I think back to 1973 when I was appointed as the Coin Industry’s sole representative to testify before the Congress of the United States, as to the dangers and evils of not enforcing false coins sales in the United States. I remember telling the Congress that these false items, counterfeits, copies and the like were deceiving collectors, young and old, beginners and advanced hobbyists, who were led to believe that these replicas were real.
The actions taken by Congress almost four decades ago — not only for the coin industry, but for those who collect antique glass, artifacts, paintings, and other art items — were designed to put economic pressure on the marketing companies to take action against the sale and promotion of false items.
The Treasury Department, with their enforcement arm the Secret Service, and the Custom house (which supposedly are there to enforce the law of the land) were neglectful in following up lead after lead, given them by reputable dealers and collectors, and they failed to stop these corrupt items from entering and being sold in the United States.
When the Hobby Protection Act became the Law of the Land, the main sources of these fake items were places such as Milan and Mid-Eastern countries. Yet, until now, some publications had stopped the advertising and promotion of all these items being sold, even those abiding by the statute which required marking the false items with a readily seen, incused word ‘COPY.’ So from this and the lack of enforcement, came the next wave of false coins of United States which were replicated but not marked COPY. EBay now, after pressure from many hobbyists and from groups like the PNG, ANA and ICTA got them to take their current action.
To me it is strange that took almost 40 years to get this matter somewhat under control. I could not count, or dare to estimate, how many millions of dollars were spent and therefore wasted on these false and, to me, valueless items.
As an old time numismatist who loves the hobby, the coins and paper money that are part of it, the collectors, the writers and all those connected with Numismatics, I am delighted that finally some concrete actions are being taken to restrict the cause of many of the abuses. Hopefully this will put an end to the loss of the next generation of collectors — who get burnt by these items, and leave the hobby.
The arguments, which I presented to Congress, are finally being heard and heeded by those who can cause economic disaster and put a stop to those who profited greatly from these unlawful acts.
Harvey G. Stack