Fake Morgan dollars identified by Montgomery, Ill., dealer Tom Campbell of Tom?s Fine Coins led to an April 4 arrest of an individual who was attempting to sell them through online classified ads.
?About half were common date,? Campbell said. ?All weighed 18-19 grams and were attracted to a magnet, some weak, some strong.?
Approximately 20 coins ultimately were involved, though Campbell initially attempted only to buy two 1885-CC dollars for $280. He asked the seller to bring them in person and he would pay $40 per coin more. They arranged to meet in a public place in Plainfield, Ill.
When Campbell realized they were fake, he contacted the Lansing, Ill., Police Department, where the seller was from.
The seller later contacted him offering an 1893-O, 1892-O and an 1886. Campbell worked with the police to set up a sting in a local business in Lansing. When Campbell signaled that the offered coins were fakes, the police moved in and made an arrest of the suspect and his wife, who was waiting in a car.
Det. Chuck Weeden said there were 20 coins involved when all was said and done. Four were from another individual who spent $350 on them a month ago and filled out a police report when he realized they were fakes.
The suspect had three in his possession during the sting and 11 more were found in his apartment.
Weeden said husband and wife were questioned separately. Both were cooperative. They said her father, who had died a year ago, had owned a jewelry store and they had gotten the coins from him. The detective confirmed that the father had indeed owned a jewelry store.
Weeden said the suspect did not have a criminal record, read little English, was unemployed and was likely to be sent home to Mexico within a week, so no charges would be filed, but they were working on restitution.