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Category: Consumer Alert

Gold Coin Scam Victims: Where To Turn For Help

What do you do when a gold seller fails to deliver or the merchandise you received was not as described when you ordered it?  Who can you contact for help when you don’t receive payment for gold you’ve submitted to sell?

In two recent cases, “Howard” in Mississippi wired $20,000 several months ago to a California coin and bullion dealer to purchase gold coins, and “Richard” in Virginia sent $150,000 to the same dealer.  With the recent run-up in bullion prices they both would have made a nice profit, except they still have not received any gold from the dealer.  Howard laments, “All I’ve gotten is the run-around.”

“If you don’t know gold coins, you’d better know your gold coin dealer,” is the advice to collectors and investors from three nonprofit organizations: the American Numismatic Association (www.money.org), the Industry Council for Tangible Assets (www.ictaonline.org) and the Professional Numismatists Guild (www.pngdealers.com).

“There are many reputable, professional numismatists in the United States,” the three organizations emphasize.  “Before you make a purchase or offer something for sale, do your homework and check the dealer’s credentials.  For example, contact the Better Business Bureau to check the company’s BBB rating or if the company is even accredited by the BBB.”

A listing of Better Business Bureau accredited and rated companies nationwide can be found online at www.bbb.org.

The dealer that received the combined $170,000 in unfulfilled purchase orders from “Howard” and “Richard” had an “F” rating from the BBB.

Typically, dealers who are unresponsive to reasonable requests from customers seeking resolution of disputes are not involved in the mainstream of numismatics, but may advertise in prominent, mainstream news media.

Based on the experiences of the ANA, ICTA and PNG, and in consultation with law enforcement agencies, the three organizations suggest that buyers or sellers of gold coins who encounter problems consider taking these actions:

  • Make copies of all correspondence, receipts and transactions and if possible have copies of advertisements or the dates and times ads were broadcast.
  • Always contact the company directly to try to resolve the dispute.  Ask for the manager or company owner.
  • Take thorough notes of your conversation(s).

If the problem is still not resolved after a reasonable amount of time, contact the Customer Service and/or Advertising Departments of the news media organization(s) that published or broadcast the company’s advertisements and let them know about the problems.

The ANA, ICTA and PNG advise: “It’s your money, so do your homework before placing an order, and if there is a problem then don’t just sit back and wait.  Be persistent in your efforts to resolve the dispute. Follow up with the company you did business with and the agencies where you’ve filed a complaint.  You may also want to consult with an attorney.” (more…)

Consumer Alert: PNG Members Assist Investigations of Traveling “Hotel” Gold Buyers

Only $60 Offered for $10,000 Gold Coin

Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) member-dealers have been assisting the news media in their continuing investigations of several gold-buying companies that move from community to community across the United States. One of the buyers offered only $60 — significantly less than even its bullion melt value — for a 1925-D Indian Head $2.50 gold coin certified NGC MS66 and valued at $10,000 by PNG experts.

” Despite prominent advertising that may proclaim, ‘NO ONE PAYS MORE,’ some traveling gold buyers are offering only pennies on the dollar for rare coins,” said Robert Brueggeman, PNG Executive Director.

“Recent newspaper and television investigations in five states conducted with the assistance of Professional Numismatist Guild member-dealers revealed that some buyers who set up for a few days in a hotel, then move on to another town, sometimes offered as little as three percent of the actual value of certified rare coins they were offered. You may see bigger promises than payouts.”

The initial investigations were conducted by The Examiner newspaper in Beaumont, Texas of several traveling gold buying companies at hotels in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. The subsequent stories revealed that “promises of big money weren’t really true, and in many encounters the money offered was nearly a fourth or less of the actual value of the items being presented for sale,” according to Jerry Jordan, the award-winning News Editor of The Examiner.

Based on the results of the investigative reporting, PNG officials issued a brief consumer advisory to the general public.

