It is frightening the quality of die-struck counterfeits coming from China and elsewhere these days. This problem will undermine the popularity of coin collecting.
I've seen many examples of modern die-struck counterfeits in the Yahoo Groups and only an experienced collector or expert could tell them apart from the genuine examples!
People seem to enjoy pointing out that the Chinese counterfeiting problem has been around for a while. I don't recall ever saying it was something new, only that folks like Harvey Stack and others are now calling for government action on it. Here's a review of some earlier discussions on the topic, and a note about how the problem was addressed in a recent American Numismatic Association seminar.
Michael E. Marotta writes:
If you search the Google Groups discussion board Rec.Collecting.Coins, you will find that warnings about this new generation of frauds go back to 2004. More recently a summary of Gregory Dubay's ANA's 2009 National Money Show Philadelphia, "Numismatic Theater" presentation was posted there by username Peter. According to that: "For their highest grade efforts ... they use actual planchets made for the US mint, they have surplus presses from the US mint, they have discarded US dies and die steel..."
You can find uploads on NumisMaster from Skip Fazzari's articles for Numismatic News. (See "Chinese Fakes Get Harder to Spot Over Time," by F. Michael Fazzari, Numismatic News; June 04, 2009.) Coin World editor Beth Deisher teamed up with About.com's Susan Hedley to publicize the problem as widely as possible. Deisher and Hedley spoke on this at the 2009 FUN convention and at the ANA 2009 World's Fair of Money in Los Angeles.
For all of that, I have to report that there was some disappointment in the Counterfeit Detection Seminar by ANA instructor Mike Ellis at the 2010 Michigan State Numismatic Society Spring Convention. I did not attend. It was reported to me that when asked about Chinese counterfeits, Mike Ellis "kicked it under the table" and said that it was not a problem.
MSNS member dealer Chuck Sharpe wrote: "If that is the case then understand that Ellis opened the seminar by asking attendees what they expected to get out of the day's session. When it was my turn I introduced myself and said I would like comments on the Chinese counterfeit invasion because I feel it to be a serious threat to our hobby and business. Ellis said there was really no big issue because the items are so obvious and that the 19th century trade dollars counterfeits were the best Chinese work."