I am not sure how much altruism is going on in the numismatic
marketplace, but a candidate for the description could be Doug Davis,
who conducts the Numismatic Crime Information Center and who has done
a lot for the hobby in recent years.
While the likelihood of having your coins, paper money, tokens or
medals stolen is small, it does happen, and Doug offers help.
Set up as a nonprofit corporation, NCIC’s mission is to serve as
“a national and international resource for the education, prevention
and investigation of crimes involving coins, paper money, tokens, and
related numismatic items.” Its operations include assisting law
enforcement agencies during investigations, maintaining a database of
numismatic crimes, hosting www.numismaticcrimes.org
with current news and downloadable resources, email alerts of crimes
and monthly newsletters, and service as an advocate for numismatic
Dealers have been receiving NCIC’s alerts regularly, but the
extent to which this goes to the general numismatic community is very
small. It costs nothing to sign up, so if you are interested you might
want to do this. I contacted Doug about maintaining a permanent
database of items stolen in the past, and while this is not a reality
yet, it is hoped for in the future. Many coins cannot be
differentiated — modern Mint issues, bullion pieces and the like, plus
anything for which a sharp photograph does not exist. However, with
today’s technology, pictures are easier to create. Paper money is a
bit easier to track — with information concerning the type, serial
number, plate letter, date and other information that is unique to
Professional Coin Grading Service and Numismatic Guaranty Corp.
have developed photographic methods of keeping track of coins in the
past. I envision that coins stolen that were mounted in these firms’
holders may have a photographic record in the future that will be
useful, even if the coins are removed from the holders.
NCIC is certainly worth investigating and supporting. I appreciate
it a lot, and Stack’s Bowers Galleries staff members are instantly
informed when a new alert arrives.
Q. David Bowers is chairman emeritus of Stack’s Bowers Galleries
and numismatic director of Whitman Publishing LLC. He can be reached
at his private email, firstname.lastname@example.org,
or at Q. David Bowers LLC, Box 1804, Wolfeboro, NH 03894.