US Coins

Numerous websites, social media pages peddling counterfeit material

“Oliver,” a coin collector from Texas, received fake silver and gold coins from a seller in China. Chinese counterfeiters flood the web with their products, advertising under multiple company names.

Image courtesy of the ACEF.

Chinese counterfeiters are posting countless advertisements for their wares on more than 300 websites, including Amazon and Facebook, according to a press release distributed by Donn Pearlman & Associates on behalf of the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation.

The ACEF reports that it is working with law enforcement to combat the counterfeiters and raise awareness among consumers, collectors, and numismatic industry professionals regarding the glut of counterfeit material offered online.

The ACEF’s press release shares the story of “Oliver,” a Texas-based collector who purchased what he thought was an American Eagle gold bullion coin and 50 American Eagle silver bullion coins for around $1,000; the market value of those coins is roughly four times that amount.

“I started suspecting they were not genuine when tracking information for my orders was in Chinese,” said Oliver, quoted in the press release. “That was a red flag. I also saw the same advertisement online with the same format and same pricing but with different company names. When I received the orders, I thought I had gotten taken.”

Doug Davis, the ACEF’s director of anti-counterfeiting and a former Texas police chief, is quoted in the press release explaining, “The counterfeiters and their accomplices are heavily marketing fakes through social media and online ‘coin dealer’ websites. We now are tracking more than 300 websites selling fakes, many of them apparently operated by the same individuals or companies, but often under different company names. Some even copy the exact wording and actual photos from legitimate dealers’ web pages.”

He specifically mentioned Amazon and Facebook as major websites or platforms on which the counterfeiters’ ads appear.

Chinese counterfeits of U.S. and world coins with bullion or numismatic value have been appearing in the market for decades, some so well-executed or sophisticated that they have been certified and encapsulated by third-party grading services; others are offered on also-counterfeit third-party grading service holders.

In 2008, Coin World published a major expose of the deluge of counterfeit coins and the counterfeiting industry in China, and anti-counterfeiting advocates like the ACEF work continually to raise awareness among consumers and law enforcement. The press release relating “Oliver’s” story is a part of that outreach.

The ACEF is an offshoot of the Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force. Established in January 2017 under the authority of the Industry Council for Tangible Assets, the ACTF and its director of anti-counterfeiting position “transitioned” into the nonprofit ACEF in Nov. 2018; the ACEF has seven working groups dedicated to different areas of numismatics. Former Coin World editor Beth Deisher served as the first director of anti-counterfeiting; Doug Davis was named director of anti-counterfeiting on Sept. 1, 2019.

ICTA, which rebranded itself as the National Coin and Bullion Association in early 2021, was incorporated in July 1983 and engages in a range of collector- and investor-focused lobbying, education, and anti-counterfeiting efforts. It is a 501(c)(6) tax-exempt trade association.

The ACTF and ACEF have both worked with and helped to inform law enforcement about the counterfeiting issue. The press release states that the ACEF relayed information about “Oliver’s” experience to the Secret Service “as part of the organization’s ongoing assistance to federal, state, and local law enforcement as well as prosecutors to fight counterfeiting and the sales of counterfeit coins.” Collectors and investors can report counterfeits to the ACEF and receive email notification about new counterfeits from the ACEF.

In the press release, Davis strongly encouraged collectors and investors unsure of their authentication skills to purchase coins only from reputable dealers, ideally members of the Professional Numismatists’ Guild and members of the Accredited Precious Metals Dealer program. Both the PNG and APMD program have strict codes of ethics concerning the buying and selling of numismatic merchandise.

The press release also solicited donations, which are tax-deductible. For additional information, contact the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation by phone at 817-723-7231, by email info@ACEF, or visit the website at

“Oliver” is, according to the press release, working with his credit card company to reverse the charges for the counterfeit material. He shared his story with ACEF to assist them in identifying counterfeits and informing the public and investigators.

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