I saw some pretty scary stuff this past weekend. They were fakes of some of the rarest, but attainable, coins in the coin collecting hobby. They came from China. This is happening even though there is a 1973 act, US Hobby Protection Act – 15USC-2101, says that coins must be marked as ‘COPY’ when brought into this country. These weren’t. They are appearing on eBay. Some correctly marked but others, it is unclear. The dealer told me the Chinese companies actually take pride in how accurate and close to the original they can make their replicas. This will increase the requirements for certification and grading. The US companies have some legal recourse but obviously the Chinese government does not care and actually may encourage it, this activity does provide jobs.

This act only covers numistmatic, collectible, coins and political memorabilia. In 1988 the Federal Trade Commission did an update but in their stupidity did not extend it to other collectibles. See this blog comment from an appraisal firm in Pennsylvania “No Protection.”

The supply of these fakes is nearly endless. Here’s one table display in China. It will be interesting when China starts to develop intellectual property and companies outside of their control start to violate their property rights.

Thousands of Fake Coins Struck by a Chinese Counterfeiting Ring