Council for Tangible Assets Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force has gained the attention of federal
authorities and may be prompting them to take a more aggressive role
in combating the infiltration of counterfeit coins into the United
States and the numismatic hobby, says Beth Deisher, ICTA’s director of
anti-counterfeiting and spokesperson for the task force.
During an April 28 public meeting held in conjunction with the Central States
Numismatic Society 78th Anniversary Convention in Schaumburg,
Ill., Deisher said educating law enforcement on the federal, state and
local levels about the threats from counterfeit coins is paramount.
Deisher retired in 2012 after 27 years as editor of Coin World.
The task force traces its genesis to a 2016 CSNS convention effort
to draw numismatic professionals and others into a concentrated
effort. The task force is operating solely on donations, Deisher said.
The task force comprises an 11-member steering committee with eight
work groups of three to five people each to address specific issues.
Reaching out to agents
While the U.S. Secret Service has traditionally been legislatively
empowered to pursue anti-counterfeiting investigations and
prosecutions, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks changed those
responsibilities, Deisher said.
Enforcement of counterfeiting violations has fallen into the hands
Security and Customs and Border Protection to stop the
distribution of counterfeit coins and paper money before they enter
the country, Deisher said.
Deisher said she and some members of the task force have met more
than once with Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection
officials to educate them on the threats to collectors and the general
public that the counterfeits pose.
Deisher said that during one of those sessions, federal authorities
indicated their efforts were focused on stifling the dispersal of
counterfeit $100 Federal Reserve notes because of their high face
value. During that same meeting, Deisher said, she showed
investigators an example of an American Eagle 1-ounce gold bullion
coin struck by the U.S. Mint.
Not only did those authorities not know the coin was struck by the
nation’s coin bureau, they also believed the coin’s actual value was
its $50 legal tender face value, Deisher said. Deisher said that she
explained to the agents that, based on the spot price at the time for
the 1 ounce of gold in the coin, plus the added premium, the actual
value of the coin was $1,300.
Seeking trial experts
Deisher said federal law enforcement officials have asked for
participation of dealers and other numismatic experts in each state
who can be vetted and are willing to testify at trials, if
prosecutions from investigations reach that stage of the legal process.
Deisher noted that the counterfeits, many of which are imported from
China, replicate U.S. and world collector coins, bullion pieces, and
commemorative issues. Most of the issues are made of plated base
metals, with tungsten the metal of choice to be plated, especially for
bullion issues like the American Eagles and issues from Canada, South
Africa, Australia, Great Britain and Austria.
The quality of the counterfeits has greatly increased in recent
years compared with the crudely executed issues that appeared in
abundance almost a decade ago, Deisher said.
Some of the counterfeit production is created on coinage presses
that once served U.S. Mint production but were scrapped for metal
salvage, she said.
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Deisher talked about Alibaba.com, the online website that some have referred to as
the “Chinese eBay” over which many counterfeit items, including coins,
Deisher said ICTA’s Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force has identified a
number of opportunities to combat counterfeit coins and other
➤ Providing information about foreign counterfeiters, their
products, capabilities, production locations, and business processes.
➤ Providing information about suspect distribution networks in the marketplace.
➤ Providing local expertise to law enforcement officials conducting
➤ Providing expert witnesses to testify in counterfeiting cases.
➤ Reimbursing travel expenses for expert witnesses.
➤ Providing specialized training for local, state and federal law
enforcement officers and prosecutors.
➤ Identifying and revising law enforcement and prosecutorial
policies that are impediments to the prioritization of coin
For more information, visit ICTA's website.