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Major Burglary Coin Shop Gurnee, Illinois
Gurnee, Illinois police investigators are investigating the night time burglary of Harbor Coin. The suspects broke into the building cut open the safe and removed cash, silver, gold and rare coins.
The following is a list of items stolen:
1350 1ozt American Silver Eagles, 350 1ozt Silver Canadian Maples,
250 1ozt Silver Canadian Wildlife Moose and Bison,
25 1ozt Silver Canadian Wildlife Wolf,
40 10ozt Silver Bars,
320 1ozt Generic Silver Bullion Rounds-Private Mint,
40 1ozt Englehard Silver Rounds,
5 1ozt Gold American Eagles,
3 1ozt Gold Canadian Maples,
1 1ozt Gold South African Krugerand,
165 DWT 14k Gold Jewelry Scrap,
150 DWT 10k Gold Jewelry Scrap,
25 DWT 16k Dental Gold Scrap,
400+ Modern Silver Commemoratives Dated 1986-2010,
1799 F15 PCGS Bust $ Serial #20663071,
1799/8 F15 PCGS Bust,
$600 Face Value 90% US Half Dollar Coins,
$280 Face Value 90% US Quarters,
3 1885CC GSA Silver Dollars,
4 1884CC GSA Silver Dollars,
22 NGC PF 69 Black Retro Holder 2012 2 Pc. Silver Eagle Sets,
13 PCGS PF70 First Strike 2012 2pc Silver Eagle Sets,
22 NGC PF70 Early Release 2012 2pc Silver Eagle Sets,
33 NGC PF70 2012 2 pc Silver Eagle Sets,
2 2001 Buffalo 2 pc Commemorative Sets,
1 2001 BU Buffalo Commemorative,
1 1883CC NGC Banded MS64 GSA Silver,
1 1883CC NGC Banded MS65 GSA Silver,
1 1884CC NGC Banded MS64 GSA Silver,
1 1884CC NGC Banded MS63 GSA Silver.
Anyone with information should contact: Doug Davis 817-723-7231 or Doug@numismaticcrimes.org
Counterfeit bullion: a plague on the market
By Paul Gilkes | Coin World Staff | 02-18-13
Article first published in March 04, 2013, U.S. Collectibles section of Coin World
Among the counterfeit Panda 1-ounce silver bullion coins passed at Coins+ in Cincinnati were these two pieces, dated 2003 and 2009.
Counterfeit silver bullion coins, rounds and bars have plagued the numismatic marketplace for several years, but some in the hobby are seeing what might be a surge of some fakes.
Counterfeits of some of the bullion pieces have been around for a number of years, though increasing numbers are showing up, and manufacturing methods have made some pieces more highly deceptive.
Over the past month, in its weekly issues, Coin World has reported on counterfeit American Prospector 1-ounce silver rounds being offered in the United States and fake 2011 American Eagle silver bullion coins surfacing in Canada. The latest report is from Cincinnati, of fake 1-ounce Chinese Panda bullion coins.
While the attempted sellers of such fake bullion items often go untouched by authorities, not all do. Police in Denton, Texas, have arrested a local man on eight counts associated with the sale of fake American Prospector rounds at pawn shops and jewelry stores in that area.
Regardless of design, many purported silver pieces that have duped collectors and dealers alike have been found to contain no silver at all. Most have been composed of various concentrations of copper, nickel and zinc in place of the .999 fine silver found in most genuine silver bullion items.
The deception is often uncovered only after a sale has taken place, when destructive testing of individual pieces reveals the absence of any precious metals. By that time, however, the seller is nowhere to be found.
Some pieces are offered as novelty items and advertised by the original sellers as fabricated from base metals plated with .999 fine silver, but carry designs suggesting a composition of pure silver. In secondary sales, an unsuspecting buyer, unaware that a piece is plated base metal, may buy it as genuine silver and never learn of its authenticity until years later when preparing to resell the item.
Confronted with the ever-increasing proliferation of counterfeits of its products in the market, officials at Sunshine Minting Inc. during the past year took action by rebranding all of the firm’s precious metals products and producing them with anti-counterfeiting bullion security devices.
