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Dr. Gregory DuBay's counterfeit coins presentation at the Philly Expo (lots of pics)

For me, one of the highlights of the Philadelphia Expo was getting to sit in on Greg DuBay’s seminars on modern Chinese counterfeit coins.

DuBay has unique first-hand experience with these fakes --- he knows personally some of the most prolific counterfeiters in China, has been invited into their mints and machine shops, and has brought back to the United States examples of their work, including not just counterfeit coins, but dies as well. He even has counterfeit slabs. The fakers have even gone so far as to create fake “Whitman” and “Dansco” albums to hold their fake coins!

When you see, handle, and examine these “coins” up close, you find yourself using words like amazing and incredible. . . . and also scary . . . disturbing . . .

When Whitman Publishing created the new Professional Edition of the Red Book, which will be available in a couple weeks (mid-October 2009), we decided to include an appendix that describes DuBay’s categorization system for these modern Chinese fakes, plus other research, and photographs. This is such an important subject for today’s collectors to be aware of. The American Numismatic Association and Coin World have also been instrumental in getting the word out.

Here are some photographs I took at one of Greg’s seminars.

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Greg DuBay is very passionate about the subject of modern counterfeits, knows the ins and outs of what’s going on in China, and wants to educate the hobby community. He held two seminars per day, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Each assembly was full, and some were standing-room only. Word got around the bourse, and his talks were among the best-attended presentations at the Philly Expo.

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DuBay’s presentations are interactive, and “hands on” --- you get to hold, examine, and study the counterfeits up close. If you’re up for the challenge, he presents six Morgan dollars of the same date, one of which is authentic. Even the experts can be fooled and have a hard time identifying the real coin versus the fakes.

Counterfeits include U.S. gold, both early and 20th-century. . . .

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. . . early copper and silver type coins . . .

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. . . classic commemoratives . . .

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. . . plenty of Morgan and other silver dollars . . .

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. . . and the dies used to create them . . .

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Dr. DuBay was generous enough to also display a large educational exhibit of counterfeit coins and dies on the bourse.

If you have an opportunity to attend one of Dr. Greg DuBay’s talks in the future, or to get a copy of the Professional Edition of the Red Book to learn more, I highly recommend you do. The intent is not to frighten collectors out of collecting, but to educate the hobby about this pandemic of very deceptive fakes.


Comments

  • Great report; I believe I will take your advice at the first oppurtune moment.image
  • dcarrdcarr Posts: 6,207 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Many thanks to the folks out there working to inform us all about the problem.

    Of the fakes pictured in this thread, however, I don't see a single one that is particulary convincing.
  • DentuckDentuck Posts: 3,784 ✭✭✭
    DuBay has developed a diagnostic classification system, I through IV, for counterfeit coins, and a similar system for counterfeit dies.

    Class I counterfeits are the crude pot-metal fakes of the kind that started to appear in particular in online auctions about five years ago. (Remember the "Savannah Scammer"?)

    Class IV counterfeits are the devilishly deceptive ones that fool even the experts --- to the extent of sometimes getting past the third-party graders and authenticators.

    The photos I took weren't meant to be representative of any particular class. They were just some of the ones that landed in front of me during the presentation.



  • I saw the exhibit at the ANA in Los Angeles. Most were rather easy to detect, but there were several of the class IV examples (Buffalo nickel, and Mercury dime) that required a strong glass and a good bit of background knowledge to figure them out. They certainly looked nice enough to fool many buyers.

    Trouble is, that they are continually striving to make more accurate items all the time.
    PM me if you are looking for U.S. auction catalogs
  • kazkaz Posts: 8,040 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thanks for the report. This problem gets worse all the time.
  • Great report!

    With the lighting his mustache looks like a certain German chancellor's.

    Thank you for the update, this is great info!

    CopperW
  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 40,328 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Are those counterfeit dies even legal to own? I doubt the law even makes an exception for educational purposes.
  • jdillanejdillane Posts: 2,348 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Are those counterfeit dies even legal to own? I doubt the law even makes an exception for educational purposes. >>



    Me thinks not. But given the lack of enforcement in this area, I certainly hope the secret service doesn't start here.
  • DentuckDentuck Posts: 3,784 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Are those counterfeit dies even legal to own? I doubt the law even makes an exception for educational purposes. >>




    I can't think of any restrictions that make them illegal to own.

  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 40,328 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>

    << <i>Are those counterfeit dies even legal to own? I doubt the law even makes an exception for educational purposes. >>



    I can't think of any restrictions that make them illegal to own. >>



    These counterfeit dies are for U.S. coins that are still legal tender. What about printing plates for U.S. currency?
  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 40,328 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I just noticed that the counterfeit die for the shield nickel has a die crack. Very interesting.
  • DentuckDentuck Posts: 3,784 ✭✭✭


    << <i>These counterfeit dies are for U.S. coins that are still legal tender. What about printing plates for U.S. currency? >>



    There's no intent to deceive or perpetuate fraud.

