US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for Dec. 28, 2020: The battle continues

The battle against counterfeiters who make such fakes as the illustrated 1980-S Indian Head cent continues. The Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force reports on progress made during 2020.

Original images courtesy of ANACS.

The fight against the counterfeiting of coins continues, with the Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force, part of the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation, taking the lead in the numismatic community.

In a Dec. 22 email sent to hobby leaders, Doug Davis, director of counterfeiting for the foundation, outlined some of the task force’s accomplishments for 2020, a ray of sunshine in a year that needed some good news.

Davis wrote, “During the past 12 months ACTF, the working arm of the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation, has developed strong relationships with Treasury OIG, Secret Service and the different levels of Customs and Border Protection. The efforts have resulted in the removal of over one million dollars in counterfeit coins and precious metals.”

That is good news. Law enforcement officials are finally taking notice of the problems caused by counterfeiting and are acting on them by enforcing existing laws. The hobby owes an immense debt to Davis and the former head of the ACTF, Beth Deisher, for meeting with government officials and explaining why counterfeit coins harm the hobby and the nation.

As longtime collectors and dealers know, tons (maybe literally) of counterfeits are in the marketplace. Reputable and knowledgeable dealers avoid selling such materials, but online sellers, flea market merchants and others are common purveyors of these bogus goods.

China is a major home of counterfeiters, thanks to lax laws there that permit forgers to make and sell counterfeit coins of all kinds (except for China’s own coinage). Counterfeiters even make counterfeit grading service slabs in which to insert their counterfeit coins.

The new year should offer new initiatives and products aimed at subverting counterfeiting. American Eagle coins are due to get an upgrade later in the year with the addition of anti-counterfeiting technology; we eagerly await what the United States Mint comes up with to apply technology to the coins themselves, as is already done by some world mints. Private firms like Amos Media Co. (parent of Coin World) and Professional Coin Grading Service are developing and offering technology to be offered within slabs that will hopefully make counterfeit slabs a rarity.

The fight must continue until collectors can buy coins with confidence.
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