Cracked open PCGS Holder & Posts which have been blown away.

 

The Rest of the Story (this is what I was asked not to put on the Web about 2 years ago) by PCGS.

 

1. As you can see the slabs could not be sliced open from the sides without leaving a visiable line.

 

PCGS is not giving us a way of determining if a slab is real or not.
I was at an auction and bought a group of PCGS slabs cheap. I cracked out the silver and sold it so I could look at the construction of the Slabs. Check out the pictures below.
You will notice the Top Cover -1 (Cert # Side) snaps into the Bottom Cover-2 (Hologram Side). The edge of the Bottom Cover has a slight back angle-4 on it which allows a tight fit to the top cover. The arrow-3 points to a groove around the bottom cover where it is sonically welded.

 

2. The damaged rib is seen on “good” slabs occasionally.  See another coin below which many dealers have looked at and think is “good”. 

The pictures of the 1932-D MS65 counterfeit are below:

 

Question? Could "rejected" (or not rejected) raw slabs (from their production lines) be getting into the “wrong” hands?

 

This is a topic which was posted on the IkeGroup's website when I created the Forum.   My relationship with the group has been dissolved and they have removed a lot of my input plus this group of posts and topic.

BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

BEWARE!!!!COUNTERFEIT PCGS SLABS

 

 

Post a reply

13 posts •

Page 1 of 21, 2

 

BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by BillSanders» Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:39 pm

Well guys I have a sad story about a rip off that I hope will help catch the people and get PCGS to tell us how we can check to confirm that their slabs are real.

Last month I went with a friend to look at 5 PCGS slabbed coins which someone in need of quick money was selling for cash. I went along as a witness and to voice my opinion as to the value of the coins with the understanding that I was held harmless.

When we first saw the coins, we were in doubt about the whole deal and took a close look at the coins. Three were peace dollars which looked way over graded. One a Morgan dollar MS63 which looked about right and the 5th was a MS65 1932-D Quarter.

After some negotiating, I checked the cert #‘s on the PCGS website, they all showed the correct grade for each coin & no alerts. A Bill of Sale was signed and the deal was done. We returned with the coins to my place to check the coins against known good PCGS slabs. I used verniers (or calipers) in order to see if the slabs were real (We noticed a rib on one looked damaged but the slab did not look cracked open). They all checked out against the real slabs. That night we took the coins over to two of my close friends (both with 40 years of collecting experience and very respectable collections of high grade coins). They both were interested in the 1932-D MS65 (as it would upgrade their collections). Both thought the coin might be slightly overgraded but could see how it might get into a MS65 holder.

The next day my friend stopped by a coin shop he knew and showed them the coins. They immediately thought they were “wrong” and pronounced them suspect. Their reasoning was the deal was to good to be true and the 1932-D slab looked tampered with and the peace dollars were not the grade on the slabs.

I suggested to my friend that we send them into PCGS for review. (I still did not think the 1932-D was lower than MS64.) He sent them in and PCGS called with bad news.

All altered slabs with replaced coins. It seems that the coins were removed from the slabs and replaced with lower grade or altered coins.

Beware. I’m a tool and die maker with 35 years in the trade plus I have an engineering degree. Fooled me- if I had the funds I would have bought the 1932-D.


ATTACHED IS A PICTURE OF THE PERSON SIGNING THE BILL OF SALE. IF ANYONE SEES HER PLEASE WRITE SO I CAN TIP OFF THE AUTHORITIES.

BillSanders

 

 

 

Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by 19Lyds» Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:20 pm

You gonna post this over on the PCGS Forums?

I cannot and will not be held responsible for my typing errors as it appears that there is a bug in the keyboard!
........I've tried on numberous occasions to fix the problme but it just keeps coming back agin and again! -L. Lydston 2008


19Lyds

Posts:

494

 

 

 

Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by BillSanders» Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:16 pm

I've been asked, not to put this post on PCGS, at this time.
Bill


BillSanders

 

 

 

Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by 19Lyds» Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:01 pm

By who?

