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V13 2010 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 23, June 6, 2010, Article 28

SOLDIERS RETURNING WITH FAKE U.S. COINS

Harold Levi writes:

Here is an article about fake 1804 dollars being brought home by our soldiers. A fellow SCV (Sons of Confederate Veterans) member sent it to me. He lives in Hohenwald, Tennessee. Hohenwald is southwest of Nashville.

Soldiers' Counterfeit Coins Everett, owner of Tiah’s Coins and Currency on Fort Campbell Boulevard, has accumulated more than 550 seemingly rare coins brought in by soldiers returning from the two countries who’ve been led to believe they’ll make money selling the coins back in the U.S.

“They’re not realizing they’re committing a felony,” Everett said. The coins are counterfeit — worth nothing more than the 22 grams of steel they’re made from.

Of particular concern for Everett is the small stack of 1804 silver dollars he’s collected. Only about 15 legitimate coins exist, with some valued at more than $4 million.

“The 1804 dollar is one of the most publicized rarities in the entire series of U.S. coins,” says the “Red Book,” the official buyer’s guide to U.S. coins.

Everett has 10 of the coins himself, all of them counterfeit, all of them brought in by soldiers returning from combat. “These guys are getting ripped,” Everett said.

Everett proudly displays a photograph brought to him by a chaplain at Fort Campbell of an Afghan man on a U.S. base selling coins on a blanket. The man, in tattered clothes and with dirty fingers, is wearing a pass around his neck that allows him access to the base.

“We’re assuming the money is going back to the enemy,” he said. “What fears me worst is these (soldiers) could be buying their own bullets to be shot at them.”

Leaders of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team in Afghanistan say Everett’s assumption is a “stretch,” but it is possible.

“It is no secret that many of the Afghan contractors who work building our (forward operating bases) have to pay for protection or pay ‘taxes’ to stay alive,” the brigade said in a response to e-mailed questions. “It is reasonable to think the vendors selling trinkets in the bazaar must do the same.

Thanks for sending this, Harold. I doubt these copies would ever fool a numismatist, but this does show the extent of the problem. These repros will be turning up decades from now in the dresser drawers of deceased veterans, and their heirs will think they own a fortune, only to waste the time of the first coin dealer they contact. -Editor

To read the complete article, see: Soldiers returning with fake U.S. coins (http://www.theleafchronicle.com/article/20100601
/NEWS01/100531004/1002/Soldiers-returning-with-fake-U.S.-coins)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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