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By Laura Sperber – Hot Topics Blog

I say a heart-felt thanks to everyone who has emailed me support concerning the fight against coin doctors the past several months. Due to my hectic travel schedule, sometimes I just can’t respond to all your emails-but do know I read EVERY SINGLE ONE!


Every single person counts and is needed in this fight. Every single person has a voice that counts. Do not think there is nothing you can do.

You do not have to right on a blog like I do, you can just talk to your fellow collectors or dealers, at shows, clubs, or wherever. Send an email or a letter to the grading services, the numismatic organization, or the coin papers. The more “pressure” that is put applied, the better the results will be. If people don’t speak up it will be back to biz as usual for these bad guys.

A small dealer came up to me at the PCGS Invitational. He told me “I support you 100%”. He told me how badly he HATES the docs and anyone who is a mule for them. He told me how he has told one dealer friend why he won’t do business with him anymore and how he shoos away the docs from buying his coins. But he was upset because he felt he has no where to speak out. I told him if he can write a letter to an editor of a publication that’s great. I also told him-his voice has already spoken and he is a HUGE help. He definitely has the “RIGHT” attitude. Just imagine if very non doc did what he did-or had his attitude. I believe he also told me he is quitting the PNG.

At this point, the PNG has PROVEN (to me, in my opinion) with out any doubt to be the most WORTHLESS organization ever formed in coins when it comes to protecting the consumer and the coins themselves. As predicted, the PNG came up with a definition of coin doctoring and then all has been quiet since. I was totally disgusted that one of the PROVEN trouble makers of the PCGS lawsuit proudly displayed his PNG flag and was set up and doing business PNG day. That is a slap to EVERYONE (from the smallest collector to the biggest dealers). Meanwhile a high ranking PNG official told me he thought I was grandstanding on these issues for publicity. That’s why nothing makes me prouder than NOT being a PNG member.


Nothing disgusts me more than how dealers-especially young dealers disrespect the coin business. I watch the brightest potential talent all lean toward being “crack out” dealers and eventually fading in to full coin doctoring. Why isn’t the PNG working to scare them straight? Why can’t they educate them that coins are a treasure that need to be carefully saved in their original form? We desperately need to break this negative attitude or in 20-30 years it is a real possibility that the % of coins that will have been messed with in as high as 50%. The docs are all about making money. They will do whatever they can to a coin to gain a profit.

All the dealers refuse to blame their buddies or are in pure denial about the issues. So many dealers tell me I am so wrong and that its the grading services who should catch the bad coins. Here is what they need to wake up too: DEALERS WHO FEEL ITS THEIR RIGHT TO VIOLATE THE GRADING SERVICES SUBMISSION CONTRACTS AND FRAUDULENTY SUBMIT “WORKED ON” COINS. Key word: FRAUD. These guys should not only be exposed, but they should be forced to pay back ALL their ill gotten gains in multiples and perform numismatic community service of retraining and supporting dealers from NOT being doctors.


I was speaking with John Albanese (the founder and finalizer at CAC). He confirmed to me that the amount of “messed with” coins he has seen since the lawsuit has been seriously reduced. That’s a huge plus. But that does not mean these rats are on the run. As evidenced in a Coin World Article recently, even after the lawsuit was filed one of the defendants still had the disgusting audacity to be ready to doctor more coins. So as you can see, this is nasty and serious war against sick and greedy individuals.

We have to make sure new techniques don’t allow the doctors short terms wins. The only way to do that, is what I said before: put pressure everywhere and make an imprint.


If you lived in a town where the toxins were found in the drinking water, you’d be fighting like mad to correct it, prosecute the actors and make things safe again. The coin market IS that town. Why does your dealer not comment? They could be best friends with a doc. They could BUY from a doc (many dealers do not care where their coins come from if they are cheap), they could be a mini doc themselves.

I believe EVERY dealer has a responsibility to protect ALL coins-whether rare or not. Hey, if they do not believe this-dump the creeps. Coin collecting is about coins remaining in their NATURAL states of preservation.

If what I say here sounds redundant, it probably is. I am afraid that if I stop writing about nailing these guys and making changes with organizations like the PNG, things will really go to hell. Education of collectors to spot bad coins helps, but it is no where near close to the real pressure that needs to be applied. I will always keep my offer of paying a $1,000.00 reward/gift if the PNG ever busts a coin doctor. Unfortunately, I expect to hit a Multi-state Lottery Billion dollar Jackpot before I ever have to pay out one cent. I thank the 14 people who emailed me and offered to offered monies in too.


Simple, the bastards will sue me. Call me stingy, but I am not in the mood to pay $500,000.00 out in legal fees or take the small chance of losing (I do have access to the BEST lawyers in the US though). Besides, most collectors do NOT know or have access to the docs. All they would do is gossip on the chat rooms. I have tried hard to give dead on tips as to who or where some of these bad guys nest. Keep in mind, even though we ALL have been violated in some fashion by the docs, PCGS has been harmed directly with a broken contract. I predict a slam dunk win by PCGS. I hope after this first suit, they do another and another until the white flags appear at the docs bourse tables.


I will fight to the end on the issue of coin doctoring. Sure there are other bad things that happen (scams, overpricing, etc), but those seem isolated. Twenty years ago when certification started they promised you a safe and reliable product. We need to make sure the integrity of the product remains strong. For a few years, the services took their eyes off things and now they are playing catch up to fix things (from what I can see-PCGS and NGC are doing a great job). But those few years gave the bad guys the room they needed to grow and entrench themselves in corrupt practices. As a collector, this kills me. NOTHING is a worse crime in coins than to see a Saint with metal moved, a PL that is fake PL, heads falling off, a puttied coin, etc. I wish there was some oath ALL dealers had to take to prevent them from being docs. Since I see few other major dealers even so much as commenting privately to stop these practices I will be the lone voice for as long as it takes. I love coins and care very much about what is happening today and what will happen in the future.

I can be reached at Again, do know because of my current hectic schedule I might not be able to reply to all the emails I get. I will read every single one though.

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