Just about every week I get a call or two from someone wanting to know if their newly acquired Bust dollar, Seated dollar or Trade dollar is genuine. Since I can't figure that out on the phone, I request pictures. Inevitably, when I receive the pictures I have to deliver unhappy news that the coin is counterfeit. Then I ask, where did you get the coin? The answer is usually, from some place such as a local auction, eBay, Craigslist, etc. Then I ask, did you buy this coin because you are a collector of this series? And almost always, the response is "No, I collect Lincoln cents (or Walkers or Morgans, etc.), I just bought this because I thought it was inexpensive." Which makes sense - - counterfeits can be inexpensive compared with the genuine coins. For one thing, the person selling the counterfeit usually has to pay a lot less for it than I would have to pay for a genuine coin.
But if you don't collect that series, you probably don't know what the genuine coin looks like, in which case how can you be sure that coin you buy in some out-of-the-way place is genuine and not counterfeit?
And, remember, a slabbed coin is not without risk, either, because some slabs have been counterfeited and contain counterfeit coins.
To avoid these problems, I suggest you use a dealer who:
1. As a collector, collected all of the U. S. silver, nickel and copper series to virtual completion,
2. Identified counterfeit coins being sold in counterfeit PCGS holders,
3. Got seller's (in #2 above) advertising priviliges revoked by Coin World and Numismatic News,
4. Furnished information to PCGS that helped PCGS win its legal case against the counterfeit seller,
5. Presented information on the counterfeits to a meeting of Liberty Seated Collectors Club members at the Baltimore show, to educate collectors and dealers, and
6. Has a ten day return privilege on mail order sales for any reason for a full refund with no restocking fees.
Oh, and by the way, that dealer is me.
- - - Rich Uhrich