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Category: Counterfeits

Controversial 1959-D Lincoln Cent with Wheat Ears Reverse to be Sold at Goldbergs Pre Long Beach Coin Auction

This coin has created quite a bit of controversy in the past, and it’s time the allegations and innuendo get laid to rest. For some reason, the few independent grading services who have examined this coin can’t seem to decide on its genuine status, although no one can define any reason to consider it counterfeit, they also won’t render an opinion to support the coin as a genuine mint product. Hence, the opinions of most remain that no decision can be made on the coin unless further tests are conducted.

The known history of this unique cent begins in 1986. A retired police officer named Leon Baller advertised in his local Walnut Creek, California newspaper that he would purchase rare and unusual coins. A local coin collector saw the ad and contacted Baller about an unusual 1959-D wheat reverse cent that he had found, and Baller soon arranged to meet with him and then purchased the coin for $1,500. Baller sent the coin to the United States Department of the Treasury for authentication in early 1987. Jim Brown, a forensic lab authenticator for the Department of the Treasury examined the coin and found no indication that it was counterfeit. The coin was returned to Baller on February 7, 1986 with a letter signed by Richard M. McDrew, Special Agent for the Department of the Treasury.

The letter states as follows:

“Enclosed is your United States 1¢ coin, dated 1959-D, with wheat reverse. This coin was microscopically examined by our Forensic Services Division in Washington, D.C. and it is their opinion the coin is genuine.”

Baller eventually sold the coin to Heritage Rare Coin Galleries in 1987. The cent was then sold to a private collector where it remained until recently.

The current owner of the coin is a business syndicate whose members’ names have not been disclosed, and their representative is Larry Choate, a Southern California collector. Choate took the bold move in 2002 to resubmit the coin to the Department of the Treasury and Secret Service for a more comprehensive review of the 1959-D wheat cents authenticity. Choate realized that if the coin was considered a counterfeit, it would be seized and destroyed. In addition, Choate took the risk that the coin was produced at the Denver Mint but illegally spirited out, and could be seized on those grounds as well.

Frankly, the Department of the Treasury has a checkered list of such seizures, and only a few coins have been seized over the years. It is important to note here that this coin will not be confiscated as the Treasury Department has returned the coin twice to the owner after reviewing the coin and returning it as genuine. It is also considered legal tender by the Treasury Department.

The most recent and very public seizure was the 1933 double eagle which the Government seized and wanted to destroy in a mindless bureaucratic fashion. Mercifully for collectors, the original owner of the 1933 double eagle was Egypt’s King Farouk, and he obtained an export license which allowed him to take the coin with him out of this country to Egypt. (more…)

First State Depository Offers Exclusive Precious Metals Anti-Counterfeiting Services

FSD is the ONLY depository facility in the United States that offers Non-Invasive On-site Assay verification

First State Depository Company, LLC, of Wilmington Delaware, one of the nations most respected rare coin and precious metals depositories, has announced an exclusive partnership with Bullion Analysis, Inc., for assay verification services. First State will be the ONLY depository facility in the United States that can now offer Non Invasive On-site Assay verification of a clients holdings to insure against counterfeit bullion products.

News reports have shown an increasing number of counterfeit bullion products entering the marketplace, specifically tungsten filled gold bars and lead filled Silver bars. These counterfeits are very deceptive and surface analysis is rarely successful in detecting these fakes.

Bullion Analysis Corporation has developed a unique testing technology that can safely verify the purity of gold, silver and platinum precious metal products. This technology is completely safe and non-destructive to the precious metal, and is effective on everything from fractional ounce coins all the way up to the full size 100, 400 and 1,000 ounce COMEX bars of gold, silver and platinum.

This technology is completely safe and non-destructive to the precious metal

Through this exciting new partnership, First State Depository Corporation now has the exclusive U.S. use of Bullion Analysis, Inc. for assay verification within a commercial Depository facility. “We have had excellent results working with our colleagues at First State Depository, and find their level of professional service and security to be unmatched. We are very pleased to provide our exclusive, non-destructive assay verification services to FSDC clients at this highly secure facility.” said Tom Woolman, one of the senior managers at Bullion Analysis.

