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The Collectible Coin Protection Act
Chairman Gold and Silver Political Action Committee
Several numismatic leaders joined the Gold and Silver Political Action Committee (GSPAC) and met with congressional leaders and their staff on Capital Hill to discuss the importance of the recently introduced Collectible Coin Protection Act of 2012 (H.R. 5977). Provisions in this bill will provide strength to the Hobby Protection Act by adding language clearly and specifically targeting those “providing substantial assistance or support to any manufacturer, importer, or seller” of counterfeit items.
“We need to bring that law into the 21st century because of new issues that were not even contemplated decades ago, such as fake coins now being sold inside counterfeit holders fraudulently made to resemble the genuine, sonically sealed holders that reputable rare coin authentication companies use,” said Barry Stuppler, chairman and founder of GSPAC. “Counterfeit coins are costing unsuspecting buyers millions of dollars.”
The Hobby Protection Act was enacted in 1973 and amended in 1988. It requires manufacturers and importers of imitation numismatic items to mark them plainly and permanently with the word, “COPY.” In recent years there have been numerous reports of high quality replica coins entering the marketplace without that designation. While most of these coins are coming from China, there have been reports of counterfeiters working out of Turkey and areas of the Middle East.
To rally support for the bill, GSPAC held its first ever Rare Coin and Bullion Industry Congressional Awareness Event on June 27, 2012. Representatives of Dillon Gage Group, Industry Council For Tangible Assets (ICTA), Numismatic Guarantee Corporation (NGC), Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and Stack’s Bowers Galleries provided presentations showing members of congress and their staff the many products and services the rare coin community offers. Congress members were also shown examples of counterfeit coins that U.S. collectors bought thinking they were genuine.
The Collectible Coin Protection Act of 2012 was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Fred Upton (D-Michigan), Chairman of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Under the leadership of the Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA), the numismatic community and GSPAC was able to work with key representatives to craft the Collectible Coin Protection Act so that it will strengthen the law and to gain support from members of congress.
Also working with the numismatic community as a political consultant is former Louisiana Congressman Jimmy Hayes. Hayes says that the bill would significantly improve the Hobby Protection Act as follows:
- Include the distribution and sale of items not properly marked as being a COPY;
- Expands the provisions to include “any person who provides substantial assistance or support to any manufacturer, importer, or seller” who knowingly engages in any act or practice that violates the Act;
- Expands the ability for those who were sold counterfeit items to include the counterfeiter, their agent in the United States, or anyone who knowing “transacts business” in violation of this Act;
- Extend trademark violations and remedies to help third-party certification services protect against counterfeit holders.
These new provisions will allow collectors, dealers, and grading services to bring legal actions that are much more effective, with much stronger remedies than previously existed. It will allow those harmed to work with the Justice Department to bring criminal actions, where applicable.
“The existing law only deals with the manufacture and import of counterfeit items,” said Armen Vartian attorney for PCGS. “When the Hobby Protection Act was created, it was thought that this was all that was necessary.” However, with the growth of the Internet and its international reach, the proposed update, “helps deal with retail turnover.”
ICTA and GSPAC asks that every coin dealer, collector, and investor contact their member of congress and ask that they co-sponsor and vote for the Collectible Coin Protection Act, H.R. 5977. Contacting your member of congress will let them know that the numismatic community supports this Act and that their support is important.
To find the name and contact information for your local member of the United States Congress, visit house.gov and enter your Zip Code at the top right of the page. When you contact your representative, you should mention that the bill is revenue neutral and will not require additional appropriations. The bill will go a long way in combating counterfeit rare coins in the marketplace, saving collectors and investors millions of dollars in fraudulent transactions.
Scott Barman, Political Coordinator for the Gold & Silver Political Action Committee, contributed to this story.
Sponsors of the Bill
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX21)
Co-Sponsors of the Bill
Rep. Frederick “Fred” Upton (R-MI6)
Rep. Peter “Pete” Sessions (R-TX32) – Joined July 12, 2012
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA30) – Joined July 17, 2012
Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA6) – Joined July 19, 2012
Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA28) – Joined August 1 , 2012
Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA7) – Joined August 2, 2012
Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI8) – Joined September 11, 2012
Rep. Patrick “Pat” Tiberi (R-OH12) – Joined September 11, 2012
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO5) – Joined September 13, 2012
Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX24) – Joined September 13, 2012
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA27) – Joined September 20, 2012
Please visit http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr5977
for the latest information on the Collectible Coin Protection Act.
The purpose of the Gold & Silver PAC is to identify, support and endorse candidates who understand the important issues that affect our community and oppose those who don’t. Paid for and authorized by the Gold and Silver PAC. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.