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Time for government to stop fake coins

When the Secret Service makes a big counterfeit paper currency bust, headlines are made.

This was the case when $30 million in fake U.S. paper money was seized in Peru.

But what should be making headlines in numismatics is the lack of Secret Service activity in the area of fake coinage.

Anything that the U.S. Mint has ever struck since 1792 can be faked in China.

Perhaps we can have a parallel celebration next year.

The Mint celebrates 225 years. Fakers can celebrate 225 years of opportunity.

We might think we know what counterfeiting is, but do we?

A widely understood definition agreed to and then enforced would be a big help.

Perhaps the American Numismatic Association board of governors can pass a resolution calling for this.

What should we consider coins that try to look exactly like an issued coin but has a different date?

What about something that once existed that was purportedly entirely destroyed?

What about copies of older designs overstruck on genuine U.S. coin issues entirely obliterating the design underneath so it can be truthfully said that the piece was produced originally at the Mint?

How about the latest news of the treated 2004 silver American Eagle that is privately called a reverse proof?

The Mint strikes reverse proofs, but not in that year.

How about plated coins? Colorized coins? Neither of these are manufactured by the Mint. They are interesting as souvenirs, but more are finding their way into unknowing hands.

While all collectors have grasp of the issue, not all would draw the line against fakes in the same place.

Most collectors would agree that if a line can be drawn by common agreement that it should be officially enforced by government law enforcement.

There have been educational presentations at coin conventions about these issues, but collectors have not made enough noise.

It is time to start making noise.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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