BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE
Upon opening www.Amazon.com and typing in the search bar large cent, I saw no fewer than twelve counterfeits offered for sale on the first three pages. The Secretary of the Treasury permission under Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 25 code 504 can only authorize these fake copies after their producer successfully makes a case that they are unduly restricted reproductions. The problem as I see it is a weakening of the laws that boarders on counterfeiting acceptance. Just about all of the local coin shows I have visited this past year have had counterfeit examples for sale! The situation was not that bad two or three years ago.
Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 25 body 487 states: "Whoever, without lawful authority, makes any die, hub, or mold, or any part thereof, either of steel or plaster, or any die, hub, or mold designated for the coining or making of any of the genuine gold, silver, nickel, bronze, copper, or other coins coined at the mints of the United States; or Whoever, without lawful authority, possesses any such die, hub, or mold, or any part thereof, or permits the same to be used for or in aid of the counterfeiting of any such coins of the United States-Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than fifteen years, or both." (June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 709; Pub. L. 103-322, title XXXIII, @ 330016(1)(K), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147)
The next part has a discriminatory title of "Minor coins", not the kind of language that our first Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton who helped form our first Mint would have used. Indeed Large cents and Half cents were the first coinage made to be circulated. The intent was to replace bartering and help those of lesser needs while eliminating a mixed nationality of then used coin. Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 25 code 490 titled Minor coins reads: "Whoever falsely makes, forges, or counterfeits any coin in the resemblance or similitude of any of the one-cent and 5-cent coins minted at the mints of the United States; or Whoever passes, utters, publishes, or sells, or brings into the United States, or possesses any such false, forged, or counterfeited coin, with intent to defraud any person, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both." (June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 709; Pub. L. 98-216, @3(b)(1), Feb. 14,1984, 98 Stat. 6; Pub. L. 103-322, title XXXIII, @330016(1)(H), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)
I liked the 15 years punishment under the first code 487. I think the 3 years under code 490 is too lenient. In any case, AMAZON and these people at the local coin shows selling counterfeits are hurting Numismatists and their collections. Counterfeited Large cents and other coins can create instability in numismatic values, incorrect believed existing quantities and consumer/hobby fraud when it comes to representation and price. Most of the AMAZON and dealer coins that are counterfeits are artificially toned with no visual label, so when they are resold it increases the likely hood of fraud.
All you have to do is go to: www.letter2congress.rallycongress.com
Type a line that says AMAZON is selling counterfeit U.S. large cent coins by Shenzhen Yuan Yu Fang Technology Co. Ltd. and it needs to stop! The first anti-counterfeiting laws were passed in 1790. Congress now as then has the power to act. Thank You
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