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ICTA urges fake fight

The Mint is not doing enough to combat counterfeits. This is the conclusion of the Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force of the Industry Council for Tangible Assets. It issued a statement Dec. 7. It reacted to a Nov. 17 letter written by Acting Deputy Director David Motl to Rep. Frank Lucas.


“We are nevertheless disheartened that the U.S. Mint’s efforts on the anti-counterfeiting front do not reflect a serious commitment to act against this threat,” said Beth Deisher, ICTA’s Director of Anti-Counterfeiting. ICTA is the numismatic industry’s trade group. A joint letter had been written to Motl by Lucas and Rep. Alex X. Mooney Oct. 27 requesting information concerning the Mint’s efforts to stop counterfeit coins from entering the United States.

“I want to assure you that the United States Mint (Mint) shares your concerns about the issue of counterfeiting, and while this topic is not a new one, the increased opporrtunity and availability of materials to counterfeit precious metal coins have altered the discussion, and made this issue more relevant than ever,” Motl replied. The ICTA Anti-Counterfeiting task force took exception to Motl’s statement in the letter that, “On October 17, the Mint hosted its second annual Numismatic Forum, which included 68 industry leaders, to discuss marketplace issues and best practices.”

Such an observation seems harmless enough, but the task force pointed out, “In fact, this forum would have been an excellent venue for U.S. Mint officials to describe the U.S. Mint’s anti-counterfeiting efforts, but the subject was never raised.”

Lucas, Mooney and represenatives of ICTA’s Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force had met Motl and other Mint staff eight days before Motl had written his letter. During their visit, they listed three steps the Mint could take to fight fakes that it was not taking.

“• Respond to the long-standing request from U.S. Customs and Border Protection to register U.S. Mint products with CBP to allow it to identify and interdict counterfeits as they enter the country. To-date, the U.S. Mint has not done so.

“• Incorporate (as other sovereign mints have done) state-of-the-art anti-counterfeiting features into the packaging and Certificates of Authenticity that accompany its numismatic products.

“• Launch a research and development program to determine the most effective anti-counterfeiting features to incorporate into its precious metals coins. Other sovereign mints are far ahead of the U.S. Mint in exploring these options and incorporating them into their coinage. As soon as practicable the U.S. Mint should draw upon other national mints’ experience and tap private-sector expertise into order to identify and implement the best anti-counterfeiting technology.”

The ICTA Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force said Motl states in the letter written after their meeting that “in the past two years, we have not received any complaints about current-issue gold, platinum, or silver coins.” In fact, in the Nov. 9 meeting with Mr. Motl, ACTF representatives informed him and other Mint staff of evidence of counterfeiters producing fake American Eagle, American Buffalo, and U.S. commemorative coins, all of which are composed of precious metals.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

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