Did the Gallery Mint or other reproduction coin makers break the law ?

dcarrdcarr Posts: 5,619 ✭✭✭✭✭
Reading through the US Code, I see this law which seems to make it illegal to make or possess any die with a likeness similar to any US coin:

US Code Title 18 > Part I > Chapter 25 > S 487

"§ 487. Making or possessing counterfeit dies for coins

Whoever, without lawful authority, makes any die, hub, or mold, or any part thereof, either of steel or plaster, or any other substance, in likeness or similitude, as to the design or the inscription thereon, of any die, hub, or mold designated for the coining or making of any of the genuine gold, silver, nickel, bronze, copper, or other coins coined at the mints of the United States; or

Whoever, without lawful authority, possesses any such die, hub, or mold, or any part thereof, or permits the same to be used for or in aid of the counterfeiting of any such coins of the United States—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than fifteen years, or both. "

Comments

  • Steve27Steve27 Posts: 13,188 ✭✭✭
    Good question, I think they did based on that wording.
    "It's far easier to fight for principles, than to live up to them." Adlai Stevenson
  • MrHalfDimeMrHalfDime Posts: 3,440 ✭✭✭✭
    From the wording of that statute, that would be the logical conclusion. However, that would seem to obviate the Hobby Protection Act, which provides for the manufacture of such items as long as they are stamped with the word 'COPY' on either obverse or reverse. If the Hobby Protection Act allows for such replicas to be produced, why would possession of the necessary dies be illegal?
    They that can give up essential Liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither Liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin
  • ziggy29ziggy29 Posts: 18,688 ✭✭✭


    << <i>From the wording of that statute, that would be the logical conclusion. However, that would seem to obviate the Hobby Protection Act, which provides for the manufacture of such items as long as they are stamped with the word 'COPY' on either obverse or reverse. If the Hobby Protection Act allows for such replicas to be produced, why would possession of the necessary dies be illegal? >>

    I was thinking something to that effect. I think the Hobby Protection Act was probably a clarification or a provision for an exception to the law quoted in this thread.
  • dcarrdcarr Posts: 5,619 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>From the wording of that statute, that would be the logical conclusion. However, that would seem to obviate the Hobby Protection Act, which provides for the manufacture of such items as long as they are stamped with the word 'COPY' on either obverse or reverse. If the Hobby Protection Act allows for such replicas to be produced, why would possession of the necessary dies be illegal? >>



    That is exactly what I was thinking.

    I've been looking for the actual US Code entries for the "Hobby Protection Act", but I haven't found them.
  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 37,095 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Do you ever wonder how many coins were produced for "special friends" where "COPY" was not stamped into the coin?
  • ziggy29ziggy29 Posts: 18,688 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Do you ever wonder how many coins were produced for "special friends" where "COPY" was not stamped into the coin? >>

    Every time I see certain fantasy pieces sell for millions of dollars, yes.
  • MrHalfDimeMrHalfDime Posts: 3,440 ✭✭✭✭
    "Do you ever wonder how many coins were produced for "special friends" where "COPY" was not stamped into the coin?"

    I would wonder about such things if it were not for the integrity of Ron Landis and the late Joe Rust. I actually asked them several years ago to produce for me an off-center and a double struck half dime, sans the word COPY, and I was flatly refused. Ron admonished me that he was obligated to refuse any and all such requests in order to preserve the integrity of the Gallery Mint Museum and their products.
    They that can give up essential Liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither Liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin
  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 19,947 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>

    << <i>Do you ever wonder how many coins were produced for "special friends" where "COPY" was not stamped into the coin? >>

    Every time I see certain fantasy pieces sell for millions of dollars, yes. >>

    Only fantasy pieces?
  • ziggy29ziggy29 Posts: 18,688 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Only fantasy pieces? >>

    Mostly. I was talking about THE Mint, not a separate private minting entity.
  • dcarrdcarr Posts: 5,619 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>

    << <i>From the wording of that statute, that would be the logical conclusion. However, that would seem to obviate the Hobby Protection Act, which provides for the manufacture of such items as long as they are stamped with the word 'COPY' on either obverse or reverse. If the Hobby Protection Act allows for such replicas to be produced, why would possession of the necessary dies be illegal? >>



    That is exactly what I was thinking.

