Oh NO, Irrational exuberance stikes again.



Counterfeit hides in many guises

As most of you know, I do a lot of trading and running around the country and world looking for that elusive billion dollar coin. Usually I buy something and am lucky to get my money back not to mention expenses.

Unfortunately or fortunately, whatever your bent is, I was long ago bitten by the gold bug.

Starting about 1988 I began collecting silver and gold when I could get them and on the path strewn with potholes and landmines I am, I believe ahead of the game.

The other day I came across a hoard of 8 coins and was able to buy them for a little over gold price. Some, right at melt value.

Sometimes I can even get them for 10% or so under gold price. And since the purchase, I watched gold sink further to a 6 year low, where silver is so far under water I have not got a description to metaphor it yet.

ANYWAY, I bought some nice looking coins and planned to send them off for grading.

I like to have raw gold coins graded for two reasons: 1) To be sure they are real. and 2) To hopefully find that one that is worth billions and billions.

I do not know if it is the collector factor, the greed factor, or the ego factor that keeps me on the trail of the holy grail of coins but sometimes it leads me to the brink of the pit.

For a while there (after buying another counterfeit coin) I swore off buying raw coins forever. (or at least until the next coin show)

So, this time, a trusted fellow calls me and has 8 coins. So I hop in the trusty time machine and go to his locale. The coins look great. So I bought all 8 for $3200. Two real hopefuls were $1 and $3 goldies that looked GREAT!

I got a couple of Indians and a couple of Liberty heads,a St. Gaudens $20, and three others rather generic looking libs and Indians.

Using the grading book used by ANA and well respected, I sat there and inspected the coins as best as I could and determined they were okay and bought the mini-hoard.

At the first coin show, the picture blurred as two dealers picked out 4 of the 8 to be counterfeit or not real.

Then I marked the flips as questionable and again, let two other dealers go over them and they okayed some and culled some. No real agreement. One dealer said, not enough detail on this one and tossed it aside. Another and another came by and after the show I stopped at several coin shops and again, no agreement on good or bad coins. Some dealers offered to buy them at nice profits....

Well, I did not want them to be calling me or the cops for selling bad stuff, so I kept them to let NGC figure it out.

Well, today the box came back. (I knew results as they were posted to me well before receipt of the coins. You know the drill.

SO... look at the picture, and you see the pain..

One of then seven submitted was real, the rest were marked not genuine. GASP!

One other, the St. G was real and sold for $1100.00. This leaves me 6 to hopefully break even. The one that did grade was a nice coin worth about $950 or so, the 1890 $10 Liberty, so not all was lost. I can make up about $200 to $500 depending on whether I sell it wholesale to a dealer, or retail to a coin buff.

Well, this is the reason I refuse to pay much over melt value. I can ascertain that they are gold, and the content thereof so if the worse happens, as it did this time, I can at least recover my costs minus the dice roll for the $30 each for grading and mail.

Oh well. I am going to try to sell these at shows this month to bail out my friend who also got snared when he bought these, and they will be sold with a copy of the report from NGC and the guarantee that the gold content is what it is.

Failing that, I will take them back to where I got them, and get a refund.

So, here is what you need to do when purchasing raw coins:

1) Weigh coins and be sure of proper weight. That will insure at LEAST it is gold and you can get melt anytime.

2) Be sure you know your seller and that he will take them back if found to be bogus. This means, you and your supplier must trust each other. There are many devious ways to cheat.

3) Take a picture with a digital camera so that coins returned as bogus can be identified without question.

4) Know your buyer, and guarantee him that you will repurchase them within 30 days for any reason, or anytime if found to be counterfeit. Be sure you have a digital picture so buyer cannot replace your good coin with a bad one similar in grade.

There are so many counterfeit coins, if you do any kind of searching at all, you WILL come across them. With proper precautions, you can save your reputation, and your wallet.

I could write volumes about this subject, but suffice for now to remind you all to be vigilant to your purchases and sales.

Happy searching



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