the edge is very weakly lettered such that the lettered edge die marriage is not identifiable, but is reasonably assumed to be the same lettered edge die used with 1831 Davignon 14-N.