Sunshine Minting Inc., in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, is now producing its new bullion products bearing the Mint Mark SI security technology.
Sunshine Minting is a private minting facility that strikes and sells its own brand of gold and silver products in various weights, each bearing the company name. Sunshine is also the primary supplier of planchets to the U.S. Mint for silver American Eagles.
Tom Power, president and chief executive officer of Sunshine, said Feb. 13 that the company has been assertive in trying to remove counterfeit Sunshine Minting products from the marketplace and prevent any further sale.
When offerings are noted on eBay, Alibaba and through other venues, Power said the company will take the necessary steps to protect the Sunshine brand. Power said eBay has been extremely cooperative in removing such items for sale.
Many of the fake Sunshine products appearing on the market bearing older designs have been found to be struck in either solely base metals or base metals plated with a thin coating of precious metal.
“Sunshine Minting, Inc. does not manufacture nor sell our bullion products as ‘silver-plated’ or ‘clad,’ ” Power said. “These are counterfeit versions that are being illegally represented as SMI products when, in fact, they are not manufactured by Sunshine Minting. SMI is taking every legal measure that we can to thwart this influx of counterfeit product and protect our reputation as the leading manufacturer of bullion products.”
Sunshine’s newly branded bullion products are being struck containing Mint Mark SI, a “Scrambled Indicia” security feature that was originally developed for the printing industry by Graphic Security Systems Corp., located in Lake Worth, Fla.
Sunshine is the first mint to develop this technology for use on bullion products, according to Sunshine.
Sunshine’s hallmark, featuring an eagle in flight with the sun and rays in the background, dominates the new obverse design of its bullion products. The weight and fineness are also stamped incuse on the obverse.
Gold bars are certified to be .9999 fine, ranging in size from 1 gram to 100 grams; are serialized; and are housed in specialized Tamper Evident Packaging. Silver bars and rounds will feature the Sunshine Minting hallmark and are certified to be .999 fine and range in size from a half ounce to 100 ounces.
The Mint Mark SI security devices are located in the middle of the reverse of each of the newly produced bullion products. The security devices are invisible to the naked eye and are readable only by using a special decoder.
The decoder, approximately the size of a credit card, reveals the primary security device when the decoder is passed over the central circular device.
Microprinting readable through magnification appears around the top and bottom border of the central device, appearing as MINT MARK SI.
Passing the decoder over the central reverse design reveals the first security device, appearing as VALID, between the MINT MARK SI microprinting. Turning the decoder 90 degrees counterclockwise reveals the second security device in the same location, with the word VALID replaced with a sun and rays motif.
The security devices are also visible using an adaptor made for the iPhone.
Power said approximately 1 million Sunshine Mint bullion pieces containing the security devices have been introduced into the market over the past six months.
It is believed that many of the counterfeit silver bullion pieces offered online and elsewhere have infiltrated the marketplace from suppliers in China.
A website at http://theeyeballkid.hubpages.com/hub/Fake-silver-bars-and-coins details and demonstrates how to detect some of the counterfeit pieces that have popped up intermittently. Listed pieces include fakes of 1-ounce .999 fine silver Pan American bars, Scottsdale bars, Sunshine Mint bars, American Prospector rounds, Chinese Panda silver coins, Australian Lunar Dragon bullion coins and Canadian Maple Leaf bullion coins, as well as generic 1-ounce silver bars.
Officials at Coins+ in Cincinnati reported that, on Feb. 5, the firm purchased 42 of what were believed to be Chinese Panda 1-ounce bullion coins of various dates from 2003 through 2011.
Later, after the seller had left the store, an acid test was conducted, determining the pieces in the lot were counterfeit, according to Coins+.
In addition to acid tests, one can also check specifications for weight and diameter, and conduct a ring test against a genuine piece. It can also be useful to compare design elements.
A genuine Panda 1-ounce .999 fine silver bullion coin should measure 40 millimeters in diameter and 2.95 millimeters thick and weigh 31.101 grams.
