Monday Morning Brief for Oct. 14, 2019: A welcome change
- Published: Oct 14, 2019, 7 AM
The decision by the United States Mint to redesign the reverses of the American Eagle gold and silver coins to accommodate new anti-counterfeiting technology is one of the best things to happen in the hobby in a long time.
The federal government is finally acknowledging what the numismatic community has been concerned about for years — the flood of counterfeit U.S. coins, including American Eagles, coming from China. Furthermore, the government is finally taking steps to combat the counterfeiters who have made purchasing coins an exercise in fear and risk — one in which the outcome is the possibility of acquiring a fake coin.
At one time, officials of the Mint and the Secret Service — the agency created in 1865 to combat counterfeiting — took coin counterfeiting seriously and made an effort to fight the efforts of counterfeits. But over time, the Secret Service’s duties were expanded to include presidential security and other responsibilities, and while fighting the counterfeiting of federal paper money continued to be of prime importance, fighting fake coins became less important. Over time, an institutional blindness overcame both the Mint and Secret Service, and little recognition was given to the problem of fake coins. Even when large numbers of counterfeit coins began entering the marketplace from China, federal officials took little notice.
The numismatic community, however, took steps to educate the government. The Industry Council for Tangible Assets formed the Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force in January 2017, with former Coin World editor Beth Deisher appointed to lead the effort with the aid of others in the hobby community. Over time, Beth and the task force met with officials and got them to understand the gravity of the situation.
With the confirmation that the United States Mint will be following in the footsteps of the Royal Canadian Mint and Royal Mint, both of which have introduced high-tech anti-counterfeiting technology into their coinage, buyers of modern American coins will soon have more confidence about what they are buying.
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