“Results reported in those stories are not necessarily indicative of all hotel coin buyers across the country, but we encourage people who want to sell gold or silver to prepare in advance: know beforehand what you are selling and get more than one offer, preferably in writing. Consult with local merchants in your community who may not have flashy advertising but who may offer you considerably more money for your coins and jewelry. Members of the Professional Numismatists Guild must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics in the buying and selling of numismatic merchandise, and must refrain from buying at unreasonable prices,” advised Brueggeman.

“If you don’t know coins, you’d better know your coin buyer.”

Jordan discovered some hotel buyers operate under multiple assumed names, have lawsuits filed against them and are targeting areas of the country undergoing economic distress. The investigations also revealed another potential problem for people who want to sell gold jewelry.

“The scales used by some itinerant buyers to weigh gold jewelry may not even be lawfully registered with government agencies. That could result in inaccurate weight measurements to your detriment when you’re selling gold jewelry for its melt value,” said Brueggeman.

During the investigations, PNG member-dealers provided Jordan with gold and silver coins valued at more than $43,000 to offer to traveling gold buying companies, and assisted the newspaper with expert opinions on what their own companies would actually pay for those items. (more…)

PCGS Announces PCGS Secure Plus™, The Most Important Innovation in the Coin Industry Since the Advent of Third Party Grading.

The Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com) has launched PCGS Secure Plus™, a revolutionary new process with high-tech security and scrutiny to increase the confidence of collectors and dealers, and a new certification designation that potentially can increase the value of coins.

The PCGS Secure Plus process uses laser scanning to help detect coins that have been artificially enhanced since their last certification, combat “gradeflation” and excessive resubmissions of the same coins, and can also be used to help identify recovered stolen coins. Additionally, PCGS expert graders can now designate deserving, superior-quality coins as “Plus” within their respective grades, an important distinction when there are big differences in value between one grade point and the next.

Announcement of the unprecedented breakthrough was made by PCGS executives on the opening day at the American Numismatic Association National Money Show™ in Fort Worth, Texas. They explained how the new process of digitally scanning each coin to capture its distinctive characteristics is being integrated into the PCGS grading system and how it helps resolve important issues in the rare coin marketplace by offering:

  • Increased precision and consistency in grading
  • Improved detection of altered coins
  • Less chance of “gradeflation”
  • More likely recovery if a PCGS Secure Plus coin is stolen
  • Increased value of high-end coins within each grade

Developed after years of extensive software and hardware development and testing in partnership with Coinsecure, Inc. of Palo Alto, California, the PCGS Secure Plus service digitally captures a unique “fingerprint” of each coin that is then entered into a permanent data base.

PCGS Secure Plus will introduce a new level of confidence and security in the coin collecting market” said PCGS President Don Willis. “We believe that PCGS Secure Plus addresses several of the leading issues affecting the industry today. PCGS Secure Plus is a patent-pending process wherein a coin is laser scanned, imaged and registered in a permanent data base. Every coin has its own identifying characteristics. Coins are like snowflakes at the micron level; they are very different from each other. If a coin has been previously registered in our system it will be identified whenever it’s again scanned by us, so duplication of coin information will be eliminated. As a result, population reports, condition census and other potentially distorted information will be much more accurate for PCGS Secure Plus coins.”

“The process also can help detect if a previously registered coin has been artificially toned, dipped or processed in some other way in an effort to get a higher grade. Not since PCGS introduced encapsulated third-party grading in 1986 has such an important step been taken to protect the consumer. We believe PCGS Secure Plus will totally revolutionize the coin grading business,” said Willis. (more…)

Counterfeit Detection: KNOW Your Dates

From the NGC series on Counterfeit Detection

Click To Enlarge

Click To Enlarge

A basic lesson will help you always catch fakes, like this 1895-O Morgan Dollar, which could be deceptive to many.

In high school history class, a student asks his teacher, “Do I need to memorize dates for tomorrow’s test?”

The teacher replies, “No dates.”

Encouraged, the young student goes home and studies hard, following the teacher’s instruction. The next day he fails the test. Miserably.

Of course, the teacher had not told the student there would be NO dates on the test, but that he should KNOW dates. For aspiring counterfeit detectors, this instruction should be made even more clear: K-N-O-W dates!

