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Gong bangs; time to act

The paradox of coin collecting is that though we collectors often pursue our hobby alone, we are dependent on other people.

What value would our collections have if we had nobody to sell them to?

Preserving this secondary market should be of primary importance to all collectors, but the truth is we seldom think about it unless someone is beating a gong about a threat to it.

The current threat is Chinese counterfeits.

Beating the gong is former American Numismatic Association President Barry Stuppler and his Gold & Silver Political Action Committee.

On June 27 aided by coin collector and former Congressman Jimmy Hayes, hobby leaders met in Washington, D.C., to  persuade key members of Congress to pass new legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

This legislation, H.R. 5977, would modify the 1973 Hobby Protection Act to put new teeth in it to bite the Chinese counterfeit threat.

How so?

According to Hayes:

(1)  To include not only prohibition of the “distribution” but also the “sale” in commerce of prohibited items;

(2)  To add a provision expanding the Hobby Protection Act to subject to the law “any person who provides substantial assistance or support to any manufacturer, importer, or seller” knowingly engaging in any act or practice that violates the Act;

(3)  Expands the venue for legal action to include not just having an agent present, to include “transacts business,” or wherever venue is proper under section 1391 of Title 28, United States Code;”

(4)  Adding a section on Trademark violations specifically written to include the certification services and adds remedies to the Hobby Protection Act that currently exist under the Trademark Act of 1946 (U.S.C. Title 15, Sections 1116-1118) for violations of the Hobby Protection Act.

What happens is these additional powers create an ability to bring legal actions that are much more effective, with much stronger remedies (including recovery of attorneys’ fees and treble damages) than previously existed.

It also enables such actions to complement and engage the Justice Department for criminal actions where applicable.

To give this legislation the push it needs to become law, average collectors from all over the United States should contact their member of Congress.

How should you do this?

Email is best, then a telephone call to the district office.

To find the name and contact information for your local member of the United States Congress, visit http://www.House.gov  and click on “Representatives.”

Do this to protect your future.

Do it now.

On another topic that might be a must do for you, the Mint odometer has passed the 200,000 mark for the two-coin San Francisco proof American Eagle silver set containing the “S” marked regular and reverse proof coins.

The current 201,059 figure is still well below the 248,875 figure achieved by the 2006 set with the reverse proof.

Thursday’s 5 p.m. Eastern Time deadline is fast approaching and a decision will have to be made by all fence sitters.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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