Jan 15, 2018

No they're not real and they're not spectacular

Counterfeit money damages the economy via inflation by artificially increasing the money supply.  That's not a good thing but counterfeiters aren't real concerned with monetary policy.  For them it's all about the Benjamins.  From the forger’s point of view you'd think that paper currency would be the way to go due to its high face value relative to coins and the low barrier to entry in terms of raw materials, equipment and skill requirements.  Nevertheless there are those who choose to imitate collectible coins, so it is the wise numismatist who keeps his or her eye on counterfeiting trends.  For error collectors, it's unsafe to think that error coins are immune to the copy risk that is widely recognized with gold and key dates.  Thanks to the global ecommerce and manufacturing technology revolutions it's now easier and more profitable than ever for counterfeiters to move cheap fakes including error coins.

Counterfeiters thrive in regions of the world that have low labor costs and laws that allow manufacturers to produce and sell replica coins without marks indicating their non-genuine nature.  This laissez faire policy is in stark contrast to the United States Hobby Protection Act of 1973 that requires such items to be marked to positively identify them as imitations, but clearly the written law alone does not ensure compliance.  It is strongly recommended that coin collectors research and learn the breadth and scope of fake coins that are openly sold online.  Articles written to protect consumers can unwittingly serve as tutorials for idea starved criminals, so please understand when we ask you to use a search engine rather than supplying links.  Search keywords ‘replica coin’ and/or ‘copy coin’ for an eye opening look at the dark side of internet commerce.  Examples of fake error coins that are widely distributed today are shown below.

Fake 1951-D Lincoln cents die struck off center 

Fake 1884-O Morgan dollar die struck off center

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