US Coins

ICTA responds to Mint letter to Congress on fakes

While the packaging for this purported Proof 2015-W American Eagle silver dollar is genuine official packaging from the United States Mint, the “coin” is actually a plated base metal counterfeit substituted to defraud the secondary-market buyer.

Image courtesy of Independent Coin Graders.

Acting Deputy U.S. Mint Director Dave Motl’s Nov. 17 response to an Oct. 27 inquiry from two members of the House Financial Services committee regarding the Mint’s efforts to combat the rising infiltration of fake U.S. coins into the United States “lacks commitment” on the part of the Mint, according to the Industry Council for Tangible Assets’ Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force, spearheaded by former Coin World Editor Beth Deisher.

Deisher explains in a Dec. 7 press release from the task force that on Nov. 9, eight days before Motl sent his response to an inquiry from Reps. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and Alex X Mooney, R- W.Va., task force members met with Motl and other senior Mint staff at Mint headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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“While the Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force (ACTF) appreciates Acting Deputy Director Motl’s acknowledgement that counterfeiting represents a serious threat to the nation’s coinage, we are nevertheless disheartened that the U.S. Mint’s efforts on the anti-counterfeiting front do not reflect a serious commitment to act against this threat,” Deisher said.

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During the Nov. 9 meeting with Mint officials, the ACTF described three important steps the U.S. Mint has the authority and financial resources to employ today.

“Respond to the long-standing request from U.S. Customs and Border Protection to register U.S. Mint products with CBP to allow it to identify and interdict counterfeits as they enter the country. To-date, the U.S. Mint has not done so.

“Incorporate (as other sovereign mints have done) state-of-the-art anti-counterfeiting features into the packaging and Certificates of Authenticity that accompany its numismatic products.

“Launch a research and development program to determine the most effective anti-counterfeiting features to incorporate into its precious metals coins. Other sovereign mints are far ahead of the U.S. Mint in exploring these options and incorporating them into their coinage. As soon as practicable the U.S. Mint should draw upon other national mints’ experience and tap private-sector expertise into order to identify and implement the best anti-counterfeiting technology.”

Deisher notes that in his letter to the two congressmen, Motl states that “ ‘in the past two years, we have not received any complaints about current-issue gold, platinum, or silver coins.’ In fact, in the Nov. 9 meeting with Mr. Motl, ACTF representatives informed him and other Mint staff of evidence of counterfeiters producing fake American Eagle, American Buffalo, and U.S. commemorative coins, all of which are composed of precious metals.”

The counterfeiting issue could have been addressed by Mint officials during the Mint’s Second Annual Numismatic Forum on Oct. 17 but wasn’t, Deisher said.

“ACTF’s concern is that Mint leaders did not raise the subject because the U.S. Mint is doing little to address the surge of counterfeit U.S. coins now entering the United States,” Deisher said on behalf of the ICTA task force. “The Mint has long held the position that protecting the nation’s coinage from counterfeiters is the responsibility of the U.S. Secret Service; thus, it has remained inactive when it comes to developing and employing modern anti-counterfeiting technology to protect the coins it manufactures.” 

The Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force was formally established Jan. 6, 2017, during a meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, “attended and fully supported by numismatic community leaders and associations that attended an August 8, 2016, summit to assess the harmful effects of counterfeit coins entering U.S. markets from China, Russia, Eastern European countries, and the need for action to address the problem,” ICTA said in a press statement then.

A goal of the task force is to mobilize law enforcement resources to protect the integrity of U.S. coinage by educating officials on the economic impact and growing threat that counterfeit circulating, collectible, and bullion coins pose to the collecting community as well as the public at large. 

For more information about the ICTA task force, visit the organization onlline  at .

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