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Counterfeit coins are killing the hobby

It seems to be the more I read, the more of a major problem the coin collecting community has. It seems that the counterfeit coins that have flooded the market are so good that an average collector and even knowledgeable dealers cannot tell the difference.

With so many coins being available on Web sites like eBay, there is no way that they do not find their way to regular dealers who then sell them as original. What is a collector to do?

The local dealers you trust, can be taken also, they will pass them along to the unknowing public and its a Catch 22 for all of us. If what they say is true, that a large percentage on eBay is fake, there must be millions of coins in collections that are fake and the collector does not even know it.

One area that really is deceiving is the sale of empty proof set lenses on eBay. Anyone could take these, put in regular coins and sell as proofs to the general public. I also have a problem with the earlier proof sets that have been put in the hard plastic holders and not in the issued envelope. How do you tell if the coins in them are truly original proofs? When it comes down to it, who do you trust? The dealers can be fooled, and its passed along to the collector.

The only coins that you can really trust are the ones you order yourself from the U.S. Mint. Even the coins that have been graded and slabbed have been counterfeited. For the average collector, not to be taken is to collect from the U.S. Mint  and to pull coins from circulation. If you do get a fake, at least the only loss is the face value of the coin you obtained from circulation. I wonder what percentage of the coins that are offered for sale in your paper are fake? Any comment on that?

If someone obtains a coin from a Web site or online auction that he believes is fake, then that dealer’s or person’s name should be listed in your paper so that others will not be taken. But I guess that brings up a legal problem. You really don’t know if the person knew they were fake or not.

I have bought some coins from eBay, and have researched the coins when I got them. I took them to my three local dealers for their opinion as to real or fake. I look at the seller’s profile, his feedback and also who he has purchased coins from. If any have purchased from China dealers, I stay away from them.

I am afraid that coin collecting is in danger. If you cannot trust what you purchase, then why collect? The counterfeits are killing our hobby. But like I said, just a personal opinion, no facts to base it on, just what I read As always, buyer beware.


David Rough is a hobbyist in Salisbury, N.C.

Viewpoint is a forum for the expression of opinion on a variety of numismatic subjects. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of Numismatic News.
To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Send e-mail to david.harper@fwmedia.com.

More Resources:

2010 U.S. Coin Digest, The Complete Guide to Current Market Values, 8th ed.

State Quarters Deluxe Folder By Warmans

Standard Guide to Small-Size U.S. Paper Money, 1928 to Date

Strike It Rich with Pocket Change, 2nd Edition

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