US Coins

ACEF assists agents in California seizure of fakes

Fake Peace dollars were among the approximately 40,000 counterfeit silver and gold coins seized on arrival in the Los Angeles area.

All images courtesy of Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation.

Representatives of the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation and its Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force report that they recently assisted federal law enforcement agents with on-site numismatic expertise regarding more than 40,000 fake Morgan and Peace dollars, American Eagle silver bullion coins and Indian Head gold $2.50 coins that were seized in the Los Angeles area.

The assistance was provided at the request of the Secret Service, according to the ACEF.

“The counterfeits were intercepted from overseas shipments and seized during a two-month joint investigation by the Secret Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” explained ACEF Anti-Counterfeiting director Doug Davis who flew from Dallas to California to assist investigators.

He and task force volunteer Lee Minshull of Palos Verdes, California, a long-time member of the Professional Numismatists Guild, met with federal investigators at the International Mail Facility in the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance, California. That is where approximately 1,700 packages of seized counterfeit coin shipments were stored.

“There were numerous wheeled carts filled with packages that contained coins seized during the eight-week targeting operation. We were told that each package contained an average of 27 to 32 coins, all of them counterfeits,” Davis said.

“The quality of the hundreds of counterfeits we personally examined varied from good to very good, especially the counterfeit silver American Eagles,” Minshull stated. “It appears that the fakes we saw probably were made by three different counterfeit manufacturers. If they were genuine, the retail value of these 40,000-plus coins would be over $2 million.”

Davis said the coordination between ACEF/ACTF, the Secret Service and Customs and Border Protection “provided valuable intelligence information that supports our work in exposing the widespread proliferation of counterfeit coinage and precious metals into the U.S. marketplace. Most importantly, the success of this operation provides us with evidence to continue educating the higher-up administration within Secret Service, Customs, and Border Protection and other law enforcement agencies about the growing problem of counterfeits.”

This is only one of many cases during the past 12 months in which ACTF has provided numismatic experts to assist Secret Service and other Federal law enforcement agencies on counterfeit cases stretching across the United States, according to the ACEF.

“ACEF is playing an important role in aggressively identifying counterfeit manufacturers, organized groups, individuals, e-commerce, and social platforms selling counterfeit coins and precious metals.” As Davis emphasized, “the resources and experts ACEF has at its disposal to assist local, state, and federal agencies during the investigative process” are most important to enhance “expeditious indictments and prosecution.”

The Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation ( and its volunteer task force depend entirely on the support of the numismatic profession and the hobby community. ACEF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.

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