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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 42, October 15, 2006, Article 17

SKID ROW COINS: FAKES (AND BAD ONES AT THAT)

Dick Johnson writes: "Speaking of replicas it seems Los Angeles'
Skid Row is plagued with fake coin rarities. Coins such as a 1796 U.S.
silver dollar are being sold for $20. Buyers think they are getting
a deal from someone down on their luck. No -- they are buying fakes.

The police tracked down the U.S. source, L.A. novelty shops, where
the "coins" are sold in an envelope marked "replica." But the
envelopes are being discarded and the coins peddled as possible
rarities.

Numismatist Ron Guth is quoted in an article in the Mercury News,
published this week. The Associated Press article was written by
John Rogers.

"It looked like the "deal of the century," said police Detective
Michael Montoya, a couple of guys down on their luck on Skid Row,
selling priceless old silver coins for 20 bucks apiece.

It was a pretty good deal, too, but only for the sellers. The coins
they were peddling turned out to be as worthless as three-dollar bills.

"They're such blatant counterfeits that all you have to do is give
them a once over with your eyeballs to know they're fakes," said
Ron Guth, president of Professional Coin Grading Service in Irvine.

In the case of the rare 1796 silver dollar - worth perhaps $3.5
million if it was real - there were 13 stars around Lady Liberty's
head, representing the 13 original U.S. colonies. Only problem was,
the real coin contains 15 stars.

Then there was the 1832 George Washington quarter, a rare find
indeed, seeing as how Washington didn't start appearing on the
quarter until 1932."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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