Support the Collectible Coin Protection Act

On Aug. 10, the ANA Board of Governors voted unanimously to support the HR-5977, a bill to strengthen the Hobby Protection Act. At that meeting, Barry Stuppler, chairman of the Gold and Silver Political Action Committee, encouraged ANA members to call congressional members and voice their support for the bill.

Below is an editorial from Stuppler detailing why HR-5977 should be passed. UPDATE: Stupler's video interview with Coin Week is listed below. 

 

U.S. Rare Coin Dealers and Collectors are urged to Support the Collectible Coin Protection Act (HR5977)

We need to bring that law into the 21st century because of new issues that were not even contemplated decades ago, such as fake coins now being sold inside counterfeit holders fraudulently made to resemble the genuine, sonically sealed holders that reputable rare coin authentication companies use.

 

By Barry Stuppler

Chairman, Gold & Silver Political Action Committee

July 2, 2012

The recently introduced Collectible Coin Protection Act of 2012 (HR-5977) is a new and critical element in the numismatic community's battle against the counterfeit collector coins that are an increasing threat to the coin business and hobby. We urge all coin dealers, collectors and investors nationwide to promptly contact their Congressional representatives in support of this bill.

A number of our country's numismatic leaders met on June 27, 2012, in Washington, DC, with Congressional leaders and staff members to discuss the importance of the proposed legislation to protect the public from high quality counterfeit U.S. rare coins.  

The bill was introduced on June 20, 2012, by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Fred Upton (D-Michigan), chairman of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. 

HR-5977 will strengthen the 39-year old Hobby Protection Act, a law that helps combat counterfeits. We need to bring that law into the 21st century because of new issues that were not even contemplated decades ago, such as fake coins now being sold inside counterfeit holders fraudulently made to resemble the genuine, sonically sealed holders that reputable rare coin authentication companies use. Counterfeit coins are costing unsuspecting buyers millions of dollars.

The Hobby Protection Act, first enacted in 1973 and amended in 1988, requires manufacturers and importers of imitation numismatic items to mark them plainly and permanently with the word, "COPY." However, in recent years there have been numerous reports of replica coins entering the marketplace without that designation on them. Currently, most of these are coming from China, and are high quality counterfeits.

Under the leadership and guidance of the Industry Council for Tangible Assets, the numismatic community was able to work with key congressmen and write HR-5977. Other professional numismatist associations that are helping to support the passage of HR-5977 are the Professional Numismatists Guild and the California Coin and Bullion Merchants Association. 

Counterfeits1

 

Counterfeits2

TOP: Examples of Chinese counterfeit coins and slabs shown by PCGS at the Congressional Awareness event.

BOTTOM: An example of a Morgan Dollar cut in half to match a date with a mintmark to have the coin appear something it is not. Coin was in a counterfeit PCGS slab and caught by one of their graders.

During the June 27 meeting in Washington, the Gold & Silver PAC held its first ever Rare Coin and Bullion Industry Congressional Awareness Event. At the event, presentations and displays were provided by Dillon Gage Precious Metals, Stack's Bowers Galleries, Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, and Professional Coin Grading Service. These presentations showed members of Congress and their staffs the many products and services the rare coin community offers. Congress members were also shown examples of some of the Chinese counterfeit coins.

Former Louisiana Congressman Jimmy Hayes is the political consultant for the numismatic community. Mr. Hayes outlined these significant ways the bill would improve the existing Hobby Protection Act:

(1)  To include not only the "distribution" but also the "sale" in commerce of prohibited items;

(2)  To add a provision expanding the Hobby Protection Act to include "any person who provides substantial assistance or support to any manufacturer, importer, or seller" knowingly engaging in any act or practice that violates the Act;

(3)  Expands the venue for legal action to include not just having an agent present, to include "transacts business," or wherever venue is proper under section 1391 of Title 28, United States Code;

(4) Adding a section on trademark violations specifically written to include the certification services and adds remedies to the Hobby Protection Act that currently exist under the Trademark Act of 1946 (U.S.C. Title 15, Sections 1116-1118) for violations of the Hobby Protection Act.

These additional powers create ability to bring legal actions that are much more effective, with much stronger remedies (including recovery of attorneys' fees and treble damages) than previously existed. It also enables such actions to complement and engage the Justice Department for criminal actions where applicable.

During the discussion on HR-5977 with Congress members and their staff, Armen Vartian, Barry Stuppler and Jimmy Hayes explained the problems caused by many of the high quality counterfeit U.S. rare coins in and out of certified holders.  

Every rare coin dealer, collector and investor are urged to contact their Congressional representatives and ask them to co-sponsor and vote for the Collectible Coin Protection Act, HR-5977. ICTA and the other coin community leaders have done the hard part - now it is imperative that the numismatic community lets legislators know their support of this bill is important. It is also significant to mention that this bill is "revenue neutral" and will not require additional appropriations from Congress. The bill will go a long way in combating counterfeit rare coins in the marketplace, saving collectors and investors millions of dollars in fraudulent transactions.

To find the name and contact information for your local member of the United States Congress, click here.