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Canadian Coin News - Gord Nichols Counterfeit Column

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Pillar of the Community
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 Posted 08/03/2021  8:01 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add swamperbob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
okiecoiner Perhaps your command of the English language is simply deficient or you do not comprehend the nuanced approach to what I was saying, therefore I will repeat it so that I am clearly understood. I not only do not recognize "how wrong I was" but instead I can clearly see how Mike Marshall has misled most commentators by what he said. Mike Marshall is completely wrong when he says


Quote:
It's black and white: a counterfeit is a counterfeit - no more, no less - ....


The error he makes in that sentence is precisely what I have objected to since I began this effort. Marshall quotes the law which says a counterfeit is a copy of current money and then HE ignores what it actually means to be "current" money and how that word is interpreted by the people who actually enforce the laws.

You are all missing the real issue.

Are all counterfeits the same?

Is that a simple enough question?

You have all miss the simple point that the problem today is the massive flood of recently made NUMISMATIC FORGERIES. The big problem is NOT the sale of older counterfeits that were made and circulated many decades ago and which are no longer viewed as being current.

Old counterfeits do NOT have the same effect on numismatics as the recently made Numismatic Forgeries.

You are all following a red herring argument that Marshall places out there as if it was gospel truth. It is NOT TRUE. All counterfeits are not the same.

There are hundreds of collectors, scholars and authors like myself who are researching this aspect of coinage for the benefit of numismatists in the future. Destroying any historic counterfeit is like burning a unique book. The information it contains is gone for every. The blasť approach to the topic sounds ignorant.

I have never condoned destruction of anything except the Numismatic Forgeries made to fool collectors. Those are pure garbage. But to destroy an early Canadian counterfeit like Gordon's 20 cent coin from 1858 because it is still monetized (163 years later), could do harm to the understanding of counterfeiting at the inception of the Confederation. I never personally had the opportunity of examining that coin, but from the photos I have seen, it had several earmarks of a potentially rare CCC. If it was a numismatic forgery, I would also oppose its sale. But from a scientific perspective, I do not know what it was. Therefore, I will not join the rush to ignorantly condemn other individuals who are researching the topic of historic forgery using the tools of modern science.

Marshall cites the letter of the law but then misses or ignores several key elements of the law needed by prosecutors in Canada or any other jurisdiction when they pursue any case under the counterfeiting statutes. The most serious of these is the simple presence of the INTENT TO DEFRAUD. There is no hint of an intent to defraud present in the case we are discussing. And I daresay that no Canadian prosecutor would bring such a foolish prosecution before an actual judge. Such a prosecutor would be laughed out of court and ridiculed from the bench for pressing such a trivial case when there are millions of dollars at stake in other areas where time and effort could be put to better use.

The "CRIME" here is a miniscule infraction of a law that is in simple terms NEVER enforced. The sale of a Canadian 20 cent piece dated 1858 as a Contemporary Circulating Counterfeit coin would rise to criminal level of the theft of 20 cents. Who in his right mind sees that as a crime that would attract the attention of the RCMP or anyone else?

I say again, I am totally in support of all actions taken against the large sellers of NUMISMATIC FORGERIES. For those and ONLY those actions, I would commend you and Mr. Marshall. But for any attack leveled at the sale, ownership or retention of non-current, non-circulating historical items you really need to smell the fish you are pedaling.

Mr. Marshall could not get the support of the Canadian authorities by your own admission to take action against the major Chinese forgers who plague our business and hobby costing all of US millions of dollars annually but you see me as wrong in my support for the legitimate study of historic counterfeiting methods of decades ago.

None of the comments above addresses the trivial nature of the offenses of Gordon Nichols that were used to bully him out of the hobby. I guess you also root for Goliath against David.

