Dick Johnson submitted the following thoughts on a recent Coin World editorial.
Kudos to Beth Deisher for her full page editorial in the September 7th issue of Coin World. While this is an update of a series of articles in three December 2008 Coin World issues on this devastating situation, this is so important it bears constant repeating.
Beth justifiably devoted twice the space of her normal weekly editorials. She reveals there are at "least 100 factories operate[ing] in China whose sole business is producing counterfeits of coins and paper money of virtually every country that issues coins and paper money."
Let that statement sink in your mind. That is a tremendous amount of phony production. The editor speculated this "has the potential to destroy the coin collector market in the United States and other countries as well."
Then how do all those counterfeit collectors' items move into the channels that ultimately end in collectors' hands? Answer: eBay for the most part. It is more than the Chinese maker selling an item or two to Americans by internet auction. They are now seeking "wholesalers" everywhere to sell vast quantities the phonies to unknowledgeable buyers, often at local flea markets in addition to eBay.
Beth goes on to discuss the four levels of numismatic material they are producing, and the effort of the Canadian government to force eBay to remove Chinese counterfeit offerings. The Canadians had some success with eBay, in contrast to the American government, which has done nothing to halt this practice.
Therefore it is up to the individual collector. What can the individual do? Stop buying all coins and paper money on eBay! EBay officials are hiding their head in the sand and as Beth notes, "eBay has taken no steps to bar their use of its online auction site for their fraudulent practices."
Beth did not go so far as to issue such a moratorium on eBay purchases. But I see no other solution.
Granted, legitimate dealers will be affected, too. But it will serve as notice to both the Chinese and eBay that this is so harmful that the American numismatic community is willing to go to this extent to cut off the flow of their counterfeit productions.
Instead collectors should only buy from numismatic auction houses and legitimate dealers who offer full money-back guarantee if you can prove any item is not genuine and legitimate. But even that may be a problem since so much is already in the numismatic market and the Chinese counterfeits are difficult to detect.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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