    I've been looking for the actual US Code entries for the "Hobby Protection Act", but I haven't found them. >>



    Here it is. Not much, but it sounds like the FTC has additional regulations relating to hobby protection outside of US Code.
    US Code Title 15 > Chapter 48 > S 2101

    "...
    (b) Coins and other numismatic items
    The manufacture in the United States, or the importation into the United States, for introduction into or distribution in commerce of any imitation numismatic item which is not plainly and permanently marked “copy”, is unlawful and is an unfair or deceptive act or practice in commerce under the Federal Trade Commission Act [15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.].

    (c) Rules and regulations
    The Federal Trade Commission shall prescribe rules for determining the manner and form in which items described in subsection (a) or (b) of this section shall be permanently marked.
    ..."
  • RWBRWB Posts: 8,153
    There are plenty of lawyer-folk on these boards, so I'm sure one of them can come up with an amicus numsiaticus.
  • mozeppamozeppa Posts: 5,500 ✭✭✭
    many times the dies are produced...then a "counter stamp" punch with the word "copy" on it is used to stamp each finished piece with the word "copy" on it.


    I've determined this by noting that the word copy is not on each piece in exactly the same place each time nor is it pressed into the piece at the same depth either.


    so...yes... I believe that there are many pieces that made that ....(oopsy!).... didn't recieve their stamping of the word "copy" on them.

    so then....yes.....they are in violation of the law by producing dies that are capable of pressing facsimiles of rare U.S. coinage pieces.
  • MrHalfDimeMrHalfDime Posts: 3,440 ✭✭✭✭
    According to the Hobby Protection Act, the word "COPY" must be stamped into the replica, or incuse (below the plane of the field), and not in relief, since anything in relief could simply be ground down to remove it. Therefore, the replicas are die struck without the word "COPY", which is then punched into the coins. I have watched Ron Landis punch the word "COPY" into the GMM replicas many times. This would account for the varying position of the word "COPY".
    They that can give up essential Liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither Liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin
  • dcarrdcarr Posts: 5,619 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The Gallery Mint's final products are in compliance with the law.
    But it appears that the act of making the dies they use is illegal.

    However, nobody in the government seems to care about all of the fake legal-tender US dollar coins from China on eBay.
    None of them say "Copy" and they are all made from "illegal" molds.
  • edix2001edix2001 Posts: 3,423
    Perhaps Daniel Carr is bringing up this subject as a die designer himself.
    Ron Landis is not very easy to get in touch with, but the owner of the new version of Gallery Mint Museum, Larry Lee, is pretty well informed on the subject and occasionally asks me my own opinion on COPY stamps and such. His chief coiner, Timothy Grat also seems well informed.
    Drop them a line and you might benefit form whatever knowledge they have:
    Striker Token and Medal

    p.s. One thing Larry Lee asked me if I felt it important to include a COPY stamp on their recent fantasy 1815 large cent, a cent that the mint never had produced at all. I wished they didn't have it, for I feel it impinges on the design, but agreed with Tim Grat's comments that should a real one somehow arise that their's wouldn't be a likely candidate for fraudulent use.
  • dcarrdcarr Posts: 5,619 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>Perhaps Daniel Carr is bringing up this subject as a die designer himself.
    Ron Landis is not very easy to get in touch with, but the owner of the new version of Gallery Mint Museum, Larry Lee, is pretty well informed on the subject and occasionally asks me my own opinion on COPY stamps and such. His chief coiner, Timothy Grat also seems well informed.
    Drop them a line and you might benefit form whatever knowledge they have:
    Striker Token and Medal

    p.s. One thing Larry Lee asked me if I felt it important to include a COPY stamp on their recent fantasy 1815 large cent, a cent that the mint never had produced at all. I wished they didn't have it, for I feel it impinges on the design, but agreed with Tim Grat's comments that should a real one somehow arise that their's wouldn't be a likely candidate for fraudulent use. >>



    Good idea.