Will one of you that support Mr. Marshall's position, please list all of the individual prosecutions brought in Canada for the act of simply collecting counterfeit coins that have resulted in convictions. Please include the case dates and sentences handed down. Then I will be willing to discuss just exactly how foolish your "breaking the law" allegations truly are.
My book on Counterfeit Portrait 8Rs is available from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Counterfeit-.../1500497177/ or from me directly if you want it signed.
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 Posted 08/03/2021  8:40 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add okiecoiner to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Well, I think that we have gone as far as we can with this thread. Swamperbob seems to want to point all the fingers of his hand at Mr Marshal, rather than what is clearly delineated in the law as it is written. Mike Marshal doesn't make the law, the Bank of Canada doesn't make the law and the RCMP doesn't make the law. The Canadian gov't makes the law and that's who Mr swamperbob should have issue with. All Mr Marshal was doing was quoting what the law said and it applied/applies to a 2012 coin or an 1858 20 cent piece. Mr Nichols was told by numerous sources what his options were and he chose destroying them and getting an article in the CCN. I feel bad for him, but I have a problem with anyone jumping on people's back by telling the truth and quoting the law. "Nuf said.
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 Posted 08/03/2021  8:43 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add swamperbob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nuff said! Baloney. Marshall calls all COUNTERFEITS the same - that is simply NOT TRUE - Nuff said back at ya. H

Have you actually read anything I said?
My book on Counterfeit Portrait 8Rs is available from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Counterfeit-.../1500497177/ or from me directly if you want it signed.
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Canada
573 Posts
 Posted 08/03/2021  8:47 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add t_y to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Let me see if I understand what you said:

"To my friends and myself, everything. To all others, the law"

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 Posted 08/03/2021  8:50 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add swamperbob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
You certainly are a close ranked group supporting a miss statement of fact.

Marshall is WRONG not all counterfeit coins pose the same threat. All actual numismatists KNOW that to be a fact.

Still waiting for your long list of convictions under that law you say is being broken.

If there are no prosecutions for violations is it actually breaking the law?
My book on Counterfeit Portrait 8Rs is available from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Counterfeit-.../1500497177/ or from me directly if you want it signed.
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9842 Posts
 Posted 08/03/2021  9:12 pm  Show Profile   Check SPP-Ottawa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add SPP-Ottawa to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
There are hundreds of collectors, scholars and authors like myself who are researching this aspect of coinage for the benefit of numismatists in the future. Destroying any historic counterfeit is like burning a unique book. The information it contains is gone for every. The blasť approach to the topic sounds ignorant.

I have never condoned destruction of anything except the Numismatic Forgeries made to fool collectors. Those are pure garbage. But to destroy an early Canadian counterfeit like Gordon's 20 cent coin from 1858 because it is still monetized (163 years later), could do harm to the understanding of counterfeiting at the inception of the Confederation. I never personally had the opportunity of examining that coin, but from the photos I have seen, it had several earmarks of a potentially rare CCC. If it was a numismatic forgery, I would also oppose its sale. But from a scientific perspective, I do not know what it was.


Yet - the collection was destroyed (or at least that's how I read it, in Canadian Coin News). If it were of that scientific importance, then why didn't Gordon send it to you? The Bank of Canada Currency Museum has hundreds of contemporary counterfeits in it collection, and would have accepted a donation of historical significance, had Gordon done his homework to contact the museum curator (or consulted someone, like an established dealer like Sandy Campbell, Mike Findlay, Brian Bell, or RCNA executive like Henry Nienhuis, etc.), who could have told him whom to contact directly.

As a scientist, I agree with you that these coins have historical value - but I 100% support Canadian law that these coins have zero monetary value (numismatic, intrinsic, or face value). I recently acquired an entire Canadian contemporary counterfeit collection in a private sale (400+ pieces, also with a few 1858 20c pieces and NFLD pieces) - knowing fully well (in advance) that I would never, ever see that money I spent again. I even got permission from the RCMP prior to acquiring the collection. After each piece is weighed and has an XRF analysis, and the peer reviewed journal paper is written and accepted, I will then donate the entire collection to the currency museum.

