Counterfeit coins have been around as long as coins have. For a very long time I have attempted to thwart the efforts of those who attempt to profit from them. While some major victories have been won, the proliferation of this bane to our hobby continues at an alarming rate. All we can do is educate ourselves as well as others and be constantly vigilant in our numismatic transactions. This is where we as numismatists have become our own worst enemy. Amid the competition to acquire new material, snatch up a “real deal” or “cherry pick” an item from say Kijiji or eBay, caution and common sense may sometimes be forgotten. The naive or inexperienced are most vulnerable at this time. That is not the group at which I am aiming this column. I hope that the inexperienced save this article and use the examples given and markers presented to assist them in identifying counterfeit coins coming from China. What I am really hoping is that the more experienced collectors and dealers realize their reactions to counterfeit material may well harm the hobby as much as the fake coins themselves. I will bet that every person reading this has told a friend of an amazing purchase or heard one from a fellow collector. Now the real question: How many have told the story of being duped by a fake or have had that story told to them? Continue reading →
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It was described as a choice wildcat note; a banknote from the 19th century era of free banking in the United States. Apparently the bank issued the notes for a different state than they could be redeemed. The gorgeous intaglio canal image five dollar note could only be redeemed in a small cabin in the woods, one only wildcats could find. If one was so lucky to find it there were no reserves of silver or gold backing the note and the majority of noteholders burned their notes after discovering they would not be redeemed. Here was one in uncirculated condition, signed and issued in a slab. It was about to start its journey to circulation. After the collector held up the note and described the MS66 beauty he wanted to pass it around and share it with his local coin club colleagues. He was proud of his achievement in adding the wonderful piece of history to his collection and hoping that the other collectors would agree. As the note was passed around collectors concurred that it was a choice example with great art. They loved the story behind it. As the note circulated though that MS66 grade was starting to take a hit.
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