Saturday, October 6, 2012
A policeman working at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia helped himself to nearly two and one half million dollars in error coins. He got caught. He'll do time plus will have to make restitution and pay taxes. Story here, via CoinsWeekly.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 1:47 AM
Saturday, September 22, 2012
The coins were part of a collection valued at $100,000. The thief and his girlfriend were hired by an elderly woman for handyman work, a kindness they repaid by ripping off her coin collection. Some of the coins turned up at a movie theater.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 2:35 PM
Friday, September 14, 2012
The Numismatic Crime Information Center has posted a $100,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of a rare 1870 Carson City Gold Double Eagle stolen in a Brinks robbery last year.
The full story on the theft is here.
The full story on the theft is here.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 6:58 AM
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
A very controversial case isn't settled yet, despite a judge's ruling (and the agreement of a jury) that several extraordinarily rare gold coins could not have been obtained legally -- and, therefore, belong to the U.S. government and not to the family that was in possession. The family says an appeal will be forthcoming.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 6:01 AM
Monday, August 27, 2012
Thursday, August 23, 2012
I don't usually post residential thefts because they are about as common as murders these days. Collectors like to keep their treasures at hand, either for show and tell or just to enjoy personally. This theft though seemed almost like the robbery of a museum, so extensive was the haul. From the few reports of recoveries I have seen, those who suggest an "inside job" may be on the money. Not necessarily a friend or relation, sometimes hired help who get a sniff of valuables to be harvested.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 6:12 AM
Monday, August 20, 2012
My friends at ESylum newsletter posted this link to a great story on treasure ship gold -- ten tons of it! -- and how one of the ingots is now headed for auction. In related news, there is some dispute about ownership of the trove, some of which, curiously enough, seems to have wandered off to Belize...
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 4:49 AM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Monday, July 16, 2012
A treasure buried in Israel by a group of Knights Templar facing annihilation by a Muslim force has at last been found, gold coins valued at $500,000. It is the largest medieval gold hoard ever found in Israel. Thanks to E-Sylum newsletter for the tip.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 7:47 AM
Monday, July 9, 2012
A homeless man found a stash of gold coins and cash along a riverbank in Bastrop County TX. After authorities had held the loot for ninety he claimed it as his own, with a little help from an attorney. He got his gold and cash, and he's gone. But the claims and inquiries are coming in -- just a bit late.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 6:26 AM
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
A prestigious surgeon who is also a world class coin collector tried to peddle three ancient coins which he believed to be worth millions. Turns out they were fakes but he is still guilty of the crime he thought he was committing.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 6:14 AM
Friday, June 29, 2012
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Numismatic research takes us down some strange byways, for instance, did you know that the snail has been regarded as a symbol of love? Perhaps like me you not only didn't know that but also had never heard of the schneckentaler from Zug, a coin upon which the snail image appears ... perhaps only to fill what would have been an empty space!