    Regarding the 1815 cent...
    I don't think they need worry about one of theirs (without "copy") ever being confused with a genuine 1815 cent - should a real one ever turn up. The reason is that there would undoubtedly be die markers to differentiate a Gallery Mint piece from one of a different origin.
    However, striking an "1815" cent without "copy" on it might violate counterfeiting laws since you would be, in essence, creating what looks like a legal-tender US coin.
  • Aegis3Aegis3 Posts: 2,786 ✭✭✭


    << <i>

    << <i>Perhaps Daniel Carr is bringing up this subject as a die designer himself.
    Ron Landis is not very easy to get in touch with, but the owner of the new version of Gallery Mint Museum, Larry Lee, is pretty well informed on the subject and occasionally asks me my own opinion on COPY stamps and such. His chief coiner, Timothy Grat also seems well informed.
    Drop them a line and you might benefit form whatever knowledge they have:
    Striker Token and Medal

    p.s. One thing Larry Lee asked me if I felt it important to include a COPY stamp on their recent fantasy 1815 large cent, a cent that the mint never had produced at all. I wished they didn't have it, for I feel it impinges on the design, but agreed with Tim Grat's comments that should a real one somehow arise that their's wouldn't be a likely candidate for fraudulent use. >>



    Good idea.

    Regarding the 1815 cent...
    I don't think they need worry about one of theirs (without "copy") ever being confused with a genuine 1815 cent - should a real one ever turn up. The reason is that there would undoubtedly be die markers to differentiate a Gallery Mint piece from one of a different origin.
    However, striking an "1815" cent without "copy" on it might violate counterfeiting laws since you would be, in essence, creating what looks like a legal-tender US coin. >>



    Or, worn down, it may look like a very good alteration, which large cent collectors have been known to buy.
    --

    Ed. S.

    (EJS)
  • messydeskmessydesk Posts: 16,262 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>I have watched Ron Landis punch the word "COPY" into the GMM replicas many times. This would account for the varying position of the word "COPY". >>


    The early runs of their stuff, like the 1793 chain cent, was done this way, but as far as I know, the COPY stamp has been part of the working dies for some time.
  • BaleyBaley Posts: 21,290 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>

    << <i>Perhaps Daniel Carr is bringing up this subject as a die designer himself.
    Ron Landis is not very easy to get in touch with, but the owner of the new version of Gallery Mint Museum, Larry Lee, is pretty well informed on the subject and occasionally asks me my own opinion on COPY stamps and such. His chief coiner, Timothy Grat also seems well informed.
    Drop them a line and you might benefit form whatever knowledge they have:
    Striker Token and Medal

    p.s. One thing Larry Lee asked me if I felt it important to include a COPY stamp on their recent fantasy 1815 large cent, a cent that the mint never had produced at all. I wished they didn't have it, for I feel it impinges on the design, but agreed with Tim Grat's comments that should a real one somehow arise that their's wouldn't be a likely candidate for fraudulent use. >>



    Good idea.

    Regarding the 1815 cent...
    I don't think they need worry about one of theirs (without "copy") ever being confused with a genuine 1815 cent - should a real one ever turn up. The reason is that there would undoubtedly be die markers to differentiate a Gallery Mint piece from one of a different origin.
    However, striking an "1815" cent without "copy" on it might violate counterfeiting laws since you would be, in essence, creating what looks like a legal-tender US coin. >>



    That's a very good point.

    Liberty: Parent of Science & Industry

  • MsMorrisineMsMorrisine Posts: 23,373 ✭✭✭✭✭
    He's going to say "might" is the out.
    Current maintainer of Stone's Master List of Favorite Websites // My BST transactions
  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 27,247 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>

    << <i>

    << <i>Perhaps Daniel Carr is bringing up this subject as a die designer himself.
    Ron Landis is not very easy to get in touch with, but the owner of the new version of Gallery Mint Museum, Larry Lee, is pretty well informed on the subject and occasionally asks me my own opinion on COPY stamps and such. His chief coiner, Timothy Grat also seems well informed.
    Drop them a line and you might benefit form whatever knowledge they have:
    Striker Token and Medal

    p.s. One thing Larry Lee asked me if I felt it important to include a COPY stamp on their recent fantasy 1815 large cent, a cent that the mint never had produced at all. I wished they didn't have it, for I feel it impinges on the design, but agreed with Tim Grat's comments that should a real one somehow arise that their's wouldn't be a likely candidate for fraudulent use. >>



    Good idea.

