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New effort aims at counterfeits

Counterfeit coin imports are the focus of a new consumer awareness campaign.

Five numismatic organizations met May 27 just prior to the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo to launch a multi-pronged consumer protection campaign.

“There are numerous reports of replica coins being shipped from China without the word, ‘COPY,” on them despite clearly showing that word on photos of those items when they were offered for sale,” said Industry Council for Tangible Assets Chairman Fred Weinberg.

Once in the United States, they would violate the 1973 Hobby Protection Act.

Professional Numismatists Guild President Gary Adkins suggested the groups may want to file formal complaints with the Chinese government.

Scott Schechter, Certified Collectibles Group/Numismatic Guaranty Corp. vice president and Professional Coin Grading Service President Don Willis said both authentication services have purchased counterfeit coins and dies for study and to remove them from the market. Both companies have been working to get fraudulent auction listings removed, but both also have seen an increase in the number of counterfeit coins being submitted to them.

A three-part strategy was agreed to by representatives of American Numismatic Association, the ICTA, NGC, PCGS and the PNG.

As a group and/or as individual organizations they will initiate consumer education and protection programs, including online resources, to reach the casual coin-buying public who are not part of the mainstream numismatic community; aggressively attempt to compel online auction sites to be more responsive to complaints about fraudulent listings of fake certification services’ holders and replica coins that are in violation of the Hobby Protection Act; and utilize ICTA’s extensive experience in Washington, D.C. to explore possible criminal actions by federal law enforcement agencies against importers and sellers of illegal numismatic items.

ANA President Barry Stuppler said, “To help the public protect themselves, the ANA will use its publications, Web site and educational seminars to make our membership and the general public aware of counterfeit numismatic items and certified holders.”

The group will meet again during the ANA convention in early August in Los Angeles.

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