PCGS?

I cannot and will not be held responsible for my typing errors as it appears that there is a bug in the keyboard!
........I've tried on numberous occasions to fix the problme but it just keeps coming back agin and again! -L. Lydston 2008


19Lyds

Posts:

494

 

 

 

Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by BillSanders» Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:06 pm

BUYER BEWARE
#HYPERLINK "http://forums.collectors.com/messageview.cfm?catid=26&threadid=785720&STARTPAGE=1"

http://forums.collectors.com/messageview.cfm?catid=26&threadid=785720&STARTPAGE=1
Don Willis recent post on the PCGS Collectors Forum has compelled a response from me based on the attitude of the Grading Companies. I am getting the impression that they feel, if we did not buy their service directly from them, they are not responsible for any future complications which may arise related to purchasing a coin which is already in one of their holders. I can see how they would feel this way, since they cannot stop the counterfeiters from duplicating their slabs and /or removing and resealing slabs.
We as collectors have no way of telling if a slab has been tampered with at the point of purchase. We are only able to use the information which the TPG’s have supplied in order to access any purchase. This information is incomplete or lacking entirely. The value of any coin already in a holder has become questionable to anyone not on the same level of expertise as the PCGS grading staff.
The TPG’s Grading Service has added value to our coins by providing the collector an assurance of reliable authenticity. How much added value does the TPG’s Service add when there is no way for a Collector to know if the slab has been TAMPERED WITH?
Below is a hypothetical case composed of situations which parallel resent experiences.
BUYER BEWARE

How often have we heard or read this truism? How often have we coin collectors been stung by in retrospect an obvious sucker play when the enthusiasms of the moment drowned out that sober phrase, “buyer beware”?
And now there is a new sucker play, one that threatens to rip apart the sense of security many of us enjoy by limiting our purchases to the top Third Party Graded holders. Why, after all, these companies, especially PCGS, stand behind their grading and certification, right?
Yes, they do, up to a point. A new profit-driven threat is emerging, however, that the Ike Goup wants to bring to the attention of our Registrants: original TPG holders are being craftily opened and the original coin replaced by the same date and mint mark except in a lower grade (or a well fashioned counterfeit), the holder then re-sealed so cleverly it is impossible for you or I to detect the operation. Such holders are not covered by TPG guarantees and you might be protected only by the dealer or auction house if they choose to do so.
Here’s a fiction example to illustrate:
I see a PCGS holdered Morgan Dollar coin of considerable value, an 1893-S in MS62 at a seemingly reputable dealer’s table at a major California coin show. The dealer says he will sell the coin for $20,000 with a written guarantee stating I could return the coin for a refund within 30 days for any reason:

7226
1893-S MS
+ 2,700
- 4,350
AU56 - 9,200
MS62 - 34,000
MS63 - 37,500 130,000
MS64 - 145,000 185,000
MS65 - 215,000 330,000
395,000 650,000
- -
-


