Coin News

Volume 43, Number 9, September 2006

Carrying on the fight

Volume 43, Number 9, September 2006

Carrying on the fight. You will, I hope, forgive me, if I talk again about the subject that appears to be rearing its ugly head again and again recently – fakes and forgeries. We have learned recently of some very good forgeries coming out of the far east, forgeries of rare (but not excessively rare) coins that any collector would be keen to own were they real; forgeries that are very difficult to detect but are, nonetheless worthless – for no matter how good they are they are still fakes. Of course by now the Far East connection will be blurred, these coins have been around for a while and undoubtedly they will have passed through a number of hands, some knowing full well what they were, others blissfully unaware they were doing wrong but without a doubt there are some of these very realistic coins nestling happily in some poor unsuspecting collector’s cabinet and only in years to come when that collection is sold on will the truth come out – and by then the trail will be cold and the collector will be well and truly out of pocket. So is the purpose of this “Comment” simply to scaremonger this month? Fill COIN NEWS readers with fear and dread and turn as many people away from our hobby as possible? Of course not, we want to encourage collectors not watch them fleeing into the sunset but in order to do that we need to be truthful. There is no point in sitting here hands over our ears and refusing to listen to the “word in the trade”, no point in pretending that everything in the garden is rosy and there are no bad aspects to this great hobby at all, we have to accept that numismatics is a growing, and rich, hobby – there are often great sums of money involved and, inevitably where there are large sums of money so there will be those ready to steal, cheat and defraud rather than earn it legitimately. There are unscrupulous individuals out there who are happy to forge coins to make a fast buck and to hell with the consequences, are those happy to deal in dodgy coins simply to make money and it I up to us, all of us, to stop them. So what are to do? Well at COIN NEWS we have started to do our bit, as you will know we have pledged not to carry adverts for “copy” coins unless they are clearly marked as such, we will also do our level best to tell our readers where these fakes are coming from and what to look out for. We have asked all our readers to steer clear of any “fake” not clearly marked as a copy and will do our utmost to ensure that our readers are protected. Our advertisers are aware of our stand and, without exception all support it. Which brings me on to what you, the readers, can do to help stamp out this insidious threat to our hobby. We have already asked you to do you best to steer clear of the unmarked “copies”, knowing full well that they can and do get passed off as real, but what if you buy a coin as genuine and it’s no such thing? Well it has to be remembered that no dealer is infallible, occasionally they too will fall foul of the con-artists and as such may find themselves unwittingly passing a forgery off as real – if that is the case the best thing to do is ask for your money back, most dealers will happily oblige, most being mortified that they made such a mistake. On the rare occasions there is a dispute then if the dealer is a member of the British Numismatic Trade Association (BNTA) then they will be able to help, however it’s unlikely to get that far – the bona fide dealers, the ones who advertise within COIN NEWS, the ones who are members of the BNTA, the ones who have been around for years, who have built up solid reputations over hundreds of transactions – they love coins and coin collecting as much as you do and they won’t do anything to damage this hobby. That isn’t to say new dealers aren’t bona fide too, after all everyone has to start somewhere, but with the proliferation of the Internet and the relative anonymity of the auction sites there are, it seems, an awful lot of traders “dabbling” in coins, making a quick profit and then disappearing, leaving a glut of fakes and forgeries in their wake – it is those dealers that have no place in our hobby, those dealers who we need to ensure do not carry on – and with your help we can do just that. Stick to established dealers, if a new dealer suddenly appears then OK, don’t just dismiss them but maybe ask around a little, ask fellow collectors, ask the BNTA, what’s their back ground? Are they true collectors/dealers or just in it for the quick buck? Don’t always trust feedback from auction sites – it’s often given the moment the goods are received, by the time a buyer realises he has a fake it’s too late. Know your subject, handle as many coins as possible, read as many books as you can, visit the fairs and see what “real” coins actually look and feel like, only by knowing your stuff will you be able to safeguard yourself against those who will happily part you from your money and give you nothing in return – and finally remember to trust your instincts, if something seems far too good to be true then you can pretty much guarantee it is! That all said, please don’t worry overmuch, yes there are fakes out there, there are crooks who will happily defraud you but thankfully such goings-on aren’t an everyday occurrence and the vast majority of transactions that happen everyday do so to the mutual satisfaction of both parties. This hobby isn’t rotten, far from it, in the main it is a good place to be, with honest decent people looking to build up decent collections and honest, decent people helping them to do just that and, hopefully earning a living whilst doing it too– it’s a good hobby, a friendly hobby an done we’re proud to be associated with - let’s keep it that way.

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