First State Depository has a long history of providing cost effective and innovative Depository services for investors looking to take advantage of not only the long-term stability of precious metals investments, but also offering ultra secure, flexible and personalized storage solutions.This new partnership with Bullion Analysis Corporation will allow First State Depository customers access to this groundbreaking technology by offering digital deep-scan verifications of clients bullion within the FSDC vault facility and/or before they take delivery of new shipments to FSDC.

Bullion Analysis produces a tamper-resistant holographic certificate for each bar of precious metal that is scanned, containing the results of its verification analysis and the bar’s serial number and hallmark. This holographic certificate can then trade with the bullion in the future, providing peace of mind for both the current owner and adding a level of trust for future sales of your precious metals. No Other Depository in the Country can offer its customers this level verification and security. (more…)

Top 12 Rare Coin Buybacks – PCGS Puts its Money Where Its Mouth Is!

The following is from the PCGS website about Updates to the PCGS Guarantee. This is the first time we know of where one of the major grading services has been so forthcoming as to buybacks under their guarantee, and In Our Optinion, PCGS should be commended for its transparency and openness.

pcgs_logo_lg_refFor 24 years we’ve stood behind the service we provide to you not with a money back/fee returned policy if we make a mistake…not with a “we’re sorry, we’ll return your grading fee or give you free grading” policy if we make a mistake…but with an actual cash guarantee for the market value of the coins we grade and authenticate.

They say that talk is cheap and money talks. So when it comes to the validity of the PCGS Grading Guarantee we’ll let the money do the talking. Here are the cold facts about what we’ve done in the past 24 years.

In the past 24 years, PCGS has (as of Dec 1, 2009) graded 18,784,536 coins with a declared value of $19,138,747,536. That’s 18 million coins worth over 19 billion dollars!

In the past 24 years, PCGS has paid out $7,320,437 under the terms of the PCGS Grading Guarantee. When we make a mistake that involves your coins, we pay for our mistake. It’s that simple.

Here are some detailed figures of the money we’ve paid out under the terms of our grading guarantee. The following is the total amount paid in each of the last six calendar years;
2003…$365,525
2004…$222,227
2005…$507,692
2006…$382,384
2007…$562,541
2008…$1,945,755
2009 (thru Dec 1)…$498,798

You’ll note that the cash figures are increasing, but this may be explained by the fact that coins are worth more today than they were in 2003. The huge amount bought back in 2008 was probably a “perfect storm” aberration (January, 2008 was not a good month for PCGS…see below). (more…)

Stacks Schaumburg Sale June 25th, 2009

The Schaumburg Sale, presented by Stack’s as the official auctioneer of the Mid-America Coin Expo showcases many interesting items as well as the traditional offering of U.S. coinage. The auction starts June 25, 2009 in the Nirvana Room of the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel in Schaumburg, Illinois.

Part I of the Michael K. Ringo Collection of Latin-American Circulating Counterfeit Coinage appears early on, and offers coins from two workhorse genres: the gold coins of the Spanish dominions and their two reales counterparts. Many of these coins are exceedingly rare, and some are simply unique. Highlights here will undoubtedly include the gold alloy 1740 Lima-style contemporary imitation 8 Escudos, and the important 1807 Colombia 8 Escudos counterfeit that was struck over a U.S. Classic Head large cent. Among the selection of two reales counterfeits and imitations is the Quasimodo Head example, so called for its fascinatingly ugly portrait. This specimen is the only one known to Kleeberg, and should sell for a strong sum, so bid accordingly!

Among U.S. coinage, half cents proffer an impressive double struck 1795 C-4 example in the enticing grade of EF-40 BN (PCGS). U.S. cents boast an exceptional 1855 Proof, an N-10, Rarity-5 coin graded Proof-64 RB (PCGS) (CAC), which is immediately followed by a near gem example of the key 1856 Flying Eagle in Proof-64 (PCGS). U.S. minor coinage continues with several nice Proof nickel three cents and a fabulous 1924 Buffalo nickel graded MS-67* by NGC.

One of the most significant pieces offered for sale here is the 1792 half disme. Once part of the Jung Collection, this example of the formidably rare issue is certified as AU-58 by PCGS. Richly toned with a fully complete strike, this coin represents an important opportunity to own one of the most sought-after early coins struck by the United States. It is believed that only 1,500 of these coins were produced in 1792, so examples of these are rare no matter what condition they are in; the present example is all the more attractive for its excellent state of preservation. (more…)