Being a smart cookie, I bring my friend, an experienced numismatist, over to the table and he sits down with a loupe and spends a good ten minutes examining the coin and the holder. My friend then goes back to his table with me and we look up the holder’s cert number on the PCGS web site and the number is legitimate.
At this point I’m getting seriously excited but my friend is staying calm and sober: he sighs, shrugs, and says “The coin is lucky to be in a 62 holder, if re-graded raw it could wind up a 60 or 61 or even a 58, but it’s a great price for a 62 holder and not out of line for a 58, the coin seems genuine and I can find no indication that the holder is counterfeit or tampered with”. We go back to the seller’s table and the seller says he would convey the 30 day no-question buy-back to me in the form of a notarized document. I glance at my friend who shrugs, takes me aside, says, “I’m always leery when a key Morgan is being sold at a bargain price: tell you what, get that 30 day right of return in writing and we’ll drive the holder to Newport Beach and pay for their 2-day walk-through service, just to be sure.”
The next day, a Thursday, I give the seller a Cashier’s Check for $20,000 and he gives me the coin and a hand-written, signed and notarized no-question 30-day buy-back guarantee. We drive to Newport Beach that same day and drop off the coin with the PCGS Submission form properly filled out.
It’s now Tuesday of the next week and I have heard nothing from PCGS. Feeling anxious I have a sinking feeling as an idea occurs to me: I should have checked to see if the Cert number for this 83-S Morgan was in someone’s Registry Set. There are too many Registry Sets to check each one so I open a dummy Morgan Registry Set under my name and enter the 83-S cert number. Immediately I’m told this Cert # is already in a Morgan Registry Set. Uh oh.
I phone PCGS, finally get through to a person with some responsible for my coin and he breaks the bad news to me: “The coin is probably a counterfeit, though a darn good one, we couldn’t tell without cracking the holder and we did that when we suspected the holder might had been tampered with, also with great skill so we could not be sure until we opened it up. The coin is now being held for a US Secret Service investigation as the law requires for counterfeit coins of this valuation. The PCGS guarantee does not apply to counterfeit coins nor if the holder has been tampered with. We’re terribly sorry.”
Stunned, I was at a loss for words.
THERE ARE A LOT OF REAL LIFE STUNNED PEOPLE OUT THERE!
BILL

 


BillSanders

Site Admin

Posts:

501

 

 

 

Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by robEzerman» Fri Aug 27, 2010 4:58 pm

There is indeed growing concern about the increasing skill of rare coin counterfeiters and the criminals who create TPG slab and tag copies and who have found ways to open original slabs, change coins and reseal the slabs so artfully that only the TPG can tell and probably only for sure when they open the slab.

The concern is very real because no TPG guarantees the contents of a tampered holder or of any coin that proves to be counterfeit.

While Don Willis is correct that it is primarily the buyer's responsibility to acquire raw coins and holdered coins with great care, it is rarely good business to blame the customer, in this case the average rare coin collector who simply wants to trust a PCGS slab that looks OK and whose Cert number checks out OK.

Unfortunately, the current rare coin market and the value added by TPG certification are both threatened by the increasing skill of coin criminals: there are many important coin deals between individuals, including via the PCGS web site, where the only protection against a total loss is the honor of the seller and his/her willingness to protect the buyer. Up to quite recently a PCGS holdered coin gave prospective buyers sufficient security that deals could be consummated without paying much attention to the character and reputation of the seller. That sense of security translated in increasing valuation for PCGS holdered coins and increasing business for PCGS.

We now seem to be turning back the clock. Willis makes a strong point that the only way to protect oneself is to buy slabbed coins from a reputable auction house or major dealer who guarantees the holder and coin are genuine WITH NO TIME LIMITATION. Kinda puts a damper on the business model of the average small-town brick and mortar, and buying/selling better coins on ebay.

In the fictional account above, a key weakness in the transaction was the otherwise air-tight return for refund that was limited to 30 days. (The key weakness exhibited by PCGS was leaving the impression that a matched Cert # means a lot when in many cases it provides a false sense of security.)

If you take a PCGS holder to PCGS to have it checked out, and if PCGS deems a coin in a tampered holder to be counterfeit, that coin will likely never be returned: whether true or not, the Secret Service is blamed. If the coin is genuine but the holder was opened to allow substitution of a lower grade of the same coin, the PCGS guarantee is also void and to add insult to injury, it is likely that PCGS will hold on to that coin for years in anticipation of possible legal action against the perpetrator. You're flat outa luck in either case. The issue is further clouded by the secrecy that often surrounds the decision making process coupled with PCGS's understandable reluctance to proactively warn customers lest a panic ensue.