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 12:09 PM
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Robbers and burglars are zeroing in on rare coin collectors and dealers with greater frequency because they may not encounter the security devices and witnesses present in targets such as banks. The take can be greater than in a bank robbery. The situations have become violent and even deadly. Story here.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 6:37 AM
Friday, May 18, 2012
This is a general feature story on an exhibit but does mention two items that might be fun to research further, a poison pin hidden in a silver dollar and a coin containing microfilm.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 12:21 PM
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Should have an update on this one any day now, a coin found by a lady in her garden is being deciphered by a British museum. I can't make it out very well in the picture offered but sure looks like St. George and the Dragon, which would make the "pilgrimage" guess a good one.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 6:04 AM
Monday, April 30, 2012
A trillion dollar note, now a collector item, was issued in Zimbabwe though its value was zilch in an economy where only U.S. paper currency survived as a medium of exchange. An exhibit focuses on what inflation does to a nation's money.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 1:25 PM
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Fascinating. It is money donated to the dead in Chinese culture, for them to spend in the afterlife. Colorful and intriguing. The site is a portal to a host of hoodoo and other esoteric pages (scroll down for info), a fun place to take a break from routine. This comes via the E-Sylum newsletter of the Numismatic Biblomania Society, a great source for all sorts of numismatic news and information.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 5:18 AM
Monday, April 16, 2012
I have been reading about the artistry of Chinese fakers and would certainly advise extreme caution in purchasing any valuable U.S. coins these days, they have it down to a science. On another matter, here is a link to a discussion of a "mystery coin" that was said to be fifty percent gold ... the stories about what a coin or other "rare" object is "said to be" go on and on and on. So, a link to the discussion.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 11:10 AM
The gold krugerrand of South Africa is probably the most popular gold coin among collectors and investors. A problem has been revealed involving a number of recently issued krugers, that being they are underweight. On the surface a bad thing, it is further a problem because many dealers and collectors rely on weight as a key element of authenticity. Here is the story.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 4:21 AM
Monday, April 9, 2012
The Secret Service is on the track of counterfeit rare U.S. coins that are appearing more and more often, and there have been arrests. Story here.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 6:42 PM
Monday, March 19, 2012
A tour guide who helped himself to a portion of a traveling exhibit featuring gold coins was sentenced to three years probation, community service and he must attend a seminar on theft -- one assumes the seminar addresses the negative consequences. Details here.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 6:07 AM
Friday, March 16, 2012
Investigators say it looks like an "inside job," ancient coins and relics termed "priceless" were pillaged from a bank vault while the Libyan revolution was going on. Thieves knew exactly where to find the treasure. Story here.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 7:29 AM
Sunday, March 4, 2012
There have been increasing complaints about seizures of packets of ancient coins by U.S. Customs but the actions are not without basis. Were the perps not caught, what would have been the destiny of these coins? Obviously, attempts would be made to turn them into cash at one market or another... story here.
Skeptics at Esylum newsletter posted the link to an article but were doubtful about the veracity of the tale. Quite possibly great treasures may be found this way, but the logic of buying a rarity like this as a lucky piece seems a wee bit strange. No doubt there is more to the story -- meanwhile here's what we know.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 4:32 AM
Based on published and hushed up concerns about counterfeit coins in Europe and Great Britain, the investigator looked into current and proposed efforts to thwart coin counterfeiting in the U.S. -- and found none. Given legislation backed by metals groups, it could become a problem, or maybe it already is? I was wondering, would the metals groups really care whether coins are legit as long as they are metal?
See the story here.
See the story here.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 4:15 AM
Thursday, March 1, 2012
A rare coin collection worth an estimated $10-million if genuine, said to have been begun in the 1930s, has been described by a coin expert as composed mostly of recent Chinese counterfeits. The buyer may have thought he got a "steal" at $70,000, and, while possibly true, it was of a different sort than expected. The truth of the matter is up to the court to decide, story here via Coin World magazine.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 6:03 PM
Monday, February 20, 2012
Workers involved in renovations in a building belonging to a champagne producer in France struck gold when coins began literally falling from above. The merchant will split the hoard with the workers who found it. Thanks to Esylum newsletter for catching this one. Story here.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 4:26 AM