My point is, I knew darn well what I was spending in advance, and know fully well that I won't see a dime back - and yet the collection will be available for future study. You certainly won't see me destroying anything of historical significance and lamenting about it in Canadian Coin News.
"Discovery follows discovery, each both raising and answering questions, each ending a long search, and each providing the new instruments for a new search." -- J. Robert Oppenheimer

Content of this post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses...0/deed.en_US

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 Posted 08/03/2021  9:20 pm  Show Profile   Check SPP-Ottawa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add SPP-Ottawa to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
If there are no prosecutions for violations is it actually breaking the law?


Seriously? Do you really want to turn this into a philosophical argument on ethics?
"Discovery follows discovery, each both raising and answering questions, each ending a long search, and each providing the new instruments for a new search." -- J. Robert Oppenheimer

Content of this post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses...0/deed.en_US

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Pillar of the Community
Canada
1701 Posts
 Posted 08/03/2021  9:37 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Smallcentguy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I am on no one's side here.

This hobby has a tendency to get a lot of extreme opinions being voiced about people who only have good intentions at heart.

It is time for all to put the weapons down. There are no true enemies here as far as I can tell.
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 Posted 08/03/2021  10:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add swamperbob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
SPP-Ottawa Thank you for a thoughtful response.

I asked Gordon the same question you raised. Why didn't he just ship his collection here? Here they are completely legal to own, retain, study and even sell. I could study them and see if I concur with his classification based on how the coins were made and of what they were made. If they were rare collectable counterfeits, Stacks would have accepted the consignment for sale. There was no reason to hound him out of collecting.

John Lorenzo the third collaborator on the "Counterfeit Portrait Eight Reales" asked me the same thing you did. Why in the world would Gordon destroy these coins? It does not make sense. From all external clues Gordon loved his collection. He was proud of his assembly of counterfeits. His response has me genuinely concerned for his own health. Gordon has been silent for quite a while. I am trying to catch up a bit on his own health and the status of his wife. He is simply not very communicative.

Gordon often responds in ways that seem strange to people who do not know him well.

I believe Gordon could simply not accept being attacked for the items he has been buying and selling for years with other interested collectors. Most counterfeit collectors reside outside of Canada and are not bound by actively enforced restrictions. I definitely would have bid for his 1858 20 cent piece had I known he wanted to sell it. Here it has been legal to own since the 1873 Mint Statute was passed. Counterfeit collecting is an international phenomenon.

Canada seems to have very restrictive laws on the books, but like the US I could find no record of them actually being enforced against people like Gordon at all. Case loads and convictions for counterfeiting run between 40 and 50 offenders a year in all of the provinces combined. But these cases all involve substantial face value amounts and intent to defraud. Based on prosecutorial standards of Canada - intent to defraud is a key component before a case goes to court.

I can't really envision anyone being prosecuted for anything like the sale of counterfeit coins with face values under $1 that are never seen in actual circulation. They fail to meet the standards needed for prosecution as counterfeits of current money.

I believe that the one point that must be clarified in everyone's mind is that the greatest danger to numismatics and to commerce itself is the massive influx of counterfeits from China. These include current circulating coins like the toonies but also NF of rare types of all dates made to defraud collectors. Both must be stopped.

Unfortunately under international law the US can not halt sales of fakes from China because they are legal to make and export in China. That same legal hurdle caused eBay to abandon the CWC authentications and revert to Caveat Emptor.

At some point, people who go around yelling "it's illegal" need to face reality that an offense is only illegal when there are actual arrests and prosecutions. A law on the books that is never enforced is nothing but meaningless words. To be a crime there needs to be criminal intent, a victim and a system willing to prosecute the case - there are none of those in this case.

So what do we do? In my opinion, Fight against Chinese fakes with every resource we have, and stop wasting time on victimless crime that will never be prosecuted. Nothing people like Mike Marshall do will ever stop people from collecting counterfeits. It is a very fast growing segment of coin collecting and shows no signs of slowing down.

What we all need to do is follow simple rules of courtesy when dealing with other collectors. Certainly no one here can throw the first stone. And no one should be treated as Gordon perceives he was.