It's unfortunate that PCGS also feels it can not reveal how it detects counterfeit holders for fear of "educating" the counterfeiters. It would much better if PCGS could develop a holder with sufficiently robust security that going public with details would pose no threat to PCGS. It's unfortunate, at present, that the only way to know that a given holder and coin are legitimate is through the services of PCGS wherein it is very possible that the holder will be opened and the holder and contents confiscated or held indefinitely if either coin or holder seem to be of questionable authenticity in their opinion, itself a black-box operation.

I hope PCGS has a crash program in place involving qualified engineers and plastics experts to address this problem of ever more skillful coin criminals. Creative thinking should be invited with cash rewards for the best suggestions. Maybe start by taking digital photos of every coin being holdered with PCGS valuation over $250 and automatically link the photographs to Cert search: would take take a few extra seconds in the slabbing room, use up a few electrons and server space so not expensive or difficult. This way, any prospective purchaser with a laptop and internet connection could pull up an accurate photo of the coin that should be inside the holder with that Cert number. Throw in a more secure holder with up-front diagnostics if tampered and the problem would be solved, at least for a few years. . .

Common, PCGS, spend 10% on this problem that you're spending on pushing other programs! You're getting too close to the edge of a cliff for my comfort. Rob

Now is the time to cherry Ikes. Lots of fruit still on the trees but don't wait too long. Rob Ezerman


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Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by BillSanders» Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:36 pm

Hi Guys,
Here are some thoughts which may not have occurred to you?

Could PCGS have a business plan which is causing them to NOT do anything to aid us in being able to detect counterfeit holders at the point of transactions?
What if they have concluded that almost all the very valuable coins are already in the aprox. 20 Million coins in slabs?
Why are they developing a digital feature recognition system which they say is for detecting altered coins, that is useful to collectors only if, the coin has been SECURE PLUS GRADED?
Where will the coins come from for slabbing in the future?
Could they have concluded that if there is a doubt about a coin’s authenticity, we will send it to them for the SECURE PLUS re-slabbing?
Are the coins we have in their holders the new market they are targeting in the future?
Could the above be the reasons why we are not getting the details on how to recognize a slab that has been tampered with (not the impeding of investigations as they state)?
Just some thoughts- which may get you thinking.
Bill


BillSanders

Site Admin

Posts:

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Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by Sumdunce» Sun Aug 29, 2010 2:22 pm

Rather interesting point of view.

I cannot say I have not thought similarly. But then again I am ever the skeptic.

V/R



S

Eschew obfuscation!

 

 

Sumdunce

Posts:

352

 

 

 

Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by BillSanders» Sun Aug 29, 2010 2:34 pm

Also.... I've asked this question of PCGS customer service and not got a creditable answer.
Why, when I checked the cert #’s on PCGS website (before the coins were purchased) did my check, NOT show me that 2 of them were in someone’s REGISTRY SET? The check showed me that all cert #’s were OK and the grades on the holders were the same as in their Data Base. If it had come back that 2 of the coins were in someone’s Set, it would have STOPPED the purchasing of the coins. (I checked to see if they were posted in a SET as an afterthought by making up a fake Registry Set and entering the Slab #’s).

HUMM.......MAKES YOU WONDER......don't it?
Bill

 

 

Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by BillSanders » Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:44 pm

 

http://coins.about.com/od/coingrading/ig/Fake-PCGS-Slab-Diagnostics/
Above is a link to a website were a Chinese counterfeiter shows us how to detect his work. He did this because he has already sold these counterfeit holders and could not care less if we now know they are fakes. He has already changed his process and has been paid for the holders. Any coin you see in a holder like these is suspect.
As an aside comment:
Someone had posted these pictures on a thread on the PCGS Collectors Forum. I posted a comment on the thread about how I had checked the above counterfeit coins against the pictures (and good slabs I own) before sending them to PCGS for evaluation (they checked OK). I just went there to see if anyone responded to my comments. It seems the whole Thread has been blown away.
Hummmm……SEEMS A LITTLE STRANGE………??????????????
Bill

 

Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by BrianVaile» Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:31 am

Wow!...GREAT EDUCATIONAL LINK!