    Regarding the 1815 cent...
    I don't think they need worry about one of theirs (without "copy") ever being confused with a genuine 1815 cent - should a real one ever turn up. The reason is that there would undoubtedly be die markers to differentiate a Gallery Mint piece from one of a different origin.
    However, striking an "1815" cent without "copy" on it might violate counterfeiting laws since you would be, in essence, creating what looks like a legal-tender US coin. >>



    That's a very good point. >>



    Indeed.
    ... --- .-.. --- -. --. --..-- .- -. -.. - .... .- -. -.- ... ..-. --- .-. .- .-.. .-.. - .... . ..-. .. ... .... ..__.
  • STONESTONE Posts: 15,431
    So, dcarr, when can we report you to the authorities?
  • ebaybuyerebaybuyer Posts: 2,992 ✭✭
    lest we forget, the hobby protection act requires that items made AFTER the law passed bear the word copy or replica, but is not applicable to items made PRIOR to the law. here is another useful link for those who wonder if collecting counterfeit money is illegal, according to the wording of this law, it is NOT illegal unless you INTEND to defraud

    link
    regardless of how many posts I have, I don't consider myself an "expert" at anything
  • dcarrdcarr Posts: 5,619 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>So, dcarr, when can we report you to the authorities? >>



    Well, first you have to have something noteworthy to report.

    >>> 'However, striking an "1815" cent without "copy" on it might violate counterfeiting laws since you would be, in essence, creating what looks like a legal-tender US coin.'

    I believe it is questionable that large cents are still legal tender.
    But regardless, this is why the only fantasy-date coins I issue are over-struck on legal tender coins and the final result does not increase the apparent face value.
  • ebaybuyerebaybuyer Posts: 2,992 ✭✭
    "However, striking an "1815" cent without "copy" on it might violate counterfeiting laws since you would be, in essence, creating what looks like a legal-tender US coin" <<<<<<<weren't large cents de-monetized in 1857 ? could a jury of twelve people be convinced that a handful of half dollar sized pennies could be confused with modern day pennies ? any prosecutor could see the fatal flaw in that case
    regardless of how many posts I have, I don't consider myself an "expert" at anything
  • MsMorrisineMsMorrisine Posts: 23,373 ✭✭✭✭✭
    this thread was not much of a revelation as thought as I brought up that section of US Code in May 2013 in a peace dollar thread that got poofed.

    it's also a possibility that the "might be" in 2007 turned into "isn't" at a later pre-striking date.

    Keep trying though. Reality is reality.

    Current maintainer of Stone's Master List of Favorite Websites // My BST transactions
  • ebaybuyerebaybuyer Posts: 2,992 ✭✭
    I may be in the minority, but if you take a genuine coin, and overstrike another design on it, how is that considered (by some) to be counterfeiting rather than counter stamping? perhaps the definition of counterfeit is unclear to some. a genuine coin is still a genuine coin no matter what you do to alter it. if one takes a 1909 VDB penny and adds an S it isn't counterfeiting, its altering a genuine coin.
    regardless of how many posts I have, I don't consider myself an "expert" at anything
  • MsMorrisineMsMorrisine Posts: 23,373 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>"However, striking an "1815" cent without "copy" on it might violate counterfeiting laws since you would be, in essence, creating what looks like a legal-tender US coin" <<<<<<<weren't large cents de-monetized in 1857 ? could a jury of twelve people be convinced that a handful of half dollar sized pennies could be confused with modern day pennies ? any prosecutor could see the fatal flaw in that case >>



    if they can find someone to convince a court that a Liberty Dollar can be confused with a real dollar then they can be confused by large cents.

    Also on what basis do you think the large cents were de-monetized?