My book on Counterfeit Portrait 8Rs is available from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Counterfeit-.../1500497177/ or from me directly if you want it signed.
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 Posted 08/04/2021  02:01 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add kbbpll to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I don't know either person and I'm not Canadian, so I probably shouldn't weigh in. I am familiar with Mr. Marshall only from forums, and I truly appreciate everything he's done to try to eliminate the scourge of current collector counterfeits. However, the "black and white" approach he apparently advocates via that article comes off as a bit high and mighty to me. Particularly the part regarding estates. If he feels that strongly about it, why not destroy his black cabinet now? Why wait? Because he loves his collection and wants to keep it. Sure, he wants to educate other people etc, but fundamentally I bet he loves having them. So now, if one of his heirs also happens to be a collector, that heir has this fabulous collection and is forced to destroy it. Can you imagine how that heir would feel? What a burden to dump on somebody! Some of these counterfeit coins are hundreds of years old. Some have been passed down through generations. I have an 1861 contemporary counterfeit dime from my grandmother, who most likely got it from her great-grandfather Civil War veteran. But when I die, I'm supposed to command my heirs to destroy it? This is the problem with a "black and white" approach. Marshall suggests that all these "black cabinet" collectors are free to enjoy their hundreds of years' old coins (as long as god forbid they only do so for "educational purposes"), but within a generation all this history has to be trashed. I don't accept that. It is a problem, not a solution.
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 Posted 08/04/2021  06:48 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add okiecoiner to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I am sorry if some of my written words in this thread have stepped on some toes and caused ill feelings. I'm just trying to stand up for someone who is trying to keep the Canadian Numismatic hobby pure of fakes. Mike M started his crusade against modern fakes/counterfeits about 10 years ago with very little help from the outside, except for friends. His targets were NOT the modern looni and toonie fakes, they weere the huge influxes of Chinese and E European fakes of scarcer Canadian coinage. From one of the 2 mints in China, you could order any coin, any denomination, any date and use them as you saw fit.

They could be ordered by10's, 20's, 50's, 100's copies whatever you wanted, as well as a selection of what alloy to be used. You wanted 50 copies of an 1858 20 cent piece, no problem; 100 copies of a 1919 50 cent piece, no problem. The buyers would then march over to Ebay or coin auctions and start selling them as the real thing; no mention of reproduction . The Chinese makers made it seem like you could order coins for birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, or 100-200 years before any of them or just to have examples for their own use. THOSE are the things that Mike started fighting against and the subject of his first few years on educational seminars that he used to hold in conjunction with large week-long coin shows and conventions. Only since the 1996-on loonie and toonie fakes have those been included. This same problem with the Chinese fakes is not limited to Canadian coins ... ALL countries with a rich numismatic Heritage is being affected

Many of us that frequent the coin web-sites preview auctions in the T.O. area and we tell the auctioneers that some of their material is fake. Nearly all then remove them from their auctions. There are many Canadian numismatic collectors who may have fakes in their collection, depending on where they acquired them. It doesn't takes many times being duped or cheated that people give up the hobby. Mike M just wanted to clean up the playing field and maybe all this hubbub will finally get some affirmative action started. But, before everyone lays down their swords, one thing should remain clear. It is against the law in Canada to possess, own or sell fake/counterfeit coins or paper money. There are no if's and's or but's about it. If people want the laws to change, then contact your representative, but don't blame Mike M for making someone destroy his collection. I find it strange that EBay doesn't allow Cuban coinage to be sold, nor Nazi coinage, but it's OK for them to sell fake Canadian coinage.
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 Posted 08/04/2021  2:30 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add swamperbob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
okiecoiner You still don't get it. You are stepping on toes simply because of your "black and white" approach to the issue. kbbpll who is a first time responder understands the topic better than you do.

It is not BLACK and White that all Counterfeits are equal. You are attacking Gordon but at the same time attacking all counterfeit collectors worldwide by applying a Canadian law to all counterfeits. That is Mike Marshall's error and yours. Collecting Canadian counterfeits is legal in many jurisdictions.

Almost all of your post is devoted VERY correctly to the real problem - China and Eastern Europe imports of massive numbers of recently produced copies that target the collector market. This is the problem.