A 2009-dated counterfeit among those fakes sold to Coins+ measured 39.72 millimeters in diameter, had a thickness ranging from 3.91 to 3.97 millimeters depending on where the measurement was taken on the rim, and weighed 31.1844 grams. A genuine 2013 Panda silver bullion coin emits a high-pitched ring when tested. The 2009 counterfeit emits almost no ring.
Many silver bullion coins and rounds bear vertical edge reeding. All of the fakes Coins+ purchased had edge reeding positioned diagonally.
However, orientation of edge reeding is not an absolute diagnostic; the genuine 2013 silver Pandas bear diagonal edge reeding.
Orientation of edge reeding has varied on the edge of silver Pandas depending on the year of issue, according to William Graessle, vice president of sales for PandaAmerica in Torrance, Calif.
The obverse design of genuine Panda silver coins depicting a Panda motif changes annually. The reverse depicts the 15th century Hall of Prayer for Abundant Harvest in the Temple of Heaven; while the central device on the reverse has remained the same, the reverse treatment, placement of other elements and width of rim have changed over the years. The first version of the reverse was used from 1989 to 1991; the second reverse was used from 1992 to 1999; and the third reverse has been used since 2000.
Depending on the year of issue and the design, which details are frosted and which are mirrored like Proof varies.
Graessle said the genuine Panda silver coins generally exhibit heavier frosting on the devices than is seen on the fake pieces.
A listing of varieties on the genuine versions can be found at the “Panda Varieties” link from the PandaAmerica website at www.pandaamerica.com/.
Jordan Alan Pettit, 26, whose address is listed on bond records as Richardson, Texas, but which investigators report as Garland, faces seven individual misdemeanor counts of deceptive business practices filed by the Denton Police Department and one count of deceptive business practices filed by the Denton County Sheriff’s Department. Pettit remains free on bond pending court appearances. No court dates to answer any of the eight charges had been set as of Feb. 13.
A spokesman for the Denton Police Department told Coin World Feb. 12 that Pettit is alleged to have passed fake American Prospector rounds at several local pawn shops and jewelry stores.
Pettit is alleged to have passed fake rounds five times at one pawn shop by pawning the items for cash, then not returning to pick up the merchandise, according to the police department spokesman. Employees at one jewelry store did not realize they had been duped until they decided to try to melt one of the Prospector pieces to use the metal for jewelry repair, and the color of the metal was wrong when heat was applied, according to the police.
Counterfeit American Prospector silver rounds have been in the market for a number of years, but began appearing in larger numbers in 2012.
Examples have been offered online on eBay, and Coin World has received recent reports of pieces being offered over the counter to dealers in the Bay City/Saginaw areas of Michigan.
Comparison of an example of a fake American Prospector round to a genuine example shows attributes that can be used in authentication. The counterfeit piece used for this comparison was purchased by an unidentified dealer through an eBay sale and provided to Coin World by Texas dealer Mike Fuljenz. The genuine example was supplied to Coin World by Dillon Gage, a worldwide bullion firm based in Dallas. Comparison of the two pieces yielded the following diagnostic attributes:
➤ The counterfeit exhibits frosted devices against Proof fields while the genuine piece has the duller, uniform surface texture that one normally finds on a strictly bullion piece.
➤ The genuine piece has a higher, pure ring when tapped with a hard object while perched on the end of one’s fingers, while the fake round has a duller sound.
➤ The genuine piece is 40mm in diameter and weighs 31.103 grams; the fake piece is slightly smaller in diameter but weighs 31.184 grams.
➤ On the genuine obverse, the contents of the prospector’s pan and the pan itself are more defined than on the fake. In the photo illustrations, notice the differences in the rendition of the water movement, shoreline details and their placement in relation to the inscriptions.
➤ On the reverse, the big E design device on the fake has a somewhat flat frosting, while the surface of the E on the genuine piece is pebbled. The inside top of the G in the inscription ENGELHARD is notched on the genuine piece; the G is rounded out on the fake.
➤ The longitude and latitude lines of the globe logo are tight to, but not touching, the big E device on the genuine piece; on the fake, the lines are distant from the E.
➤ The outer border on the globe is complete on the genuine piece, but broken just above the N in the word ONE on the fake.
