US Coins

Congressman blasts Mint on counterfeiting issues

In a March 6 letter to the U.S. Mint,  Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., chastised the bureau for what he characterized as its continued lack of action in combating the counterfeiting of the nation’s bullion coins.

Mooney and House colleague Frank Lucas, R-Oklahoma, first criticized the Mint’s inaction in an Oct. 27, 2017, letter to David Motl, then acting deputy Mint director. The March 6 letter is addressed to Motl, who retired Jan. 31, 2018.

Mooney began taking on the Mint’s hierarchy after one of his constituents was defrauded in the purchase of U.S. bullion coins determined to be fakes.

In his March 6 letter, Mooney addressed the Mint’s Nov. 17 response the Oct. 27 joint letter from him and Lucas: “The U.S. Mint’s response dated Nov. 17, 2017, seemed to suggest a belief that the problem was not significant. However, the U.S. Secret Service has since briefed my office about the extent of this activity and its frustration with the lack of supportive actions by other agencies, including the U.S. Mint.

“The matter of counterfeits has been repeatedly raised as a serious issue in the coin industry press, including leading publications like Coin World Magazine. I understand the U.S. Mint was briefed on the still-growing problem at a meeting with representatives of the Industry Council for Tangible Assets prior to responding to our letter, which is part of the reason why your response was so disappointing and concerning.”

Defining symbols and figures on paper moneyWendell Wolka concludes his series of columns on allegorical figures depicted on obsolete notes with tips on identifying several figures by their accessories. Also in this issue, we take a look at a few of the dozens of abbreviations in numismatics.

Mooney noted the officials acknowledged that the Mint is pursuing technologies for identifying counterfeits, but his March letter notes also that such technology has been in existence and in use for years.

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