ACEF reports fakers using same slab numbers multiple times

Recent examples of fake “certified” Morgan and Peace dollars have been found with the same certification numbers on the encapsulation inserts, cautions the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation (ACEF).

 “Unsuspecting buyers may find that the cert number perfectly matches the coin when they look it up on a legitimate authentication company’s website, but counterfeiters are spewing out multiple fakes of some coins and repeatedly using a real cert number in fake holders with fake certification inserts,” said Doug Davis, ACEF’s anti-counterfeiting director. “Unfortunately, we’re also seeing an increase in the number of ‘encapsulated’ counterfeits without identical cert numbers.”

Recent examples of fakes using the same cert numbers include counterfeit 1881-CC U.S. Morgan dollars with fake Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) certification as Mint State-64 and counterfeit 1921 U.S. high-relief Peace dollars with fake PCGS certification as Mint State-64.

Davis said ACEF and its all-volunteer Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force (ACFT) recently received an alert from a long-time collector in Oklahoma who saw a suspicious 1911 $10 Eagle and 1907 $20 Double Eagle, both purportedly in PCGS holders, advertised on Craigslist. Subsequent examination by PCGS authenticators indicated both the coins and holders are counterfeit.

A fake 1911 U.S. Indian Head Eagle coin is among the suspected counterfeits an Oklahoma collector saw advertised on Craigslist. Photo via ACEF.

PCGS and Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC) have temporarily deactivated some certification numbers from their verification services because of the unauthorized use of the numbers on known counterfeits appearing in the marketplace, according to Davis who is working with NGC, PCGS and American Numismatic Association Certification Service authentication services to fight the fakes.

“It is becoming increasingly alarming to see these types of counterfeits being introduced into the marketplace. NGC and PCGS have worked closely with ACEF/ACTF in authenticating coins sent to them for their review and expert opinion. If a coin/slab is found to be counterfeit NGC and PCGS flag the cert number,” said Davis, a former Texas police chief. “The ACEF is tracking hundreds of websites selling fakes, many of them apparently operated by the same individuals or companies, but often under different company names. We have been placing test orders to learn about new fakes and scams so the public can be alerted.”

Davis will attend the 2023 Central States Numismatic Society convention and coin show in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Ill., on April 27-30 to meet with collectors and dealers. He will have an educational display with examples of counterfeit rare coins and bullion items sold in the marketplace.

A collector in Oklahoma saw a counterfeit 1907 U.S. Liberty Head Double Eagle advertised on Craigslist. Photo via ACEF.

“Counterfeiters are getting smarter, and the technology is getting more sophisticated, so it is extremely important that collectors and the general public buy from knowledgeable, reputable professional dealers or the financial losses could be devastating,” said Davis. “Remember, if you don’t know precious metals or rare coins, you’d better know a reputable seller, such as experts affiliated with the Accredited Precious Metals Dealer (APMD) program or the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG). Members of both PNG and APMD must follow a strict code of ethics in the buying and selling of numismatic merchandise.”

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