Online Coin Auctions
Michael Bugeja, a coin collector since childhood, is a professor at Iowa State University and also a former member of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. He is a nationally known author, journalist and educator.Visit one of our other blogs:
Fake $10 Gold Pulled from Proxibid Auction
Poorly made counterfeit $10 at left next to authentic coin on right.
- Forehead, eyes, lips, nose and chin are different.
- Nose of fake coin is doubled.
- Date on the counterfeit uses wrong font, especially in the awkwardly made "2" in 1912.
- Stars, feathers, ribbon and rim all wrong.
While most counterfeits are from China, this one probably is from the Middle East. As long as the gold content and weight were right, merchants there in decades past had no problem with the design being wrong.
Fortunately in this case I knew the auctioneer and didn't have to make a convincing case about the coin being a counterfeit. The lot was removed. That said, you can see why buying coins online can be a risky venture.
This is why reading Coin World and other numismatic magazines, in addition to books, is vital when deciding to use credit cards in an online auction where typically "all sales are final."
Of course, selling fake coins is an exception because of the US Hobby Protection Act . One of the clauses requires the word "copy" on any numismatic item. This fake coin lacked that designation, too, of course.
If ever you win a counterfeit coin in an online auction, contact the auctioneer and ask for reimbursement. Failing that, go to the online portal's customer service and open a dispute.