The Feb. 18 Coin World reported the appearance of counterfeit 2011 American Eagle silver bullion coins in Toronto. Results of a spectrographic analysis of one of the counterfeit American Eagles determined a composition of 50.4753 percent nickel; 39.3614 percent copper; 10.1163 percent zinc; and 0.0271 percent gold.
In comparison, spectrographic analysis of a counterfeit 1984 American Prospector round from among those obtained in 2012 on eBay indicated a composition of 60 percent copper, 39 percent zinc and 1 percent nickel.
Numismatic Guaranty Corp. has published online articles devoted to what its grading staff has encountered among questionable bullion pieces submitted for grading, archived at www.ngccoin.com/news/Landing.aspx?SeriesID=7. ■
Private mint to pay FTC $750,000 settlement
By Jeff Starck | 01-29-13
Article first published in January-2013, U.S. Collectibles section of Coin World
In 2011, the United States Mint began selling official commemorative medals commemorating the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
An issuer of commemorative coins and medals marking the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001, has agreed to pay $750,000 to settle Federal Trade Commission charges.
The firm, National Collector’s Mint, faced four charges of violation of the FTC Act and one charge of violating the Hobby Protection Act. The settlement is not an admission that laws were violated.
According to the FTC, Sept. 11, 2001, anniversary coins from Liberia sold by National Collector’s Mint are not sanctioned or endorsed by the United States government, and therefore are a violation of the Hobby Protection Act because they lack the word “copy.”
National Collector’s Mint is a Delaware-based corporation with offices in Port Chester, N.Y.
In a complaint for permanent injunction filed in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, the FTC claims that NCM engaged in “deceptive marketing and sales of coins and collectibles” and NCM “prey[ed] on consumers’ desire to purchase purportedly valuable coins and collectibles.”
As part of the settlement, which remains subject to court approval, the NCM agrees not to misrepresent material facts about its products and services, and to clearly disclose, before a customer consents to pay for anything, the total costs and fees, any refund policy, and any limitation or condition that applies.
Coin, medal comparison
The complaint cites a noncirculating legal tender dollar coin issued by the firm on behalf of Liberia with a legend declaring 10TH ANNIVERSARY SEPTEMBER 11TH COMMEMORATIVE, that was sold for $29.95.
The obverse features a three-piece design, with each of the three pieces separately struck and then assembled. The main planchet into which the other two pieces are inserted depicts a section of the New York City skyline. The separate pieces rendered of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and the USS New York are made from copper and clad in 14 milligrams of .999 fine silver reported by NCM to have been recovered from Ground Zero.
The reverse bears REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA on a base below an eagle, with the denomination ONE DOLLAR along the bottom border.
Advertising for the coin suggested it was “exclusively authorized” and paid “homage to America’s heroes and remember[s] the day that changed America forever.”
The FTC complaint cited the potential for consumer confusion over the National Collector’s Mint’s products and official products of the United States.
The U.S. Congress authorized a national commemorative medal to mark the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, and the United States Mint began selling the medal (in two Mint mark versions) in June 2011. Sales of the medal included a $10 surcharge per medal to be directed to the National September 11th Memorial and Museum.
The complaint notes that “defendants have sold and continue to sell their 9/11 commemorative at the same time that the U.S. Mint sells the original medal.”
The FTC calls the Liberian coins “imitation numismatic items” as defined by the Hobby Protection Act, which states that “‘imitation numismatic item’ means an item which purports to be, but in fact is not, an original numismatic item or which is a reproduction, copy, or counterfeit of an original numismatic item.”
Because of “consumer confusion,” the FTC claimed, the United States Mint published a consumer alert warning customers that “the only official United States coin or medal to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks is the ‘National September 11th Memorial & Museum Commemorative Medal.’”
The FTC cited National Collector’s Mint for what it termed a “misleading and deceptive” ordering and return process, generating four violations of the FTC Act.
National Collectors Mint was charged with failure to disclose material aspects of the refund policy; mailing unordered merchandise; failure to disclose material refund policy terms; and failure to disclose total costs.
