November 12th, 2012

Latest import out of China: fake coins

By MintState

Purses. Pirated movies. Phony jewelry. As if there weren’t enough fakes coming out of China already, you can now add collectible coins to the list of items with which you should exercise extreme caution before buying.

Reports coming out of the People’s Republic indicate that a manufacturing facility has been churning out hundreds of thousands of counterfeit collectible coins with the intent of distributing the pieces through common online commerce sites such as eBay. While there have long been whispers about fake Chinese silver coins on the market, these newfound phonies run the gamut of coins that would appeal to everyday collectors, particularly in today’s commodities-driven market. For example, some manufacturers in the Red State have shifted their focus from phony Chinese coins to the silver dollars previously minted in the United States, such as the Morgan dollars that have long been a favorite among collectors and bullion investors alike. While silver dollars are among the most commonly faked, evidence also exists that these factories are spoiling the market for other rarities by producing fakes of mintages such as Indian Head one-cent pieces. In addition to U.S. coins being targeted, at least one operation is also producing fake foreign silver coins, including British Crowns and Greek Drachmai.

Though most of these coins are being sold through online markets in raw form, the counterfeiters are also employing the insidious tactic of placing the phony coins into equally fake slabs that appear to have been graded by reputable third-party companies, such as PCGS and NGC. As if it wasn’t hard enough to sniff out a rotten deal already, now collectors have to question coins that seem to have passed the smell test of the top graders in the industry because of this ruse.

The bottom line is that coin collectors and investors must place their trust only with reputable dealers when purchasing coins, particularly when buying pieces that have not been through the certification process.  By sticking with companies such as Coins of America, collectors can ensure that any Morgan dollars, Indian Head cents or other bullion coins – including gold pieces, which have also been discovered in the counterfeiters’ sites – they purchase are the real thing. At a time when just about anything carrying the “Made in China” label deserves to come under increased scrutiny, make sure you’re only buying collectible coins from someone you can trust right here at home!

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