I'm a long-time eBay user (since 1999) and have been buying & selling US coins on here for about 3 years. From my perspective, the counterfeit U.S. coin issue on eBay is growing at a fast rate. Out of the 7 coins auctions I've won the oer the last 2 months, 5 of them have included counterfeit Morgan silver dollars. I turned over a good number of these coins (38) to a local Secret Service agent for disposal. A couple of these even included Morgans that were encased in fake PCGS holders.
My purpose for posting this message is simple: Be extremely careful of any rare date coins (or even common dates from my experience) and after you receive them, do your due diligence to make sure they are authentic. Here are my suggestions:
1) magnet test: silver U.S. coins will not adhere to a magnet
2) weigh the coin: Morgans have a spec weight of 26.73g with a small percentage allowed for variance
3) if it's in a PCGS, NGC, ANACS or ICG holder (or any of the lesser known grading companies), don't assume this means it is authentic > get it checked out
4) MOST IMPORTANT: have a reputable coin dealer/numismatist inspect the coin
We have the Chinese to thank for most of the counterfeit coins floating around. Within the Chinese culture, it is Ok to counterfeit other country's currency/coins, break trademark & copyright laws and copy patented technology, etc. There are manufacturing plants in China that produce these coins and many of the fakes look very good. Sometimes their weight is even accurate and they are non-magnetic. It takes an expert to spot the high-quality counterfeits. Good luck to all!
Hello two-oaks. You are correct about the Chinese counterfeits being very pleantiful here on eBay. It is good that people come on here and remind people of these things now and then. Morgan Dollars and Trade Dollars are the most common of the counterfeits, but they are not, by far, the only ones. Lincoln cents, especially 1909 S VDB and 1922's are abound. The counterfeit third party slabs are, in the scheme of things, a new adventure by the Chinese. They are developing their counterfeiting and slabbing skills. Some of the current state of the art raw counterfeits are very hard to detect. They are getting better, but not perfect with their slabs. It only goes to say that with slabbed coins buy the coin and not the holder. With raw coins look at the photos very carefully. If there are not close up shots or if the coin is blurry, move on. There are pleanty of other like coins listed. If the deal looks too good to be true, it is, hit the back button. Lastly get a good book on whatever coins you collect the most. If it is Morgan get a good book that shows what to look for to determine if the coin is a real coin or a dud. Most counterfeits can be determined by looking at listing photos, which saves going through the reporting and getting your money back.
It is true that the Chinese have no problem with counterfieting anything and their government ignores it all. Let the Chinese counterfeiters pump out fake chinese coins at home and see what happens. It is usually a swift bullet to the back of the head.
In my experience the secret service does little with counterfeit older coins turned into them. They are more interested in a bigger problem to them, counterfoet currency.
I forgot to edit and spell check so forgive any misspelled rambling.
Right. Also, there is a reason why the magnet test will not always work. I was reading that, now, they are even using enough silver plating so as to deceive the best of us. Watch out.
Magnet test not as reliable as the electromagentic or heat conductivity test. At least for unslabbed coins, the electromagnetic "slide" is a good indication of precious metal and even can give a rough estimate of purity. Heat/cold conductivity is probably more useful for very high grade or high end coins that you do not want to slide along another surface.
Word of warning, many of the highest quality Chinese and other fakes are made from correct purity silver, but typically with cast molded or laser etched dies. Often the difference is in the die work.
Unfortunately, the moral to this story may be: only buy the rarest and most valuable coins some place besides eBay. Lesser coins (not worth the effort to counterfeit) are probably ok.
That is a dangerous precedent sir. They are making high quality counterfeits of lesser coins as well. As long as they are worth more than bullion value, they will fake them.
I just ran across another counterfeit Morgan: this time an 1893cc and I've attached the pics. It was not magnetic, it was very close to the spec weight of 26.73g but the red flag was the numbers in the date didn't look right, specifically the 3. I compared it to other 1893cc Morgans on eBay that were NGC or PCGS graded which had zoom photos. After my suspicions, I took it to the local coin dealer which has spotted numerous fakes for me and they confirmed it was a Chinese counterfeit. I'm attaching photos.
The good news: I opened a case with eBay, selected the "counterfeit" option and within 2-3 days, I had my full refund from Paypal without returning the coin to the seller. I had documentation from the coin dealer to confirm it was counterfeit.
RE: Post # 4
That is NOT an altered date forgery. It is entirely a concocted forgery made using false dies. The "9" and "2" were pressed into the false die using logotypes. The false die was likely made from a common date 188X host (may or may not be authentic), and I could easily make a conjecture that the forgers are using this same host to make other rare 19th Century dates as well!. A search on eBay will most likely reveal them.