Sunday, February 24, 2013

Government Says Ancient Coin Collectors Are Outlaws

The battle over interpretation of "theft of culture" laws, regulations and policies has had an effect in many collecting areas, and that is now very true of ancient coins. Importation is in many cases illegal, according to the U.S. State Department. While there is no doubt that the market for antiquities and collectibles can encourage theft, smuggling and vandalism, such activities hardly encompass the whole of the field. The problem has been presented to the U.S. Supreme Court, as lower courts have proven reluctant to deal with it. Story here.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dead Man's Gold Hoard Looted by Thieves

An estimated $200,000 in gold coins was stolen from the home of an apparently eccentric and decidedly reclusive Vermont resident whose death went unnoticed by authorities for months. "Radkin" sounds like he deserves a biography, a very interesting character. Dealers became suspicious when large numbers of gold coins were offered by four people who were later arrested ... Story here.

Is It a Genuine Fake or Just a Repro?

Museum shops are a great source of reproductions of coins of all sorts. I have an album of what I called fakes, many of which are more appropriately termed reproductions. A basic definition seems to be that a fake is produced to deliberately deceive. So it would seem that a reproduction can graduate to fake status if it hits the market in a deceptive way. At any rate there are tons of "repros" out there and my bet would be many are resold as genuine, thus becoming fakes. Here are some interesting examples of what's available from museum shops, just the tip of the iceberg. Buyer beware.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Test For Increasingly Common Fake Silver

This post refers to silver bars but applies to coins as well, they are being pumped out in abundance from China, no doubt elsewhere. The writer mentions weight as a reliable test but I have seen recently where counterfeiters can duplicate the right weights today, so ... it is unfortunately true that knowing your supplier and having reliable recourse are necessities of the market today. Here is the essay/tutorial.