Speaking of error coins, several readers forwarded articles on the U.S. Mint employee in trouble for selling stolen error coins. This report is from a Philadelphia news outlet. There was also a similar Associated Press article, although I'm not sure which came first.
A former federal cop assigned to the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia admitted stealing $2.4 million in "error" coins.
William Gray, 64, of North Wildwood, N.J., admitted in federal court that he took the $1 presidential coins, all missing edge lettering, and sold them to a California coin dealer. Gray pleaded guilty to theft of government property and income tax evasion, said U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.
Gray had worked at the U.S. Mint since 1996. He said he took the coins knowing they would be considered more valuable to collectors because they were considered "mint errors." He mailed them from New Jersey.
He was freed on $50,000 bail and will be sentenced on Dec. 20.
To read the complete article, see:
U.S. Mint Worker Stole $2.4M in "Error" Coins
Reporters across the pond at the U.K.'s Daily Mail added some flesh to the original bare-bones story.
At first it seemed to be the perfect crime. The $1 Presidential coins were untraceable, legal tender and worth a lot more than their face value.
They appeared perfect but for 'errors' in lettering on the edges - and that meant they were valuable to coin collectors.
William Gray, a former police officer for the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, cashed in by stealing $2.4 million of the coins to sell to collectors.
The 64-year-old, who had worked at the Mint since 1996, sold them to a distributor in California after they were launched in 2007.
But the law finally caught up with Gray yesterday when he pleaded guilty to charges of stealing government property and tax evasion.
Gray, of North Wildwood, New Jersey, was freed on $50,000 bail and will be sentenced on December 20.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman did not reveal how they caught the worker who posted the 'mint error' coins from New Jersey.
In February 2007, an estimated 50,000 George Washington $1 Coins were released into circulation without the edge inscriptions
The first one discovered was sold on eBay for $600, while later coins were selling for between $40–$60.
John Adams Presidential Dollars have been discovered with plain edges, making them rarer - and more expensive.
The article illustrates the dollar coins and has a nice sidebar about them.
So how did this guy sneak the coins out? Who's guarding the guards?
Will heads roll at the Mint for allowing this to happen?
And where did the $2.4M figure come from? How many coins did Gray sell, and for how much? Did he really collect $2.4 million? More likely, that's what dealers eventually resold them for - the thief probably got much less.
And what about the fence? The article doesn't name the California dealer. Is he (or she) innocent in this whole affair? For $2.4 million anyone would be tempted to look the other way when buying coins for resale. But buying gobs of errors from a Mint employee? Is this dealer today's Israel Switt, the buyer of 1933 Double Eagles from the Philadelphia Mint?
Many thanks to E-Sylum readers including Dick Johnson and Stephen Pradier.
To read the complete article, see:
Officer at U.S. Mint stole $2.4 million in 'error' Presidential coins to sell to collectors
Wayne Homren, Editor
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