  • LongacreLongacre Posts: 16,714 ✭✭✭
    In one of my travel reports to China, I included some pictures of fake US coins. You cannot walk a few feet in the Silk Market in Beijing without seeing US coins being sold.
    Always took candy from strangers
    Didn't wanna get me no trade
    Never want to be like papa
    Working for the boss every night and day
    --"Happy", by the Rolling Stones (1972)
  • shorecollshorecoll Posts: 5,360 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The ultra-grade counterfeits cost over $200 each, that's not the eBay junk. The coins in the test were tough. There were some serious dealers in the session I was in shaking their heads.

    There was a cool set of fake Barber halves (not very convincing, they looked alike and I think were cast), in a fake old Dansco.

    Some of the fakes were in real slabs and some were in fake slabs.
    ANA-LM, NBS, EAC
  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 40,328 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>

    << <i>These counterfeit dies are for U.S. coins that are still legal tender. What about printing plates for U.S. currency? >>



    There's no intent to deceive or perpetuate fraud. >>



    Sorry but I'm still not convinced that it's legal to own dies to produce legal tender U.S. coins or printing plates to produce U.S. currency.
  • DentuckDentuck Posts: 3,784 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Sorry but I'm still not convinced that it's legal to own dies to produce legal tender U.S. coins or printing plates to produce U.S. currency. >>



    These dies can't be used to produce legal-tender U.S. coins... though they can be used to create counterfeits of those coins. If someone used the dies to create counterfeit coins, and then tried to pass those counterfeits with the intent to defraud, he'd be in violation of the Hobby Protection Act and other laws.

    The dies in and of themselves, lying on a table in an educational seminar, are pieces of metal.

  • Great report, I missed his seminar this time but I will get to the next one I can!!
  • shorecollshorecoll Posts: 5,360 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Another scary thing, DuBay said he was offered counterfeit CAC stickers in rolls of 100.image
    ANA-LM, NBS, EAC
  • Walkerguy21DWalkerguy21D Posts: 9,066 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Great report - thanks for sharing. Very scary indeed.
    As an aside, I think I need to start collecting circ Memorial cents...image
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  • BillyKingsleyBillyKingsley Posts: 2,666 ✭✭✭
    I'm amazed that he was able to procure these items and actually visit the counterfitting ring, and is still around to talk about it. It's an excellent service he is providing, educating the public about these fakes. I wish I could have been there to see the program he put on.

    I wish he or someone would put out a DVD or even web videos on this topic.
    Billy Kingsley ANA R-3146356 Cardboard History // Numismatic History
  • DentuckDentuck Posts: 3,784 ✭✭✭
    Hard to believe it's been four years.


  • LanceNewmanOCCLanceNewmanOCC Posts: 15,033 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>I wish he or someone would put out a DVD or even web videos on this topic. >>



    i am under the impression mike farone was supposed to or did since this thread was created.
    .

    <--- look what's behind the mask!

  • ElcontadorElcontador Posts: 6,886 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The best fake I ever saw was an 1875 CC Trade $ when I was in Vietnam. Usually the 1875 S was the fake, so I took a closer look at this one. Since it was in Vietnam, I knew it was fake, but I negotiated and bought it.

    The coin looked like the real dea in XF 40. Devices, dentils, weight, all checked out. It fooled a few dealers. What gave it away was when I took it out of the holder and its 'ping' when it hit the floor indicated that the metal content wasn't right - not enough silver. If the person who made this coin got the metal content right, I'll bet it would be in a first world holder right now.
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  • << <i>Hard to believe it's been four years. >>



    It is harder to believe that on a recent thread about fakes, about 90% said they have next to no fear of fakes, that most believe that they can spot them easily and haven't changed their behavior one wit. Now it might be all those replying to that other thread are the super-expert collectors, the top 1% of collectors or so that can authenticate as well as top dealers, because they are the only ones that have any chance against the better fakes.

    Much more likely is that when the word fake comes up, the crude pot-metal souvenir-shop kind of fake is what folks are thinking of. The magnet may stick to them, the weight is almost off, the ring is off because the metal content isn't right, the cast ones have a seam. I doubt many are thinking of what are termed Class IV fakes on this thread. With four more years experience, it is likely the top tier of counterfeiters have progressed to Class V. Class V fakes can give top pro authenticators a run for their money.


  • DentuckDentuck Posts: 3,784 ✭✭✭
    You might be surprised at some of the famous names who didn't
    score six out of six on the Morgan dollar test.

    That's not so much a condemnation of their numismatic knowledge as
    an affirmation of the counterfeiter's fiendish skill.