Dates are very important areas to examine because they are unique to a particular coinage issues. The position, size and shape of the date should be the first elements examined when attempting to determine authenticity (unless better diagnostics are known for that coin). Often a misshapen or wayward digit is confirmation that something is amiss.

While this advice might seem to apply primarily to altered date coins, it is just as important for die-struck counterfeits. This 1895-O Morgan Dollar is a die-struck counterfeit recently made in China. It is of the correct weight and metal composition of an authentic coin. It is made from transfer dies and this coin would deceive many collectors.

By looking at the date under magnification, the coin immediately falls apart. Raised blobs of metal can be seen surrounding the 5, most prominently at 5:00 and 7:00. The metal flow is also suspiciously smoother in this area, dissimilar from the texture seen around the other digits. If you knew nothing else about this coin, those markers alone should scream, “not genuine.”

The counterfeiter made transfer dies for this coin by using a model coin from the 1890s, replacing the last digit with a 5. While this reveals the counterfeiter’s methods, it also tells us something else. Coins of every date and mintmark combination can be made in this same fashion. It’s therefore important to remember that this rule always applies: “Know dates!”

Gold IRA Accounts Revisited

Back in July of this year CoinLink ran a story about Gold IRA’s and the choices available to consumers/investors. Since we are coming up to the end of the year we thought it would be prudent to re-examine the topic, especially in light of the exceptional performance of Gold in the past 12 months, and the rather extraordinary events that have unfolded in 2009. But first a bit of background.

gold_coins_ln_042409What is a “Gold IRA” ?

Traditional IRA investment accounts you open with a Bank or stock brokerage firm DO NOT allow you to purchase physical precious metals in the account. The closest you can come to this is to select one of the many ETF’s that have become available in recent years. Two of the most popular ETF’s are the GLD and SLV for Gold and Silver respectively. However what if you want to purchase the actual physical gold or silver itself? To do that, you need to set up a Self Directed IRA account.

Self Directed IRA’s require a bit more effort to set up initially, but they offer the investor the greatest level of flexibility possible by allowing you to place “non-traditional” assets into a tax deferred vehicle such as an IRA, in this case precious metals.

How do Self Directed Precious Metals IRA’s Work?

Essentialy Self directed IRAs are composed of three different elements; The Precious Metals Dealer, The Third Party Administrator and finally The Depository where your IRA assets are stored. Lets take a look at these components.

1) Your Precious Metals Dealer – where it all begins…..
For many investors this is where it all starts. Since most investors do not have existing relationships with the more esoteric components of the the Self Directed IRA , namely the third party administrator or the depository service, they often rely on the advise and hard work of their Bullion / Precious metals dealer to assist them is setting up and selecting the other two “legs of the stool”. But here is where you need to make sure that you, as the investor, are educated as to what your choices are, how they will effect your investment and to guarantee that you get the most bang for the buck.
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NCA RECOVERS NEARLY $900,000 FOR COIN CONSUMERS

A consumer watchdog organization has recovered nearly $900,000 for buyers who paid far more for coins than they were worth.

The money represented full refunds in 16 recent disputes, according to the New Jersey-based not-for-profit group, the Numismatic Consumer Alliance, Inc. (NCA).

The consumers had purchased the coins – mostly overpriced bullion coins and other modern issues – on the basis of telemarketers’ sales pitches, NCA said. It said the Alliance was able to obtain full refunds totaling $884,769 for coins which were worth a fraction of their purchase price.

“Many of these buyers,” NCA said, “were senior citizens with no knowledge of coins who also lacked the Internet savvy to check out what they were buying and who they were buying it from.”

The Alliance has now recovered a total of more than $4 million for such consumers since becoming operational in 2005. NCA intervenes on these buyers’ behalf, engaging legal and other professional assistance if necessary, in an effort to ensure that coin consumers are getting their money’s worth.

The Alliance is reviewing other disputes involving coins for which consumers paid more than $10 million.

