The numismatic community can call upon expanded legal remedies
involving nongenuine numismatic items, including fake coins in
counterfeit grading service holders, thanks to a new law.
The Collectible Coin Protection Act “not only responds to the
advances in counterfeiting technology but also expands the remedies to
those harmed by the sale of counterfeits,” according to Jimmy Hayes,
legislative consultant for the Industry Council for Tangible Assets.
President Obama signed the act into law on Dec. 19, 2014. The law
adds provisions to strengthen the Hobby Protection Act, which was
approved Nov. 29, 1973.
Hayes said the new law “adds ‘distributors’ who knowingly sell
counterfeit coins, expanding the old law’s reach that was limited to
the ‘manufacturers or importers.’ ”
He also said the new law expands the venue provisions in the current
Hobby Protection Act, and now “allows greater and quicker response to
wrongdoers who move from place to place. This also provides the path
to seizure of the counterfeits during the initiation of legal proceedings.”
The new law also adds “trademark violations provisions available to
grading certification services. This provides for ‘seizure’ and
immediate ‘injunctive relief’ and can lead to destruction of the counterfeits.
“This is done by adding the grading services to those who can use
such provisions of the Trademark Act of 1946. (Title 15, Sections
1116-1118),” Hayes said.
That section of the Trademark Act will be updated to include
“unauthorized use of registered trademarks belonging to a collectibles
certification service.” Such a service is “recognized by collectors
for providing independent certification that collectible items are genuine.”
The provision would also extend enforcement to fake coin
encapsulation holders bearing the logos of legitimate coin grading services.
According to Max Spiegel, vice president of sales and marketing for
Certified Collectibles Group, parent company of Numismatic Guaranty
Corp., “Grading services like NGC help to protect collectors and
dealers around the world from counterfeit coins and we welcome this
important step by Congress and the President to better safeguard the
invaluable services that we provide.”
Spiegel said, “NGC has spent millions to develop its intellectual
property, including its state-of-the-art coin holder and certification
label, and this provision should go a long way towards stopping those
who seek to profit by deceiving the public through the infringement of
The bill was introduced July 19, 2013, and the House approved it
July 30, 2013. The Senate passed the measure Dec. 15, 2014, by
unanimous consent and presented it to the president two days later.
The 1973 Hobby Protection Act requires manufacturers and importers
of “imitation political items,” defined as “an item which purports to
be, but in fact is not, an original numismatic item or which is a
reproduction, copy, or counterfeit of an original numismatic item,” to
mark such items “plainly and permanently” with the word “COPY.”
The act designated the Federal Trade Commission to develop
regulations regarding how the marking would be carried out. The FTC
issued its Rules and Regulations in 1975. Those rules established the
sizes and dimensions of the letters and numerals to be used as well as
the location of the markings.
The rule was amended in 1988 to provide additional guidance on the
minimum size of letters for the word “COPY.”
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