The FTC claimed the company used an automated telephone system that led consumers to receive merchandise that they had not ordered, “despite their repeated attempts to decline additional items.” NCM also allegedly “fail[ed] to disclose, or to disclose adequately, material terms and limitations of their guarantee and return policy.”
Consumers were unable in many cases to reach an NCM customer service representative.
According to the FTC, the National Collector’s Mint has generated more than $22 million in sales from more than 230 “varieties” of Sept. 11-related coins and other collectibles since 2008.
NCM advertising for the 9/11 commems included the disclaimer, “Not affiliated, licensed or endorsed by the US Gov’t or the US Mint.”
The 9/11 commemorative pieces offered by NCM were struck on Proof planchets of copper layered with 14 milligrams of 24-karat gold. ■
5-Rupee Counterfeiters Arrested
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This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
An unnamed police officer is quoted as saying, “The arrests were made based on a tip-off that a gang led by Luthra was supplying fake coins to people in Delhi and the NCR for several months. We were told that the gang would travel from Ghaziabad to Sarai Kale Khan ISBT to deliver a huge consignment of these to a man named Pankaj on Thursday evening.”
The Indian publication Business Standard reported on Nov. 30 that “Six packets containing 5,000 counterfeit coins of 5-rupee denomination, having [a] face value of 1.5 lakh rupees, were recovered from the car in which they had come to deliver the coins.”
It doesn’t appear this is simply some local gang trying to cash in on bogus coins. According to the Dec. 1 The Times of India newspaper, “Two years after the Lodhi Colony police busted an international racket circulating fake coins from across [the] border, the crime branch has found evidence of the same gang at work with the re-arrest of its linchpin.”
The article continues, quoting police spokesman Bhism Singh as saying: “With the arrest of three persons, we have busted an international network of criminals involved in minting counterfeit Indian coins in Nepal and supplying the fake currency in India. A total of 309,000 counterfeit coins of 5-rupee denomination have been seized. A [Chevrolet] Tavera used in the transportation and distribution of these coins has been seized.”
Singh told the newspaper the coins were originating from Birganj in Nepal. He is quoted as saying, “Fake coins worth 1 crore rupees have entered the country via eastern UP yet again after 2010. We are in talks with the Reserve Bank of India to identify these coins. The gang is headed by Sweekar Luthra who was arrested in Delhi along with his brother two years ago.”
The article then identifies the same people named in the Hindustan Times article, calling Kumar “a master thief with 29 cases against him.”
This counterfeiting ring might suggest the intrigue someone would like to read in a mystery novel or see in a movie. According to police, Sweekar confessed he used the counterfeit coins to finance residential construction in Tilak Nagar in collaboration with what the police termed as “a political family.”
Singh continued, “The gangsters are helped by railway employees and customs officials near [the] Nepal border. Pankaj, a resident of Shakarpur in Delhi, is a supplier of fake coins. Rajendra Sakia, Upkar Luthra who is Sweekar’s brother, Raj Kumar, and Pankaj are the gang members yet to be arrested.”
There is an ominous slant to this counterfeiting ring as well. Police indicated the foreign link became clear once they realized the similarities to the previous arrests.
A source that chose to remain anonymous said, “Their aim is to destabilize the economy. Such small denominations do not attract the attention of law enforcers.”
Central States Convention Bans Liberty Dollars
By Kevin Foley on December 17, 2012 7:35 AM
So-called Liberty Dollars, the creation of Bernard Von NotHaus and the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and the Internal Revenue Code, more commonly known by the acronym NORFED, will not be part of the April 24-27, 2013 74th Anniversary Convention of the Central States Numismatic Society in Schaumburg, Illinois, according to a statement issued by convention General Chairman Kevin Foley.
In making his announcement, Foley said, “Although this alternative monetary instrument has been available on coin convention bourse floors since its 1998 introduction, and has from time to time been the subject of educational exhibit area displays, the 2011 federal court conviction of Mr. von NotHaus in connection with his role as what one numismatic press outlet characterized as the “monetary architect” of the Liberty Dollar on the basis that the Liberty Dollar is counterfeit, has led us to adopt a policy to exclude such items from our bourse floor and educational exhibit area for our Schaumburg and future conventions.”