NCA seeks no compensation when it enters a dispute on behalf of an aggrieved consumer – even though it frequently incurs substantial legal bills and other expenses in the process. Funds to cover such costs are contributed by coin dealers and collectors who share its concerns. On several occasions, consumers who were aided by NCA subsequently donated funds to help it continue its work on behalf of others. (more…)

A New Service Proves You Don’t Need “Proof” For Gold in Your IRA

Lafayette, CO (PRWEB) May 13, 2009 — When a retirement investor wants to buy gold or other precious metals through their IRA, metals dealers frequently sell “proof coins” noting that proof American Eagles are specifically allowed by the IRS. These “proof coins” usually cost an additional 20-25% beyond the value of the coin itself and are not required for a self-directed IRA, according to Bill Humphrey, CPA and Vice President of Entrust New Direction IRA, Inc, a self-directed IRA/401(k) administrator. The investor may be having their IRA pay for the wrong proof.

New Certified Bullion Coin No longer will retirement investors need to pay 20-25% extra. First State Depository, which provides precious metal storage, is now working with Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), the industry leader in coin certification, to offer a new service which provides proof of the metal content and purity of the coin for much less than the cost of “Proof” Gold Eagles.

Humphrey said, “People who buy gold with their IRAs are often not given the option of non-proof coins.” Often, the proof coin seems more valuable because of the description of a specialized minting process and the special mounting and special plastic capsule that the coin is shipped in. Humphrey explained, “Proof coins are not required for IRAs and often cost significantly more than the equivalent non-proof coin containing the exact same amount of metal. IRA owners investing in Gold coins with IRA funds should make sure they understand what they are buying.”

According to Humphrey, clients wanting the guarantee of gold content of the coins may want to look at a new service offered by First State Depository, a company which provides precious metal storage. First State is working with Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), the industry leader in coin certification, to offer a service which provides proof of the metal content and purity of the coin for much less than the cost of Proof Gold Eagles. (more…)

ForgeryNetwork.com

Dies used to make counterfeit coins - From About.comMark Naber, founder of ForgeryNetwork.com, answers a few questions about collectable coin forgeries and the purpose of ForgeryNetwork.com.

How bad is the risk of buying counterfeits?

This really is quite a complicated question, depending on what you buy, what venue you buy through and your expertise in the area you collect and your ability to identify the tell tale signs of counterfeits. The dealer and geographical location of where your buy your coins will also impact the risk of buying a counterfeit. For example, if you are inexperienced collector looking for bargains on EBay from unknown dealers, in places such as China, you will almost certainly purchase counterfeits. On the other end of spectrum if you are experienced and buying from reputable dealers whom are experienced in that area, your risk is very low. Knowledge of what you are buying and whom you are buying through is the key to lowering risk. This is nothing new to most seasoned collectors, but it is unfortunate to see new collectors falling into these traps.

What would you advise new collectors to do?

The best advice I would give new collectors is to start small and slowly gain the knowledge as you go. By small I mean don’t spend much – let your spending habits slowly increase along with your expertise. Buy from reputable dealers whom specialise in what you wish to collect, join relevant clubs and discussion boards on the internet and learn; there is a wealth of information nowadays thanks to the internet. There is also a rule of thumb that one should spend 5%-10% of your annual collection budget upon books about coins and coin forgeries. The most risky thing a new collector can do is look for bargains without adequate knowledge. The old saying applies – If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. (more…)

Numismatic Crime Alert

Hand Print and CuffsLa Verne, CA police are investigating the burglary of coin dealer Don Hauser.The loss included a large amount of U.S and foreign gold coins. One suspect is in custody and additional arrests are pending . It is believed the suspects are attempting to sell the coins in the southern California area. Additional information including a list of stolen coins can be viewed on the Numismatic Crime Information Center’s website at www.numismaticcrimes.org.

New York Gold Mart in Manhasset, NY has reported the loss of a 1922 $20 NGC Die Adjustment Strike. The coin was sent via Express mail and never made it to the addressee in Colorado. The coin came out of the Heritage’s February 2009 sale, lot 2280 with serial number 3254046-001. Any dealer or collector with information concerning this coin should contact: Ron Karp 516-365-5465 New York Gold Mart info@nygm.com Or Doug Davis 817-705-4450 Doug@numismaticcrimes.org.

