William is the managing editor, appointed to that position on May 1,2015, after serving as news editor for many years. He joined the Coin World editorial staff in 1976 as an assistant editor for "Collectors' Clearinghouse." Bill manages the editorial staff and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the print and online editorial content of Coin World. He serves as chief copy editor for all Coin World publications and directs ditorial production aspects of Coin World. He has served as lead copy editor for all books published by Coin World since 1985. Bill began collecting coins at age 10. He is a graduate of Bowling Green State University and majored in journalism.
Numismatic community has its own stalwart ‘crime fighters’
?Talk about fortuitous timing. Within six minutes of each other on the same day, two items popped up in my Outlook Inbox that shine a hopeful light on a dark corner that afflicts our collecting community — numismatic crime.
From Doug Davis, founder and operator of the Numismatic Crime Information Center, comes a message reporting on the good work NCIC does (see his letter on the page opposite this Editorial). Davis is both a coin collector and a professional law enforcement officer. He is currently mayor of Pantego, Texas, and also served as the community’s chief of police.
Thirty years ago, in 1987, he “established the Numismatic Crime Information Center within the Pantego Police Department to assist law enforcement officers in the investigation of crimes against collectors and dealers. Later that same year he was instrumental in assisting the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the development of the National Stolen Coin File,” notes the history of NCIC published at its website.
For two decades, Doug has been instrumental in working with the numismatic and law enforcement communities to report and investigate numismatic crimes. He has a network of more than 6,000 contacts, and whenever a crime is reported to the NCIC, he sends out email alerts to his network. His letter published in this week’s issue includes one of the many success stories NCIC can boast of over the years.
Whenever a reader contacts me with a sad tale that they have been burglarized or robbed of their collection, I do not hesitate to direct them to contact Doug for assistance. I do not have to do this often, fortunately, but it is a relief to know that help is available for the victims of numismatic crime.
A few minutes after I received the email from NCIC, Donn Pearlman, on behalf of the Professional Numismatists Guild, sent me an email announcing that a member dealer of the PNG (who shall remain anonymous by choice) had aided in the arrest of two men who have since been charged with a crime.
According to Pearlman, “A long-time member of the Professional Numismatists Guild ... assisted the Federal Bureau of Investigation in solving a case involving an attempt by suspected thieves to purchase $2 million of gold using a bank check with the forged signature of a deceased New York City woman.”
According to court documents, the two men stand accused of preying “on a deceased New Yorker’s estate by stealing millions in stock certificates from her home. Then, in an attempt to cover their tracks, the defendants allegedly sold the certificates and tried to purchase more than $2 million in gold coins so that the ill-gotten gains couldn’t be traced to them.”
The dealer said the two men who contacted him were unsophisticated about buying gold. “This just smelled bad,” he said. He contacted the FBI who conducted an investigation and eventually made the arrests.
When numismatic crime happens, it is good to know that organizations like NCIC and PNG exist, and are there to help the victims and the authorities who investigate the crimes.