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Millions of "Liberty Dollars" issued privately by entrepreneur Bernard von Nothaus can be seized by federal agents as counterfeit U.S. currency, according to a report in Coin World. Von Nothaus, founder of NORFED (National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve and the Internal Revenue Code), was recently convicted of several violations of U.S. law for issuing his "alternative" currency in copper, silver and gold. The coins are apparently still traded on auctions sites and at coin shows. The only consequences reported so far have been cancellation of an "educational" exhibit of the coins by show sponsors fearful of a raid by law enforcement. Here's an article on the issue, and for an interesting look at how emotionally charged this matter is, check out the comments.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
It's not unusual that thefts from an institution or place of business are the work of someone associated with the concern, here we have a small stash of gold coins disappearing into the pockets of a museum tour guide. From the deals offered for return of the coins, looks to me like he got a raw deal when he gave back his loot ... but then, given other problems at ANA, which had loaned the coins, that outfit probably isn't in a forgiving mood.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 5:13 AM
Monday, February 6, 2012
Small change apparently doesn't matter much to passengers hustling through the airport security checks, or maybe they've got a few foreign coins that they won't be needing? It all adds up though. In one year TSA harvested around $400,000 in left-behind change, according to this report in USA Today.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 5:51 AM
Monday, January 30, 2012
I would go with the first answer provided at the site, the coins are tokens issued for promotion by various merchants. If you know more I'm sure the Library would appreciate further info. Surprised that the Token and Medal Society hasn't weighed in. But I recently wrote to one of their officials about a token with which he should have been familiar, the reply was kind of dismissive. Strange way to win new members. Well, anyway, here is the Mystery Coin site.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 5:57 AM
Monday, January 23, 2012
eBay's ban on replica coins, including those marked in accordance with the law as copies, will only apply to the U.S. site. I have yet to see if it applies to replica medals such as the recent spate of "tribute" medals appearing on the site. Most likely it is only aimed at the flood of Chinese counterfeits of collectible U.S. coins hitting the market lately. No doubt it will be quite a circus for a while as there are surely a lot of unsophisticated sellers who don't know they are offering junk. Here's a story with more details.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 10:52 AM
Sunday, January 22, 2012
There have been a number of stories recently about ancient coins being seized when they are shipped from one country to another. While the blogs mentioned here cover "theft of culture" in general, that is where the answer lies regarding ancient coins. They are considered heritage and in many countries that now means "not for sale."
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 6:06 PM
Saturday, January 21, 2012
It is interesting that eBay has banned replica coins and will be all the more interesting to see how they police the ban. Meanwhile, here is a link to the Coin Forgery Discussion List collection of sites dealing with fakes, forgeries and replicas. Be cautious in clicking through to the various sites, I noticed a lot of spam on last visit and don't know where it leads, perhaps to an infectious site.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 5:34 AM
Thursday, January 19, 2012
This is a great story with a lot of fascinating detail, and it serves as another reminder that what seems to be too good to be true invariably is too good to be true. Reminds me of a bond story I worked on some years ago where the bonds supposedly issued in the 1930s included a zip code address for the U.S. Treasury Department. Anyway, here's the story.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 6:59 AM
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
The recent report on theft from the American Numismatic Association prompted a good question regarding those who unknowingly purchase stolen coins. What recourse do buyers have when it turns out the coin they bought is hot? Here's a bit of discussion on the matter but seems to me a good solid answer is still pending.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 4:52 AM
Monday, January 16, 2012
You might think coins hauled up from a sunken treasure ship would be very collectible and offer good investment potential, but it ain't necessarily so. Some of the reasons are given in this article.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 8:55 AM
Friday, January 13, 2012
Museums hate to admit theft by employees though it's fairly common. They'd as soon hush it up as deal with the bad publicity -- they thrive, often, on donors and don't want to spook them. This case seems resolved though. But you have to wonder, this wasn't just a custodian popping something into his pocket, this guy had oversight of a huge collection of rarities. Maybe ANA has a great inventory system. Or maybe the guy is smiling in the pix because he knows what wasn't found?
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 6:03 AM
Monday, January 9, 2012
Saturday, January 7, 2012
As I've mentioned, practically every day there's a story or three on theft of rare coins, sometimes from dealers, often in residential burglaries. Most often the stories come and go, picked up on a web site or so and then forgotten. This one for some reason captured a lot of attention, without even serious searching I've run across a dozen sites reporting it...
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 5:02 AM
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
An interesting discussion of a coin depicting an ancient Norwegian king with remarkably protruding eyeballs. Did he suffer from a medical condition? Was he the victim of an aberrant portrait artist? Much to ponder here.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 6:45 AM
This feature story gathers up a great many tales, true and false, regarding the strange history of the 1804 silver dollar -- twice restruck in later years and often faked. Details here.
Posted by W.J. Elvin III, Editor & Publisher at 6:31 AM