The Columbus Ohio attorney for the leader of a multimillion-dollar burglary ring has turned over more than $1 million in stolen coins and cash to Franklin County prosecutors. Sam Shamansky gave prosecutors rare coins, silver ingots, gold coins and a $1,000 bill on behalf of his client, Kenneth Koon, on Thursday, said Prosecutor Ron O’Brien. [ Read Full Article]

PNG Offers Rewards, Security Tips After California Coin Dealer Burglaries

Office Security(Fallbrook, California) – The Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) is offering rewards for information leading to the recovery of rare coins and paper money stolen in a half dozen, seemingly-related burglaries from the offices of Southern California rare coin dealers. PNG also is offering security advice for dealers to protect themselves and their inventory.

“The ‘M.O.’ (modus operandi) appears virtually the same in each of the six recent thefts: they occurred on Sundays when the dealers’ offices were closed, and the thieves scrambled in and out in under two minutes,” said Robert Brueggeman, PNG Executive Director.

“They scooped up whatever looked valuable from desktops or shelves. Even though they usually could not break into a safe in that short amount of time, they still got away with hundreds of thousands of dollars in rare coins, bullion pieces and bank notes.”

PNG and two victimized PNG dealers, Kevin Lipton of Beverly Hills and Numismatic Emporium of Woodland Hills, are jointly offering rewards totaling $20,000 for information that successfully leads to recovery of their stolen numismatic items.

Burglars also broke into the offices of PNG member Barry Stuppler of Woodland Hills, and dealers Mark Chrans of Malibu and Joel Malter of Encino. A sixth Southern California dealer who recently was burglarized has requested anonymity. (more…)

PNG Cautions: Obama “Coins” Not Rare Investments

(Fallbrook, California) – Officials of the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG), a non-profit organization composed of the nation’s top rare coin dealers, are advising consumers that recently offered “coins” honoring President-elect Barack Obama should be considered only as souvenirs and not be viewed as rare coins or an investment.

“All of the items we’ve seen offered so far on television and online are merely political mementos that certainly may be enjoyable as a keepsake, but typically will have little or no re-sale value later in the mainstream numismatic market. Privately-produced items are not legal tender U.S. coins. In cases where a marketer has altered an actual U.S. coin after it left the Mint, such as putting a sticker with Obama’s picture on it, knowledgeable collectors usually consider that to be merely defacing the coin,” said Gary Adkins of Edina, Minnesota, PNG President.

“Some of the so-called ‘Obama coins’ are layered or plated with a microscopically-thin layer of gold with the implication that they are potentially valuable bullion items. However, there usually is precious little precious metal value to plated pieces. Beware of bogus bargains,” Adkins cautioned.

In the PNG’s consumer protection pamphlet, “What You Should Know Before You Buy Rare Coins,” the section on modern coins advises: “If you like the subject theme represented by these coins, admire the beauty of the design or would like to own them as a souvenir or to show support for their particular cause, by all means buy them. But if your goal is capital appreciation or making a profit, you’re better off avoiding this type of material.” (more…)

New Website Targets Rare Coin and Paper Money Investigations

Pantego, Texas – Dealers, collectors and law enforcement have a free resource to assist in the investigation of crimes related to coins, paper money, tokens and medals. The Numismatic Crime Information Center.

“NCIC maintains the largest database of numismatic crimes and provides dealers, collectors and law enforcement with the data, tools and resources to assist in addressing the complexities of a numismatic investigation”, said Doug Davis with the Pantego police department and a recognized expert in numismatic investigations.

Numismaticcrimes.org is the world’s leading resource on numismatic crime investigations and was created to give law enforcement and victims a free and easy to use system to fight numismatic related offenses.

NCIC assists victims during the investigative process and provides law enforcement agencies with technical and investigative support in order to develop effective case strategies and successful outcomes.

The goal of NCIC is, simply, to provide support and create new and enhanced resources for law enforcement and regulatory agencies to use in the fight against numismatic crime- a fight that must involve not only all levels of law enforcement in this country and abroad but also the entire numismatic community.