Any one who buys PCGS holdered coins should read this. Hope they haven't fixed their "mistakes" yet!

Bill, Thanks for posting this!

Happy Hunting!
Brian

 

 

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Posts:

529

 

 

Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by davew» Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:00 pm

PCGS makes money with submissions and resubmissions

they lose money when they pay on their guarantee

they make money when people try to collect on their guarantee



I have heard of split coins in slab, especially on 1932-X quarters and 1945-P FSB dimes -


when they keep these coins, do they try to follow providence back, and help submitter get refund?


or are they just protecting their brand and dealer network? let the lemming collectors be scrued.

 

 

davew

Posts:

11

 

 

 

Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by BillSanders» Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:41 am

or are they just protecting their brand and dealer network? let the lemming collectors be scrued.


After following this case and observing PCGS's reactions, I can only conclude the above.
Bill


 

BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

BEWARE!!!!COUNTERFEIT PCGS SLABS

 

 

Post a reply

13 posts •

Page 1 of 21, 2

 

BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by BillSanders» Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:39 pm

Well guys I have a sad story about a rip off that I hope will help catch the people and get PCGS to tell us how we can check to confirm that their slabs are real.

Last month I went with a friend to look at 5 PCGS slabbed coins which someone in need of quick money was selling for cash. I went along as a witness and to voice my opinion as to the value of the coins with the understanding that I was held harmless.

When we first saw the coins, we were in doubt about the whole deal and took a close look at the coins. Three were peace dollars which looked way over graded. One a Morgan dollar MS63 which looked about right and the 5th was a MS65 1932-D Quarter.

After some negotiating, I checked the cert #‘s on the PCGS website, they all showed the correct grade for each coin & no alerts. A Bill of Sale was signed and the deal was done. We returned with the coins to my place to check the coins against known good PCGS slabs. I used verniers (or calipers) in order to see if the slabs were real (We noticed a rib on one looked damaged but the slab did not look cracked open). They all checked out against the real slabs. That night we took the coins over to two of my close friends (both with 40 years of collecting experience and very respectable collections of high grade coins). They both were interested in the 1932-D MS65 (as it would upgrade their collections). Both thought the coin might be slightly overgraded but could see how it might get into a MS65 holder.

The next day my friend stopped by a coin shop he knew and showed them the coins. They immediately thought they were “wrong” and pronounced them suspect. Their reasoning was the deal was to good to be true and the 1932-D slab looked tampered with and the peace dollars were not the grade on the slabs.

I suggested to my friend that we send them into PCGS for review. (I still did not think the 1932-D was lower than MS64.) He sent them in and PCGS called with bad news.

All altered slabs with replaced coins. It seems that the coins were removed from the slabs and replaced with lower grade or altered coins.

Beware. I’m a tool and die maker with 35 years in the trade plus I have an engineering degree. Fooled me- if I had the funds I would have bought the 1932-D.


ATTACHED IS A PICTURE OF THE PERSON SIGNING THE BILL OF SALE. IF ANYONE SEES HER PLEASE WRITE SO I CAN TIP OFF THE AUTHORITIES.

Attachments

&&&&
BillSanders

 

 

 

Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by 19Lyds» Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:20 pm

You gonna post this over on the PCGS Forums?

I cannot and will not be held responsible for my typing errors as it appears that there is a bug in the keyboard!
........I've tried on numberous occasions to fix the problme but it just keeps coming back agin and again! -L. Lydston 2008


19Lyds

Posts:

494

 

 

 

Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by BillSanders» Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:16 pm

I've been asked, not to put this post on PCGS, at this time.
Bill


BillSanders

 

 

 

Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by 19Lyds» Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:01 pm

By who?

PCGS?

