Counterfeit Coins

Today, with the internet making coin buying and selling a global enterprise, coin collectors and investors need to be careful of counterfeit coins.

Coins from unknown sources can easily be either good or bad copies. Some people have bought coins thinking they are legitimate simply because they were in respected grading house holders. Unfortunately, the holders along with the registered identification numbers are being copied too.

As an example, gold counterfeit coins can be gold on the outside but another metal on the inside. Frequently, the weight of the coin will be off letting you know that the coin is fake. The problem is you don’t know the coin is fake until you receive the coin and your credit card has been hit with the charges. You can fight the charges with your credit card company in a long, drawn out process. But, what if it’s a good fake? Credit card companies have time limits on contesting charges.

Perhaps if the counterfeiters’ punishment was as strict as that of King Frederick IV of Norway in the 1720s, today’s fake coins would not be as common.

Henrik Christofer Meyer was King Frederick IV’s mintmaster in Norway. During the years 1723-1727, the mintmaster added more copper and less silver to the coins he minted. Instead, Meyer pocketed the silver. Though the mintmaster claimed the coins were counterfeits from Holland, the comparison of the coins to the dies used by Meyer showed the coins came from his work at the Kongsberg mint.

Having been found guilty, Meyer was to lose his life, his honor and his property, but King Frederick IV chose to spare his life. He ordered Meyer to be whipped, branded and sent to labor and life emprisonment  at Akershus Fort. Meyer died at age 40 with bleeding wounds on his back from the whip and the branded imprint of one of his coins on his forehead.

If today’s counterfeiters had to worry about the sting of the whip and the burn of the coin branded into their forehead, they wouldn’t be so quick to make fakes to sell as originals and to scam trusting souls of their money.

As for buying coins on the internet, make sure you are buying from a dependable source. There are many legitimate dealers operating internet stores. If you find a coin you want to buy but do not know the source – research and learn everything there is to know about them. But, one thing to remember is, “If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.”

Better safe than sorry these days….

Click here =>More information about Mintmaster Henrik Christofer Meyer and Norwegian coins The web site contains other interesting coin information from the University of Oslo’s Coin Cabinet Exhibition.

(Thanks go to James Rollins who mentioned Henrik Christofer Meyer in his new book, The Doomsday Key. He is a very interesting author with the facts he includes as strange and challenging as the fiction woven around those facts.)