The Numismatic Crime Information Center is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation (more…)

Nuggets of advice before you sell gold

By Erin White/McClatchy Newspapers

Scrap gold and jewelryAs gold’s value has shot up, so has the number of people trying to unload a broken chain or a mismatched earring or two.

Though the price of gold has fallen since the record-breaking highs of more than $1,000 an ounce in mid-March, it can still bring a pretty penny when sold for scrap. (Selling for scrap means that the gold is melted down.)

But with gold’s rapidly fluctuating prices – not to mention all the fortune hunters trying to get in on the latest gold rush – an urban forty-niner has to be careful to find a fair price.

“There are going to be a lot of people who are going to say, `Hey! We’re buying gold now,’.” says Stephen Stierstorfer, co-owner of American Coin & Jewelry Exchange, in Fort Worth, Texas. Stierstorfer says he’s wary of so-called traveling gold buyers, who sweep into town, buy up the precious metal and hit the road. He also recommends checking out a buyer with the Better Business Bureau.

If you’re ready to sell some gold jewelry, coins or other items around your house, here are answers to common questions about selling gold. (more…)

Dealer Identifies Fake Morgans

Fake Morgan Dollars UncoveredFake Morgan dollars identified by Montgomery, Ill., dealer Tom Campbell of Tom’s Fine Coins led to an April 4 arrest of an individual who was attempting to sell them through online classified ads.

“About half were common date,” Campbell said. “All weighed 18-19 grams and were attracted to a magnet, some weak, some strong.”

Approximately 20 coins ultimately were involved, though Campbell initially attempted only to buy two 1885-CC dollars for $280. He asked the seller to bring them in person and he would pay $40 per coin more. They arranged to meet in a public place in Plainfield, Ill.

When Campbell realized they were fake, he contacted the Lansing, Ill., Police Department, where the seller was from.

The seller later contacted him offering an 1893-O, 1892-O and an 1886. Campbell worked with the police to set up a sting in a local business in Lansing. When Campbell signaled that the offered coins were fakes, the police moved in and made an arrest of the suspect and his wife, who was waiting in a car. Read Full Numismaster Article

COUNTERFEIT PCGS HOLDERS

The following announcement/alert was posted to the PCGS Website :

Counterfiet PCGS Holder from ChinaConsumer AlertIn recent days, counterfeit coins in counterfeit PCGS slabs have begun to appear on eBay, the online auction site. All of the counterfeit coins/holders seen so far are coming out of China. Alert members of the PCGS Message Boards were the first to notify PCGS of the counterfeit coins/holders.

The coins themselves range from poor-quality counterfeits to well-made fakes. The counterfeit PCGS holders are well-executed, but with minor differences from a genuine holder. PCGS anticipates that authentic coins will eventually be placed into counterfeit PCGS holders in the future, perhaps with elevated grades and/or inappropriate designators (Full Bell Lines, Prooflike, etc.), although none have been seen to date.

The on-line PCGS Certificate Verification is a method for confirming that a particular certificate number matches the information in the PCGS database, but the counterfeiters are aware of this detection method and are now using valid certificate numbers (see below).

PCGS has contacted U.S. governmental agencies, including the FBI, U.S. Customs, the Secret Service, and US Postal authorities, to enlist their assistance in pursuing enforcement or legal remedies against these counterfeiters. Also, PCGS is a member of eBay’s CCW Group, which monitors eBay for fraudulent listings and asks eBay to discontinue auctions of suspicious coins and/or suspend violators.

PCGS has called for eBay to stop accepting listings of any rare coins from Chinese sellers. Ebay recently pulled several auctions of counterfeit coins/holders at the urging of PCGS. (more…)

PNG Warns: Buyer/Seller Beware to Avoid Overpaying, Underselling

(Fallbrook, California) – Investors who want to purchase or sell gold or silver coins should avoid “impulse buying” and “uninformed selling,” according to the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG), a nonprofit organization composed of the country’s top rare coin and bullion coin dealers.