Foley added, “While we are aware that the underlying criminal conviction of Mr. Von NotHaus has been the subject of considerable controversy and criticism, the fact remains that the government agency charged with the enforcement of counterfeiting laws, the Secret Service, has issued a determination that the Liberty Dollars are, in fact, counterfeit. As a numismatic convention sponsor we have no basis to treat this product any differently than we would other monetary instruments so classified by the Secret Service. We also take note of the fact that eBay will no longer accept listings on its website for the Liberty Dollar and has recently initiated a process of cancelling site listings that offer the Liberty Dollar. Until such time as the Secret Service adopts a position contrary to its current findings with respect to the Liberty Dollar, this is a product that will no longer be available in our convention bourse area nor will educational displays including it be permitted.”
CSNS Secretary Jerry Lebo will serve as Bourse Chairman for the CSNS convention. Dealers interested in bourse space should contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information about the society and its convention is available at www.centralstates.info.
Kevin Foley: (414) 807-0116
Central States Numismatic Society
P.O. Box 589
Milwaukee, WI 53201
In the early morning hours of September 17, 2012 unknown person or persons burglarized the offices of Mid-American Rare Coin Gallery, Inc. A quantity of United States gold coins and currency was stolen.
Below is a partial list of what was stolen:
60-70 United States gold coins in black Coin World snap lock holders (slabs)
Includes gold dollars, quarter eagles, half eagles, eagles, and double eagles
(2) 500$ small bills
Assorted United States currency -
Small size and large size
Assorted Smithsonian Restrike private issue gold coins- NGC holders
5 oz gold Union (very rare, with mintage of less than 500)
1 oz gold Union
1 oz gold Longacre Double eagle
2 oz gold Port Philips Kangaroo
¼ oz Platinum Confederate restrike
1 oz Silver Union
1 oz medal for opening of Smithsonian exhibit
1 oz silver eagle PCGS souvenir
Misc gold coins
A $5,000 reward is being offered for recovery of the stolen items and information leading to the arrest and conviction of parties responsible.
Anyone being offered these or similar coins should call:
“Hotel Buyer” Scams Bring Federal, State, and Local Criminal Charges
By Patrick A Heller on August 15, 2012 7:21 AM
By Patrick A. Heller
Commentary on Precious Metals Prepared for CoinWeek.com
On Tuesday morning, CBS News reported on the cessation of operations by THR Associates, which ran perhaps the largest “hotel buyer” operation in the US over the past few years. To view the story, Click Here.
In an earlier report in May about this company, CBS investigators in six cities experienced multiple occasions where their secret shoppers were lied to about the quality of coins and jewelry that they offered for sale. Even in the instances where the buyers correctly identified the merchandise, there were multiple instances where the buyers then offered less than 25% of the price at which the items could be liquidated on the wholesale markets.
Since then, THR Associates has suspended operations. So many of the checks written to sellers have bounced that the total exceeds a million dollars. There are federal, state, and local investigations and prosecutions in process, mostly to do with lying to customers about the quality of the merchandise they brought in for an offer to purchase.
At the ANA show in Philadelphia last week, I learned that another major “hotel buyer” company had discontinued operations over the past two months. The reason given was that the volume of merchandise being bought was not sufficiently profitable, even at the low rates the company generally paid, to cover the advertising and travel costs to set up hotel buying events.
The appearance of this story once again brings to the forefront the question of what potential sellers should do to seek the maximum prices for their coins, paper money, and jewelry they are considering selling. I wrote about this subject at length a couple years ago at . In this article, I offer sixteen tips on how to encourage buyers to offer their best prices and warn about possible scams to avoid.
The CBS story offered three tips on how sellers can protect themselves. The first was for people to realize what they have. Not all “gold” jewelry is solid gold. Also, not all gold is solid pure 24 karat. Some jewelry is gold-filled, which is an extremely low purity kind of gold, usually less than 5%, or gold-plated, which has almost no gold. In the US, most jewelry sold is either 10 karat or 14 karat purity, indicating 10/24ths or 14/24ths of the weight is solid gold. Jewelry marked 8 karat tends to come from Germany; if marked 9 karat it will tend to be from Great Britain. Jewelry marked 18 karat is worth more than less pure pieces. Much of the jewelry that comes from the Middle East or Far East is very high purity, between 21 karat to 24 karat.