    The Fed Reserve does take back "not current" money from the banks.... I'll have to look for a definition of that on their site later.
    Current maintainer of Stone's Master List of Favorite Websites // My BST transactions
  • ebaybuyerebaybuyer Posts: 2,992 ✭✭
    half cents and large cents were discontinued, rather than demonetized, my mistake. either way, they are no longer in active circulation so it would be difficult to prove the intent to defraud someone with coins that are no longer in circulation. I don't know if you could convince 12 people or even 3 for that matter that , yep, this guy was counterfeiting 1815 pennies to spend as one cent each, they blend right in a handful of change don't they ? not like they stick out or anything, or are 20 times the size of a penny,
    regardless of how many posts I have, I don't consider myself an "expert" at anything
  • MsMorrisineMsMorrisine Posts: 23,373 ✭✭✭✭✭
    from the Kaboom thread that also got poofed:

    16 CFR Part 304 - RULES AND REGULATIONS UNDER THE HOBBY PROTECTION ACT

    I'm not going to paste everything because there are 6 separate sections.

    There is some MUST READ from the CFRs

    from the definitions section 304.1::
    (d) Imitation numismatic item means an item which purports to be, but in fact is not, an original numismatic item or which is a reproduction, copy, or counterfeit of an original numismatic item.

    Such term includes an original numismatic item which has been altered or modified in such a manner that it could reasonably purport to be an original numismatic item other than the one which was altered or modified.

    The term shall not include any re-issue or re-strike of any original numismatic item by the United States or any foreign government.





    (f) Original numismatic item means anything which has been a part of a coinage or issue which has been used in exchange or has been used to commemorate a person, object, place, or event. Such term includes coins, tokens, paper money, and commemorative medals.


    Current maintainer of Stone's Master List of Favorite Websites // My BST transactions
  • ebaybuyerebaybuyer Posts: 2,992 ✭✭
    technically, the coinage act of 1965 made the 1933 saints legal tender, as stated it made ALL coinage of the united states legal tender.
    regardless of how many posts I have, I don't consider myself an "expert" at anything
  • MsMorrisineMsMorrisine Posts: 23,373 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>

    << <i>"However, striking an "1815" cent without "copy" on it might violate counterfeiting laws since you would be, in essence, creating what looks like a legal-tender US coin" <<<<<<<weren't large cents de-monetized in 1857 ? could a jury of twelve people be convinced that a handful of half dollar sized pennies could be confused with modern day pennies ? any prosecutor could see the fatal flaw in that case >>



    if they can find someone to convince a court that a Liberty Dollar can be confused with a real dollar then they can be confused by large cents.

    Also on what basis do you think the large cents were de-monetized?

    The Fed Reserve does take back "not current" money from the banks.... I'll have to look for a definition of that on their site later. >>



    semi-false alarm


    2.10.5 “Uncurrent Coin” means Coin that shows excessive wear due to natural abrasion, but that can be identified readily as to genuineness and denomination and is machine countable



    if it is genuine but not machine countable (half cent, large cent, etc) then they are "uncurrent" and worth only melt? otherwise, a buffalo nickel, etc. is current?
    (thus the semi-)

    Current maintainer of Stone's Master List of Favorite Websites // My BST transactions
  • SaorAlbaSaorAlba Posts: 6,246 ✭✭✭✭✭
    DC - can you send a quick email out to your customers when you start striking the 1815 dated cents?
    In memory of my kitty Seryozha 14.2.1996 ~ 13.9.2016
  • astroratastrorat Posts: 8,221 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>From the wording of that statute, that would be the logical conclusion. However, that would seem to obviate the Hobby Protection Act, which provides for the manufacture of such items as long as they are stamped with the word 'COPY' on either obverse or reverse. If the Hobby Protection Act allows for such replicas to be produced, why would possession of the necessary dies be illegal? >>

    Or does the law require that the dies/hubs/molds/etc have "COPY" placed directly on those items rather than placed onto the coin after striking (which is what GMM did)?
    Numismatist Ordinaire
    See http://www.doubledimes.com for a free online reference for US twenty-cent pieces
  • CameonutCameonut Posts: 6,241 ✭✭✭✭✭
    With all the overreach going on in Washington these days, I'd lay low. Even if you feel you are on the right side of the law.

    “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." - Thomas Jefferson

    My digital cameo album 1950-64 Cameos - take a look!

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