So you seem to understand that is where the problem lies. Why oppose someone like Gordon when a large segment of his "counterfeit" sales leave Canada. You guys should be happy to see those terrible illegal coins leave.

Contrary to what your moderator believes Contemporary Circulating Counterfeits are not worthless on the open market. Numismatic Forgeries are worthless and should be destroyed. That is what is black and white.

I certainly hope that none of you use the US version of eBay. Your zealous one way approach to counterfeits is unwelcome in the US and most of the world. Target all of the Chinese junk you want fine. Leave old non-circulating counterfeits out of the discussion.

I do not live in Canada. Canadian law does not apply to me. It is highly presumptuous to imply that it does. Canadians can interpret their laws as they wish DO NOT insist that everyone else does the same.

Until Mike and/or CCN issues an apology to Gordon - the swords will remain unsheathed.
My book on Counterfeit Portrait 8Rs is available from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Counterfeit-.../1500497177/ or from me directly if you want it signed.
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 Posted 08/04/2021  3:44 pm  Show Profile   Check 47P7's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 47P7 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
swamperbob
I believe YOU are "purposely" forgetting that all Canadian money from 1858 (I believe) to now is legal and valid currency. And, I do not believe that any dealer or auction company would knowingly sell a piece of metal suggesting it to be a Canadian coin. I am not sure, but I think everything before 1858 is a different story.
Most countries, including the USA, do respect and honor legal currencies and the laws about them of other countries.
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 Posted 08/04/2021  3:49 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add okiecoiner to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
YOU are the one who doesn't understand! I have never said that all counterfeits are equal. DO NOT put words into my mouth that I did not utter!! I said that the law makes ANY counterfeit illegal to possess. Is that too hard to understand? I'll loan you a ladder to get down off your high horse. All ANYONE is saying is that the law, as currently written, makes it ILLEGAL to possess them. The government, their lawyers, the RCMP and local police say exactly the same thing... a counterfeit is a counterfeit! If it's a copy, fake counterfeit or anything else, it is illegal. All we are trying to say, and nothing against Mr Nichols, but it was illegal to possess them, let alone resell them from wherever he got them. If someone wants to get the gov't to change the law, have at it. No one is stopping you
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 Posted 08/04/2021  4:55 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Andy888 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I've been a collector of Canadian coins for 35+ years and I'm also a dealer. I appreciate Mike Marshall's work very much. Being that I sell almost exclusively on eBay, I appreciate that Mike is doing a great deal to curb fake Canadian coins being offered online which makes eBay a safer place.

I'll take the time to answer swamperbobs questions:

swamperbob: "You are all missing the real issue. Are all counterfeits the same? Is that a simple enough question?"

My Answer: Simple answer, yes all counterfeits are the same. Counterfeits were made illegally to fool an unsuspecting person whether it was an 1858 penny that was made 150 years ago or a 1948 silver dollar that was made yesterday in China. I believe counterfeits have no place in the hobby. Counterfeit coins ARE being bought, sold, and traded every single day by unknowing collectors which is terrible for them and also terrible for our beloved hobby. In my opinion a counterfeit 1858 penny is the same as a counterfeit 1948 dollar and is also the same as a counterfeit 2012 toonie so YES, all counterfeits are the same and should be destroyed or returned to the appropriate government authority.


swamperbob "Destroying any historic counterfeit is like burning a unique book."

My answer: Actually I would suggest it would be like burning a counterfeit book. There is nothing "unique" about a forgery. Burning a fake is A-OK in my eyes.

I understand that swamperbob is close to this subject since he is the author of a book about counterfeits as well as a personal friend of Gord's. You're a good friend to Gord but anytime you find yourself writing "You are all missing the real issue" I would ask myself is it really everyone else who is missing the issue? Or perhaps is it me that's missing the issue? That's when it can be a good idea to look at the issue from another perspective. All love and respect to you swamperbob and all the other brothers and sisters of this wonderful hobby. Just my 2 cents ;)
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