The CBS story recommends first going to a jeweler who does not purchase jewelry to seek help identifying which jewelry pieces are solid precious metals and the relative purity of those that are. In the current market, there are so many jewelers who purchase gold jewelry that it probably still makes sense to visit at least two companies just to find out what you have. Once you have a rough idea of the purity of the items you own, then you should visit at least two places for purchase offers. I recommend visiting at least three places.
When my company has commissioned secret shopper teams to compare prices offered by local competitors, we have found a wide range of prices offered by different buyers. By seeking multiple offers, you are likely to find a strong buyer and realize a higher price for your goods.
In my experience, coin dealers frequently offer stronger buying prices than jewelers or pawnbrokers. I think the reason this happens is that coin dealers normally work on tighter profit margins than businesses in other industries. Therefore, coin dealers consider purchasing gold jewelry to be a high-profit margin niche, even if they offer higher prices than competitors. On the other hand, jewelers and pawnbrokers would have to work on tighter than normal profit margins to be competitive buyers and not all of them are willing to do so.
In November 2009, Consumer Reports wrote an article on selling jewelry where it suggested that a fair offer was one that represented at least 50% of the intrinsic scrap metal value. When Sears and Kay Jewelers were purchasing jewelry from the public, they tended to offer 61-62% of gold value. In my mind, a seller should seek to realize at least 70-80% of the value of the gold content.
When selling coins, it is possible to find a lot of information about metal value of gold or silver pieces. For instance, you can go to http://www.coininfo.com/calculators/ to get an idea of the current “melt” value of coins or gold jewelry that you might have. There are other sources that provide similar information.
If readers have other consumer protection suggestions other than those described in the CBS News report or in my CoinUpdate.com column, please add them.
Patrick A. Heller was honored with the American Numismatic Association 2012 Harry J. Forman Numismatic Dealer of the Year Award. He owns Liberty Coin Service in Lansing, Michigan and writes Liberty’s Outlook, a monthly newsletter on rare coins and precious metals subjects. Past newsletter issues can be viewed at http://www.libertycoinservice.com. Other commentaries are available at Numismaster (under “News & Articles) . His award-winning radio show “Things You ‘Know’ That Just Aren’t So, And Important News You Need To Know” can be heard at 8:45 AM Wednesday and Friday mornings on 1320-AM WILS in Lansing (which streams live and becomes part of the audio and text archives posted at http://www.1320wils.com.
Two Dead, One Injured After Coin Robbery
|By Numismatic News
March 07, 2012
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This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory experts were going over a damaged safe looking for evidence that might connect it to the robbery-killings that left two dead and one critically injured in Gonzales, La.
Deputies found three people Feb. 18 with their throats slashed in their Gonzales home.
Richard Irwin Marchand, 74, was dead, along with his stepson, Douglas Dooley, 50. Marchand’s wife, Shirley, 72, remains in critical condition in a hospital, Chief Deputy Tony Bacala said.
The apparent motive, Bacala said, was a safe containing a collection of gold coins valued at an estimated $500,000, which was taken from the home. None of the other valuables in the house were missing, he said.
The Advocate newspaper reports Livingston Parish authorities recovered a safe Feb. 20 that matches descriptions family members gave of the missing safe that contained the gold coins. Sheriff Jeff Wiley said deputies have not been able to positively identify it as Irwin Marchand’s safe.
The Numismatic Crime Information Center released a partial listing of coins stolen in the Gonzales Louisiana double homicide case.
