Skip to main content

This Week's Letters (6/16/09)

Are you concerned you might unknowingly buy Chinese counterfeit coins?  Readers share their opinions.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:


From the June 5 Numismatic News E-Newsletter:

Q. Are you concerned you might unknowingly buy Chinese counterfeit coins?

Chinese counterfeits seem to be everywhere. They are at the local flea market and they come in the coin shop every week. Usually I see the crown size Chinese coins, but also some U.S. Seated and Trade dollars.
When a person brings one in, I know it is counterfeit immediately but I want to educate them so I tell them a typical crown weighs 27 grams. Then I weigh their coin and it is off by 10 grams. I then tell them the coin is silver plated on brass. If they want me to, I file into the coin and show them.
The latest Chinese item was a 12-piece set of 5 ounce Pandas in a red box with Chinese paperwork. Every piece was clearly marked “5oz. .999.” They were all 3-ounce silver-plated junk.
I think the best way to stop all this is to boycott all Chinese products until the Chinese government does something about the counterfeiting problem.

Tony Swicer
West Palm Beach, Fla.

Americans have the best Mint in the world. No need to buy from the People’s Republic of China. If you compare our prices to the rest of the world mints, the U.S. Mint is the best bargain.
Silver is silver; gold is gold. If I have a choice I’d rather see Lincoln on a coin rather than Goethe or Mao.

S. Boyer
Huber Heights, Ohio

Not anymore! I have about 12 counterfeits, including U.S., Japan, U.K., French and Chinese. In addition to the fakes, the cost of return and non-acceptance of returned coins just adds to the problem.
I did buy some pieces knowing they were fake, as the price was very good, and they are a good conversational item.
I have challenged some eBay sellers when they show obvious fakes such as Meiji period 1 yen, dated Meiji 1 and 2. (I bought Meiji 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.) plus normal high priced stock for very little money. They are not fazed by my complaints. eBay got into the act, and that seller was gone, but a new seller with the same material showed up a few days later.
The quality of the pieces are not bad. The big problem is that they copy from the pictures in Standard Catalog of World Coins. The reverse is not inverted.

Bob Wyda, Oki Sakura Coin
Ridgecrest, Calif.

I have more that 50 Chinese coins and I consider them all counterfeit. I can’t tell the difference. I also have a counterfeit Trade dollar and I enjoy them all.

Robert Westcott
Belleview, Fla.

As a coin dealer for nearly 50 years, I can say with certainty that most of those counterfeits (95 percent) coming out of China are made out of steel and can easily be picked up with any small magnet.

Neil Osina
Glendora, Calif.

I am very worried that I would mistakenly purchase a counterfeit coin. Any purchase over $500 from me is a slabbed coin (except bullion). This is too bad because I like filling holes in my books and I will not break apart a slab, so I am still left with holes. Recently I have had to worry about counterfeit slabs. This is hindering my collecting enthusiasm.

Joe Eisenschenk
Arvada, Colo.

As for the Chinese fake dollars that are circulating, I have seen hundreds at the local flea market. I guess the unknowing would get sucked into purchasing them, but a world coin collector such as myself can see them for what they are.
First glance, they look good, but upon close inspection, the falseness stands out. I have seen collectors buy some of them just as a lark or to give to friends and family members. I don’t really collect much anymore, but I do dabble if I find some nice coins at the flea market, which does occur every now and then.
Happy collecting.

Mikhail Schecht,
Sunrise, Fla

I was recently scanning ebay for some “Key Date” Silver Dollars. I typed in 1895 Morgan and opened up the list. There in the list was 1895 CC. Knowing that there is no such coin, I clicked on it and discovered it , along with a list of 9 other Morgans, they did mint, were being offered for sale by a vendor in HONG KONG. I immediately filled out a report to EBay. This was on a Sunday night and the item was not removed until after noon on Monday. The other 9 were not removed even though they were offered by a vendor who was obviously selling a fake. EBay should have removed all the listings. Yes he even had a picture posted for the 1895 CC. There is a good chance that at least 9 fakes are resting in the hands of EBay customers right now. RL Farrow PO Box 389 Romayor Tx

I have already been burned by a few of the Chinese pieces, mainly with Swiss Shooting Thalers and Weimar Republic commemoratives. This happened before the publicity about the problem was hit the street, and looking back, they are not all that good. They don’t have any notation that they are copies either. Wasn’t paying attention, though, and they are now a part of the Collection of Bad Deals.

Bob Fritsch
Nashua, NH

I don’t think I would buy a counterfeit as I study enough real and counterfeits to tell the difference. But two friends of mine have bought counterfeit “CC” Morgans on ebay. The last of which was VERY real-looking at first glance. The main give aways that it is fake was the “82” in the 1882 date, and the “CC” Mintmark. Both were the wrong style. They are getting better, so be careful! But I would advise collectors NOT to give up collecting because of the counterfeits, this is a great, and very fun hobby, just study real and fake coins and learn to tell the difference.

Daniel Sheffer
Shelby Twp., MI

NO not really...I weigh and check for counterfeits on coins I buy...
ALSO I buy mostly from reputable dealers that will stand behind their merchandise.

Bob Beni
Phoenix Coin Club
Phoenix ,AZ