  • LanceNewmanOCCLanceNewmanOCC Posts: 15,033 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>

    << <i>Hard to believe it's been four years. >>



    It is harder to believe that on a recent thread about fakes, about 90% said they have next to no fear of fakes, that most believe that they can spot them easily and haven't changed their behavior one wit. Now it might be all those replying to that other thread are the super-expert collectors, the top 1% of collectors or so that can authenticate as well as top dealers, because they are the only ones that have any chance against the better fakes.

    Much more likely is that when the word fake comes up, the crude pot-metal souvenir-shop kind of fake is what folks are thinking of. The magnet may stick to them, the weight is almost off, the ring is off because the metal content isn't right, the cast ones have a seam. I doubt many are thinking of what are termed Class IV fakes on this thread. With four more years experience, it is likely the top tier of counterfeiters have progressed to Class V. Class V fakes can give top pro authenticators a run for their money. >>



    i have no doubts that class 3/3+ maybe a min. of 4 would get past me out in the wild if i didn't put the brakes on. fortunately some of the highest counterfeited type coins never make it on my buy lists for reasons i won't get into but when they do make it onto my list for one reason or another, they certainly make me spend some time on them, raw that is. the only ones in holders in-hand that would give me hesitation authentic coins in bad holders, something i have yet to see in-hand, that i know of. image

    between a bad holder AND a bad coin, one of the 2 generally tell the tale.

    after viewing my counterfeit gold book a few times, there are some that certainly would slip past me if i didn't have the book and or study gold counterfeits more but i've only bought a few gold coins in 5 years so i do get a bit lazy in that category but after what i've learned thus far, i still think it would take a solid 3/3+ even in gold, if i am paying attention, to slip past me. 4 most likely and V pretty much certainly. this applies to being in the wild, not back at my secret laboratory. image

    i would enjoy the experience to sit and view a handful of class V just to see where the ceiling is, although i think i've viewed a handful, although i will add professionally altered coins to the class IV and V, although depending on the series, diagnostic study can give even the best of those away. ie: altered 93 morgans that don't have the high 3, but under 9x, won't reveal any marks from an altered date. usually just an obv examination is needed, like with 14-d 1c, generally 09-s vdb, 93-s $1 and several other key-dates in several other series. now if class V encompasses having date positions, mm positions, dentils, reeds and other features being spot-on, then that is another matter entirely.

    too bad about counterfeits. all that time, effort, money etc that is being spent on them by those that want to avoid them could be taking all that energy and placing it into learning more about the good stuff. in my seasoned year of life, 35, i am really beginning to realize just how deep human's aversion to authority goes. i've understood it intellectually pretty well up til now but now it is really starting to hit home viscerally and literally like a buster douglas gut-check. maybe the aversion is a good thing, maybe not. probably a good bit of both truth be told.
    .
    edited to add:

    here is what i think a class III/III+ in unc looks like and becomes a class IV-/IV in low-grade, especially since these are touted as being die-struck, hence listable. if not for 2 or 3 diagnostics, i would not be able to detect the 02-o v67 in probably vf or lower because the details are scary good and several of the general pups are worn just enough to make it passable as well as a couple other of the die-struck recognized vams. imo, the recognized counterfeit die-struck vams range from I-IV depending on year/mm and condition. some may give a few of them a full V since many slipped past the top tpg for years, and if you've seen a lot of them, you'd understand why, some of them are a bit of a surprise but just a few.

    these are class I (one) imo due to the obvious and easily recognizable obv gouges and/or rev mm, examples here [l=http://www.vamworld.com/1900-O+VAM-5][/l] [l=http://www.vamworld.com/1901-O+VAM-42][/l] [l=http://www.vamworld.com/1902-O+VAM-3][/l]
    .

    <--- look what's behind the mask!

  • astroratastrorat Posts: 9,192 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>It is harder to believe that on a recent thread about fakes, about 90% said they have next to no fear of fakes, that most believe that they can spot them easily and haven't changed their behavior one wit. Now it might be all those replying to that other thread are the super-expert collectors, the top 1% of collectors or so that can authenticate as well as top dealers, because they are the only ones that have any chance against the better fakes. >>

    Or ... bravado is free on the Internet.
    Numismatist Ordinaire
    See http://www.doubledimes.com for a free online reference for US twenty-cent pieces
  • Great information. Thank you very much.
    All the best,

    Rob

    image

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  • I found this thread an excellent source of information and worth sharing again. image
    All the best,

    Rob

    image

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  • DaveWcoinsDaveWcoins Posts: 1,186 ✭✭✭
    I took Dr. Dubay's class before an ANA about a year or two ago.

    Highly recommended. Well worth the time and money spent.

    Dave Wnuck. Redbook contributor; long time PNG Member; listed on the PCGS Board of Experts. PM me with your email address to receive my e-newsletter, and visit DaveWcoins.com Find me on eBay at davewcoins
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