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Gallery Mint Museum Replica Producer

Who is the Gallery Mint Museum and is it okay to buy their coins?

The Gallery Mint Museum was located in Eureka Springs, Ark. It produced excellent replicas of U.S. coins between 1992 and 2007, operating in much the same way as might be expected of an 18th-century mint. The replicas are openly sold as Gallery Mint Museum products and command a modest premium.

Regarding a recent question on prooflike coins, reader John Knutson wrote: A coin does not have to grade Mint State 60 or better to get a “Prooflike” or “Deep Mirror Prooflike” designation. Professional Coin Grading Service has four PL and one DMPL in About Uncirculated 55 to AU-58. Numismatic Guaranty Corporation has dozens of PLand DMPL in AU-55 to -58.

Input from readers is always welcome. We thank Knutson and several others for helping clarify this information.

Why hasn’t the United States followed the example of Australia, Canada, Great Britain and others by issuing circulation coins in denominations larger than a dollar?

Since the Treasury has been reluctant to withdraw the dollar bill, the public has been allowed to remain resistant to change to a dollar coin. I would expect the same scenario to take place if the U.S. attempted to circulate $5 or $10 coins. Each of the countries you named withdrew bank notes of low denominations and replaced them with coins while ignoring any outcry from the public. 

I recently heard Professional Coin Grading Service was embedding an NFC chip in their coin slabs to help verify that the slabs haven’t been tampered with and are genuine PCGS products. What is an NFC chip?

The Near Field Communication chip is to be identified as such on PCGS labels beginning this year. NFC technology allows anyone with a smartphone to verify the encapsulation as having originated from PCGS rather than being a counterfeit encapsulation.

Have counterfeit third-party encapsulations become a serious problem?

PCGS and other third-party certification services have been aware of both counterfeit encapsulations and of counterfeit coins in counterfeit encapsulation cases since at least 2008. The service noted that these bogus items were appearing on the popular eBay auction sight at that time. I have viewed a foreign website on which such bogus pieces were being sold openly as replicas, but lacking anything that would identify them as such should the fake be resold.