I have often mentioned on my blog that I am an “A-hole,” but what I don’t mention as much is that I am a “dork” as well. Not a complete “Dungeons & Dragons dork,” but more of a “numismatic dork.”
That’s right, since I was a kid I have collected coins. And the hobby that I love has been under assault over the last 10 years from an unlikely source, China.
China produces millions (yes, millions) of counterfeit US coins each year. And this is not some shady back alley enterprise; It’s one fueled by massive factories, employing thousands of workers, all in broad daylight and with the knowledge of the Chinese government. Oh, and it’s legal.
In China it is perfectly legal to produce pre-1949 US coins with no indication whatsoever that they are fake.
What started out as a nuisance is now becoming a serious problem and threatening the multi-billion dollar a year numismatic industry. As technology improves, Chinese fakes are now even showing up in counterfeit grading slabs, and often experts have a hard time telling the real coins from the fakes.
So what is being done about it? Surely Congress, the Treasury Department, or the Secret Service must be all over this right? Wrong. Up until recently, our government has done NOTHING to stop this problem.
There has been some weak-ass legislation (H.R. 5977: Collectible Coin Protection Act) recently introduced by Texas Representative Lamar Smith to try and address this issue. However, Govtrack.US gives it an 8% chance of being enacted, and if it was, it still would do nothing to effect China’s domestic production.
I get that we have little influence on other countries when it has to do with drugs, which even in their native countries are illegal and are produced by clandestine outfits. And I see the logic as to how fake Gucci bags and consumer goods may not be our government’s top priority.
But the actual open production of counterfeit US currency, which even pre-1949 is considered legal tender? WTF…???
That’s it. That’s all I got. It just makes me so mad I want to huck a handful of 1909-S V.D.B. Lincoln cents at someone.