PNG Comsumer AlertThe experts warn investors to be wary of cold-call solicitations because the telemarketer’s fees may be significantly higher than other sources for precious metals coins.

“As bullion prices significantly increased in recent months, PNG-member coin dealers across the country have seen a new ‘Gold Rush’ with a sharp increase in the number of people who want to buy or sell precious metals coins, such as the American Eagle and Canadian Maple Leaf. To make the best possible transactions, people need to know the current ‘spot’ price of precious metals, the dealer’s reputation and the fees or commissions before they buy or sell,” said PNG President Gary Adkins of Edina, Minnesota.

(more…)

Counterfeit Seated Half Dollars Alert!!

This coin is NOT one of the counterfeits coins(Bill Bugert – Editor: David Lange, Director of Research for the Numismatic Guaranty Corporations sent me this note on January 23, 2008.)

“I received the following bulletin from Ray Czahor of Cookie Jar Collectibles, and we agreed that it should be reprinted in the E-Gobrecht. I was just talking to a good friend in Manila Philippines this morning on a couple of Philippine issues. He attended a local auction this weekend.

He said Moslems were offering to local dealers, some of whom bit, 80 to 100 SCARCE to RARE US Liberty 50 Cent pieces. They included dates 1847, 1857, 1857-S, and 1857-O. He said the pieces were the correct weight, high grade UNCs, nice reeding but rounded edges. One dealer there bought 65 pieces for up to $250 for the rare date. Maybe you have already seen them but thought I would pass this info on.”

Important Announcement: Counterfeit NGC Holders

Counterfeit NGC Holder and Coin* * * * * CONSUMER ALERT * * * * *

NGC has identified and confirmed that a counterfeit replica of its holder has been produced. At first appearance, the holder resembles the NGC holder and its respective brand marks. Upon inspection, variations in the holder, label and hologram make them easily discernible from authentic NGC-certified coins. This announcement includes diagnostic information to identify counterfeit holders.

The holder has been seen housing counterfeit dollar or foreign crown size coins. While the enclosed coins are also counterfeit, the label information matches the coin type enclosed. The label information is copied from actual NGC certification labels, and the certification information therefore will match the NGC database. Most frequently Trade Dollars and Bust Dollars are found, although, Flowing Hair Dollars, and foreign coins have also been seen. A range of grades is also represented.

Read Full NGC Announcement with Additional Photos

Coin company hires investigator to prove consumer fraud

By David Yates for the Southeast Texas Record

Austin-based U.S Money Reserve, Inc. is pursuing a permanent injunction against a band of former employees, who formed their own coin company by allegedly stealing the company’s consumer accounts.

U.S Money Reserve, doing business as United States Rare Coin & Bullion Reserve (USRCB), filed its suit, USRCB vs. United States Money Exchange et al, earlier this month.

On Nov. 13 Judge Bob Wortham, 58th Judicial District, granted a temporary injunction. Two weeks later, on Nov.29 a hearing was held for a permanent injunction. At press time no decision had been reached.

The suit names as defendants Cecil Roberts, individually and doing business as United States Money Exchange; Jason Braquet and Ed Seymour, individually and doing business as JTB Coins; Chad Poole, Terry Finley and Bill Truman. (more…)

United States Mint Offers Refund for Pouches That Are Not Authentic American Indian Products

 2004 Lewis & Clark Coin & Pouch SetWASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Mint is offering a refund of $130 to persons who own the 2004 United States Mint Lewis and Clark Coin and Pouch Set, if the pouch was produced by the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio. The United States Mint has learned that neither state nor Federal authorities recognize the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio as an official Indian tribe. Therefore, the pouch is not an authentic American Indian arts and crafts product.

The names of the various artisans and their tribes who crafted the pouches for the United States Mint are identified in certificates of authenticity (COA) accompanying the pouch sets. Owners may ascertain whether their pouch set was crafted by the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio by referring to the COA.

