One of the favourite targets of forgers has been the 1923 halfpenny. Forgeries range from the obvious to excellent examples that have even fooled some dealers (for a short time anyway). In this discussion, we will concentrate on halfpennies where the date has been altered.
The first example of an altered date halfpenny I encountered was a 1933 where the first 3 had been replaced by a 2 (perhaps the forger was thinking that people are more likely to concentrate on the final digit). The non-proof 1923 halfpennies are the result of just two dies. If you examine the scans below of the date areas of one genuine 1923 halfpenny created from each of the dies, you can see the numerals are in the same position relative to the inner beads and outer denticles. This is as expected since each of the two production dies arose from the same dated master die. Of particular interest is that the 3 on a 1923 halfpenny starts just to the left of a rim denticle, while that of a 1933 halfpenny starts to the right of a denticle. There is one other significant difference, the lettering for the 1923 halfpenny is flat based, while the base of the lettering for the 1933 is indented (see scans).
So, by looking at the position of the 3 and the lettering we can tell the difference between a genuine 1923 and a date-altered 1933 halfpenny. But what about a date altered halfpenny from the 1920s? Click on the next button to proceed.