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Posts Tagged ‘chinese counterfeits’

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There are reportedly a hundred mints in China rapidly producing counterfeit United States coins that are  infiltrating our borders hoping to find a home with some unsuspecting  US collector.  Most of these coins are coming from the two southern Chinese provinces of Fujian and Guangdong.  This problem has been going at an ever increasing rate since the end of 2007 and earlier.  However, now that the Chinese have technology and minting presses from the US,  this problem will force us to a “New Educational Level” to prevent and protect collectors and dealers from buying these worthless reproductions of our historic numismatic past. 

The Chinese are busy making everything from Colonials, Half Cents, Large Cents, Indian Head Cents, Buffalo Nickels, Standing Liberty Quarters, Morgan, Peace and Trade Dollars, all dominations of Gold coins and paper money.  Their technology is rapidly is improving rapidly improving as well as mastering the color of our early copper coins. 

One of their newest entries is the production of “error coins”,  an area in which they know very well the passion US collectors have for these unique items.   And to be honest, they are getting better and better at producing these counterfeits.  The machinery they are using is becoming, if not already, state of the art.  Their dies are improving, the strikes are improving and with copper coins, they are moving rapidly to getting the color right.

To make life a little more complicated, the Chinese have now introduced counterfeit PCGS and NGC holders into our marketplace.  At present, it appears that these counterfeit holders, as you would expect, contain counterfeit coins, however, that is likely to change in the near future if it hasn’t already.  At some point they will be putting authentic over-graded coins in these holders.  For example, an AU-50 1909 S VDB in a PCGS or NGC holder graded MS 63.  Or just as easily it could be a Fine 1877 Indian Head Cent graded EF 40 or EF 45.  The point is that there is a lot of money to be made by using this combination of authentic coin and counterfeit holder.  Grade inflation is already a major problem as we continue to evolve within the arena of market grading.

I guess these events reminds us all that it wise to buy the coin and not the holder…..buy the book,  then the coin.  In this case, buy a good book on  detecting counterfeit coins (see book list below).  Our best protection regarding these commonly counterfeit rarities is to know the die characteristic of the  authentic coin and not worry so much about what the counterfeit coin looks like.  If you are looking at a 1909 S VDB Lincoln and the “S” mint mark does not have the characteristics of the authentic “S”…..you most likely have a bad coin.  There are exceptions.  Some counterfeiters have been able to duplicate the “S” mint mark on the 1909 S VDB Lincoln so secondary characteristics of the die are required.  Don’t depend on one particular die characteristic but look at two or three to be conclusive.   Know what the real coin looks like  and have a good reference library and you will be able to discard as many counterfeits as they through your way.   Just remember, a second opinion is always important when dealing with counterfeits.  Fine a dealer you can work with and that you have confidence in to help you. 

The best people to help you are people that have had extensive interactions (on site classes) with the ANA (Colorado Springs), the ANS (New York City), Professional Numismatic Guild (PNG), NLG (Numismatic Literary Guild), professional grading services such as PCGS, NGC and ANACS.  These are the people with the greatest amount of experience that can help you the most.

Upcoming educational events on the topic of Chinese Counterfeit coins.

Facing the Chinese Counterfeiting Threat – August 4, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; August 5, 1-5 p.m. Counterfeit coins and slabs made in the People’s Republic of China are pouring into the marketplace in unprecedented numbers. Access to Western technology means that the counterfeiters are able to produce high-quality fakes. In this two-day seminar, learn to protect yourself by becoming a smart online customer, and learn how to use simple, inexpensive tools to authenticate your own coins. Instructors: Susan Headley, numismatic journalist and counterfeit expert; Beth Deisher, editor, Coin World; and Dr. Gregory Dubay, noted Chinese counterfeit expert.
ANA Member Price: $149 through July 1; $169 after.

Links to Coin World articles describing the Chinese Counterfeit activity can be found on the Web through Google. 

THE FOLLOWING LIST OF BOOKS ON COUNTERFEIT DETECTION WILL HELP YOU GET STARTED WITH A NICE LIBRARY FOR DEALING WITH THIS PROBLEM.

 1.  Fivaz, Bill; United States Gold.  Counterfeit Detection Guide.     Whitman Publishing , LLC, 3101 Clairmont Road, Suite C, Atlanta, GA  30329. (2005)

2.  Official Guide to Coin Grading and Counterfeit Detection. Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) Staff.  Second Edition.  (2004)

3.  Larson, Charles M.; Numismatic Forgery.  (2004)

4.  Fivaz, Bill; Counterfeit Detection Guide.  (2001)

5.  Counterfeit Detection: A Reprint from the Numismatist, Vol I.  American Numismatic Association, Box 2366,  Colorado Springs, CO 80901. (1983)

6.  Counterfeit Detection: A Reprint from the Numismatist, Vol II.  American Numismatic Association, 818 North Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80903. (1988)

7.  Hancock, Virgil; Spanbauer, Larry; Standard Catalog of Counterfeit and Altered United States Coins. Sanford J. Durst, Numismatic Publications, New York, N.Y. (1979)

8.  Devine, John; Detecting Counterfeit Gold Coins, Book II; Heigh-Ho Printing Co., 3477 Old Conejo Road C-7, Newbury Park, CA 91320. (1977; Sixteenth Printing in 1980)

9.  Taxay, Don; Counterfeit & Unofficial Misstruck U.S. Coins.  (1976)

10. Devine, John; Detecting Counterfeit Coins, Book I; Heigh-Ho Printing Co., 3477 Old Conejo Road, Newbury Park, CA 91320. (1975)

11. Dieffenbacher, Alfred; Counterfeit Gold Coins, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Fully Illustrated); Dieffenbackher Coin BTD.  Montreal, Canada.  (1963)

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