1855-S $20 Liberty PCGS AU-55
1857-S $20 Liberty PCGS AU-55
1840-O $5 Coronet NGC AU-58
1908-D $10 Indian PCGS MS-62
1843-O $10 Coronet PCGS XF-45
1906-S $20 Liberty NGC MS-61
1840-O $5 Gold Coronet NGC AU-55
1849 $21/2 Coronet NGC AU-58
1858-O $10 Coronet NGC AU-58
1878-S $10 Coronet NGC AU-58
1892-CC $20 Liberty NGC AU-59
1914-D 21/2 Indian NGC MS-65
1923(2) $20 Saint NGC MS-63
1907-D $20 Liberty PCGS MS-61
1905-S $5 Coronet NGC AU-53
1893 $10 Coronet PCGS MS-62
1895 $10 Coronet PCGS MS-61
1853(2) $1 Gold Coronet PCGS AU-58
1915-S (2) $20 Saint NGC MS-63
1900(2) $10 Coronet NGC MS-62, -61
Any dealer or collector with information should contact the Sheriff’s Office at (225) 621-4636, Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867 or Doug Davis of NCIC at (817) 723-7231.
NCA RECOVERS MORE THAN $1 MILLION FOR BUYERS OF OVERPRICED COINS
By CoinWeek on February 7, 2012 5:11 PM
The Numismatic Consumer Alliance, Inc. (NCA) helped recover more than $1.1 million in the last eight months of 2011 for victims of unscrupulous coin sales, according to John Albanese, founder and president of the not-for-profit watchdog organization.
NCA intervention in eight cases led to settlements totaling $1,114,200 for buyers who unwittingly purchased grossly overpriced coins, Albanese said
The Alliance has recovered more than $6 million since becoming operational in 2005. That’s an average of more than $1 million per year.
“We’re seeing the same kinds of abuses,” he said. “Fringe grading services slab inferior coins with outrageously high grades – and then these coins are sold to unsuspecting buyers for prices that are far beyond what they’re worth.”
In one particularly egregious instance, a fringe grading service awarded a grade of Mint State-65 to a 1912 half eagle that Albanese said “at best is AU-50 with light cleaning.” This, he said, “converted a $500 coin into a $12,000 coin.”
There have been growing problems lately, Albanese said, with sellers who fail to deliver coins after receiving payment from consumers.
“We’ve been getting more complaints about non-delivery,” he reported. “This amounts to a double ripoff: After paying far too much, the customers don’t even get the overpriced coins.
“Unfortunately,” he said, “non-delivery is something we can’t do much about. We’re not a law-enforcement agency, and we don’t have police powers to investigate this sort of problem. But we try to help out.”
The New Jersey-based Alliance intervenes on behalf of coin scam victims – engaging legal and other professional assistance if necessary – in an effort to counteract and discourage flagrant abuses in coin-related transactions.
In one recent case, for example, NCA received expert assistance from Joseph Presti, a New Hampshire professional numismatist who also is a licensed attorney. Presti’s legal work played a key role in bringing about a recovery of more than $300,000 for an aggrieved consumer.
“This was a case where modern coins were sold for inflated prices,” Presti said. “It’s the sort of thing that frustrates me, because it gives a bad name to coin dealers as a whole, including the great majority who are honest.
“I’ve chosen to make this industry my profession – and there’s a difference between a profession and a job. I treat it as a professional, and I want other dealers to do the same. The work NCA does is wonderful, and I’m proud to be associated with them. I think more dealers need to get involved for the long-term betterment of our business.”
NCA seeks no compensation when it enters a case on behalf of a victimized consumer – even though it frequently incurs substantial legal bills and other expenses in the process. The funds to cover such costs are contributed by coin dealers and others who share its concern about fraud and deception by disreputable coin sellers and the harmful effects these practices can have on the marketplace as a whole.
Cases involving potential abuses are referred to NCA by a number of sources, including hobby organizations, numismatic periodicals, law enforcement agencies, reputable coin dealers, and victims’ families and friends.
Upon learning of such cases, Albanese said, NCA contacts the consumers to determine the validity of their claims and asks for copies of all pertinent paperwork. If it concludes that the buyers were scammed, it contacts the sellers and urges them to make restitution in order to avoid legal action.
Further information about NCA contact:
Numismatic Consumer Alliance, Inc.
Bedminster, New Jersey
or visit the website at , www.stopcoinfraud.org.