U.S. Mint Acting
Deputy Mint Director David Motl claims in a Nov. 17 letter responding
to a congressional inquiry into the counterfeiting of U.S. precious
metals coins that the bureau has not received any “complaints” over
the past two years of fake current-issue gold, platinum or silver coins.
Motl’s statement, however, does not jibe with Coin World
news coverage over the past three years of a number of instances of
counterfeit U.S. American Eagle Proof and bullion coins being
fraudulently sold as genuine, including issues of different dates
submitted for third-party grading service certification. In
preparation for writing those news articles, Coin World
routinely informed Mint officials of the appearance of the
counterfeits in the marketplace.
Want to be an ‘early bird’? Buy a badge at your
next coin show and gain early bourse access.
Also this week, John Wexler tracks down the rare 1970-S Lincoln,
Doubled Die Obverse #1 cent.
The fakes reported to the Mint by Coin World include
American Eagle 1-ounce gold $50 coins of various dates. Also included
were counterfeit versions of the U.S. Mint 30th Anniversary Proof
2016-W American Eagle silver dollar. An example purchased in October
2016 at a flea market in Lynchburg, Virginia, bears a reeded edge
instead of the special 30th anniversary incuse edge inscription. The
genuine 2016 American Eagle silver bullion coins were struck at the
West Point Mint with the standard reeded edge.
All of Coin World’s news articles were illustrated with
examples of the counterfeits discussed.
Congress seeks answers
On Oct. 27, 2017, two members of the House
Financial Services Committee, Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., and Frank
Lucas, R-Okla., an avid coin collector, sent separate letters to the
Mint and U.S.
Secret Service seeking information on what is being done by the
Mint and Secret Service to protect the integrity of U.S. Mint precious
The inquiries were triggered by one of Mooney’s constituents being
defrauded in the purchase of counterfeit bullion coins offered as
genuine U.S. Mint products.
Connect with Coin World:
up for our free eNewsletter
Like us on
us on Twitter
When a congressional inquiry for information is made, the agency
from whom the information is requested has 30 days to respond with the
information or seek an extension. The Mint provided its response
within the required time limit.
A spokesman for Rep. Lucas said his office has not received any
response from the Secret Service. Coin World has unsuccessfully tried
to reach Secret Service officials for public comment about its
response, if any.
As of Dec. 5, no response had been received by Lucas or Mooney from
In his Oct. 27 response to Lucas and Mooney, Motl states the Mint
takes the issue of counterfeiting seriously.
“I want to assure you that the United States Mint shares your
concerns about the issue of counterfeiting, and while this topic is
not a new one, the increased opportunity and availability of materials
to counterfeit precious metals coins have altered this discussion, and
made this issue more relevant than ever,” Motl wrote in his response
to two congressmen. “The Mint is committed to safeguard the integrity
and value of United States coinage, including our bullion coin
programs. To that end, the Mint has proactively examined this issue
through one-on-one discussions in various domestic and international
forums, and with industry leaders, sovereign mints, as well as our
bullion coin program’s authorized purchasers. On Oct. 17, the Mint
hosted its second annual numismatic forum, which include 68 industry
leaders, to discuss marketplace issues and best practices.
“Additionally, the Mint’s leadership is dedicated to working with
all stakeholders to study new anti-counterfeiting measures, including
next generation laser technology, to ensure that the Mint remains at
the forefront of security innovations.
“We also work closely with our customers and collectors to ensure
their concerns are being heard and addressed appropriately.
Nonetheless, in the past two years, we have not received any
complaints about counterfeit current issue gold, platinum or silver
coins. When we have received complaints about potential counterfeit
coins, deceptive or misleading advertisements by private sector
entities, or misuse of the Mint’s intellectual property by third
parties, we have immediately taken appropriate action, or worked with
other federal agencies, (including the U.S. Secret Service and U.S.
Customs and Border Protection, as relevant) to address the issue.”
Anti-counterfeiting measures are a stated top priority for U.S. Mint
Director nominee David J. Ryder, whose confirmation vote by the full
Senate has been delayed by discussions and votes on tax legislation.