“Americans place their trust in genuine United States Mint products that embody the American spirit,” said United States Mint Director Ed Moy. “The United States Mint wants to uphold that trust, and upon learning this new information, we are offering this refund.” (more…)

PNG President Urges Unified Consumer Protection

Gary Adkins - PNG President(Edina, Minnesota) – The new President of the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) is calling for PNG and the American Numismatic Association (ANA) to adopt a “unified code of conduct” in the buying and selling of numismatic merchandise.

“PNG will take a key role in consumer protection by working with key organizations, such as the ANA, to define criteria for a unified code of conduct and to devise ways to enforce the code,” said Gary Adkins of Edina, Minnesota who became PNG President in August.

PNG member-dealers and their employees already must adhere to a strict 17-point PNG Code of Ethics. Violation of the code can result in censure, suspension or expulsion. In the past three years, two PNG members were suspended from membership, and a third resigned prior to being suspended or expelled.

“PNG also has a 10-point Collector’s Bill of Rights that outlines what every collector should expect from the dealers they do business with,” said Adkins. “It forbids high pressure sales tactics or misrepresenting the value, quality or investment potential of numismatic items.” (more…)

Capital gains tax higher on sale of collectibles

Capital Gains Tax on CollectibesCapital gain from the sale of a collectible held for more than one year is taxed at 28 percent.

That is significantly higher than the capital gains tax rate for most investments, which are taxed at a maximum 15 percent rate, 5 percent for taxpayers in the 10 or 15 percent tax brackets. Short-term investments in collectibles are taxed as short-term capital gains at ordinary income tax rates.

As you can see, the rate on collectibles is almost double the rate on other investments, and that can make a big difference. A few years ago, Sen. John Kerry made the newspapers when a review of his tax return showed that he reported tax on the sale of a painting at a $175,000 gain at the then-new 15 percent capital gain tax rate, when it should have been taxed at 28 percent as a collectible.

Collectibles include stamps and coins, fine wines, works of art, rugs, antiques, metal, gems, glassware and other commonly collected items. A collection of political campaign buttons and badges can be a collectible. If an item is an antique, it is probably a collectible.

Gold Buyer Beware!

Last week, after a two-day euphoria over lower interest rates, stocks retreated, oil broke through $81/barrel, and the dollar sank, reaching parity with the Canadian dollar for the first time in decades.

Don’t be surprised if you start seeing TV commercials urging you to “Buy Gold!,” insisting inflation is back with a vengeance. Put your wallet away for a minute.

That piece of advice doesn’t come from me, although I agree. It comes from folks who would be delighted to sell you gold: the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG), a non-profit organization representing rare coin dealers, which recently issued a consumer alert.

ICTA Issues Warning on Proof Buffalo Bullion Coins

ICTA (The Industry Council for Tangible Assets) has learned from the Internal Revenue Service that it would be prudent for investors NOT to include the Proof version of the US Gold Buffalo Coins in IRAs or other self-directed retirement accounts. This recommendation comes from a recent conversation ICTA had with an IRS official from the Employee Plans Technical Group. ICTA member dealers have been requesting clarification as to whether the new US Buffalo Coins are permitted in IRAs.

Although both Proof and Uncirculated Buffalo Coins meet the technical fineness and metal content criteria in the 1997 Taxpayer Relief Act, this law refers to allowable products as being “bullion” only. The U.S. Mint’s own website states that the Uncirculated Buffalo is a bullion coin, while the Proof is a collector coin. (more…)

As Gold Price Rises, Experts Issue Consumer Caution Advisory

Fallbrook, CA (PRWEB) September 24, 2007 — Investors are urged to become knowledgeable before purchasing gold bullion coins as a financial investment. The consumer education and protection advice is from the Professional Numismatists Guild (www.PNGdealers.com), a nonprofit organization composed of the country’s top rare dealers and experts.

“If you don’t know your bullion coins, you’d better know your bullion coin dealer to help you make responsible decisions,” advises Gary Adkins of Edina, Minnesota, PNG President. “To make an informed purchase about gold, silver or platinum, investors need to be aware of three crucial marketplace factors: The actual cost per ounce of precious metals; bullion value versus collector value; and timely delivery of merchandise.” (more…)