April 27th, 2009

Faking It

It seems that now more than ever, people want to know, “What’s it worth?” The current economic landscape has both collectors and non-collectors searching attics, basements, vacant lots and their pockets for valuable coins.

That’s good news. Some will make the leap from casual accumulators to serious collectors and investors. Some of those people may find an undiscovered rarity. Even better, a few young people may play less Guitar Hero and get more involved with coin collecting.

The bad news is, some of those “rarities” that were discovered in Grandma’s attic or dug up at the playground may be fakes and not worth anything at all.

The good news is, there are several ways to find out if that 1799 Trade dollar is authentic. (It’s not. Trade dollars weren’t produced in 1799.)

An Internet search of “counterfeit coins” will turn up thousands of books, Web sites and discussions about how to detect counterfeit coins. Everyone from about.com to the Secret Service has photos and written descriptions about how they’re made and what to look for.

And, if you want to see some counterfeits up close—and you happen to be in Cincinnati, Ohio—check out the Central States Numismatic Society Convention. The Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS, www.pcgs.com) will be there April 30 to May 2 with examples from their Counterfeits Reference Collection. Why settle for pictures when you can see the real fakes?

The 70th Anniversary CSNS Convention will be held in the Duke Energy Center, 525 Elm St., in downtown Cincinnati. Public hours are Thursday, April 30, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, May 1, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, May 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Additional information about the CSNS convention is available at www.CentralStates.info.


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