Do you think slabbed coins – those coins from grading services in protective holders – cannot possibly be counterfeit?
Generally, grading companies assign a identifying number to each coin they grade. Several grading companies also include a bar code and a holographic label. Grading companies design their holders to maximize viewing the coin while protecting it in a sealed environment.
Look at this link for a list of grading companies along with example pictures of their holders. Make sure you also look at pages 2 and 3 where they list out-of-business companies and do-it-yourself slabs.
In all likelihood, counterfeiters buy legitimate slabbed coins and spend time copying those specific coins along with their holders and labels. Of course, if one researches the identifying number of the coin, it will be listed and in some cases even include photographs on the grading site.
What’s the saying? “The best defense is a good offense.”
Educate yourself as the start of your offensive strategy.
Make sure you know the various slabs from the variety of grading services. Go to their web sites to view their slab information. If available, read what each grading service is doing to counteract the counterfeiters and to educate numismatists about invalid copies of their graded coins.
Though not the recommended way to learn in this case, experience remains a great teacher. Read the forums, talk to other numismatists, ask coin dealers and learn from people who mistakenly bought counterfeit coins or know about the experiences of other people who did.
Both NGC and PCGS include articles and helpful tips about counterfeit slabs. Plus, on the upper right corner of the PCGS page, you can enter “counterfeit slab” in the search field. The search results contain many forum comments about counterfeit slabs.
Just think of all the information you will learn as you educate yourself against the counterfeiters!