I cannot and will not be held responsible for my typing errors as it appears that there is a bug in the keyboard!
........I've tried on numberous occasions to fix the problme but it just keeps coming back agin and again! -L. Lydston 2008


19Lyds

Posts:

494

 

 

 

Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by BillSanders» Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:06 pm

BUYER BEWARE
#HYPERLINK "http://forums.collectors.com/messageview.cfm?catid=26&threadid=785720&STARTPAGE=1"

http://forums.collectors.com/messageview.cfm?catid=26&threadid=785720&STARTPAGE=1
Don Willis recent post on the PCGS Collectors Forum has compelled a response from me based on the attitude of the Grading Companies. I am getting the impression that they feel, if we did not buy their service directly from them, they are not responsible for any future complications which may arise related to purchasing a coin which is already in one of their holders. I can see how they would feel this way, since they cannot stop the counterfeiters from duplicating their slabs and /or removing and resealing slabs.
We as collectors have no way of telling if a slab has been tampered with at the point of purchase. We are only able to use the information which the TPG’s have supplied in order to access any purchase. This information is incomplete or lacking entirely. The value of any coin already in a holder has become questionable to anyone not on the same level of expertise as the PCGS grading staff.
The TPG’s Grading Service has added value to our coins by providing the collector an assurance of reliable authenticity. How much added value does the TPG’s Service add when there is no way for a Collector to know if the slab has been TAMPERED WITH?
Below is a hypothetical case composed of situations which parallel resent experiences.
BUYER BEWARE

How often have we heard or read this truism? How often have we coin collectors been stung by in retrospect an obvious sucker play when the enthusiasms of the moment drowned out that sober phrase, “buyer beware”?
And now there is a new sucker play, one that threatens to rip apart the sense of security many of us enjoy by limiting our purchases to the top Third Party Graded holders. Why, after all, these companies, especially PCGS, stand behind their grading and certification, right?
Yes, they do, up to a point. A new profit-driven threat is emerging, however, that the Ike Goup wants to bring to the attention of our Registrants: original TPG holders are being craftily opened and the original coin replaced by the same date and mint mark except in a lower grade (or a well fashioned counterfeit), the holder then re-sealed so cleverly it is impossible for you or I to detect the operation. Such holders are not covered by TPG guarantees and you might be protected only by the dealer or auction house if they choose to do so.
Here’s a fiction example to illustrate:
I see a PCGS holdered Morgan Dollar coin of considerable value, an 1893-S in MS62 at a seemingly reputable dealer’s table at a major California coin show. The dealer says he will sell the coin for $20,000 with a written guarantee stating I could return the coin for a refund within 30 days for any reason:

7226
1893-S MS
+ 2,700
- 4,350
AU56 - 9,200
MS62 - 34,000
MS63 - 37,500 130,000
MS64 - 145,000 185,000
MS65 - 215,000 330,000
395,000 650,000
- -
-


Being a smart cookie, I bring my friend, an experienced numismatist, over to the table and he sits down with a loupe and spends a good ten minutes examining the coin and the holder. My friend then goes back to his table with me and we look up the holder’s cert number on the PCGS web site and the number is legitimate.
At this point I’m getting seriously excited but my friend is staying calm and sober: he sighs, shrugs, and says “The coin is lucky to be in a 62 holder, if re-graded raw it could wind up a 60 or 61 or even a 58, but it’s a great price for a 62 holder and not out of line for a 58, the coin seems genuine and I can find no indication that the holder is counterfeit or tampered with”. We go back to the seller’s table and the seller says he would convey the 30 day no-question buy-back to me in the form of a notarized document. I glance at my friend who shrugs, takes me aside, says, “I’m always leery when a key Morgan is being sold at a bargain price: tell you what, get that 30 day right of return in writing and we’ll drive the holder to Newport Beach and pay for their 2-day walk-through service, just to be sure.”
The next day, a Thursday, I give the seller a Cashier’s Check for $20,000 and he gives me the coin and a hand-written, signed and notarized no-question 30-day buy-back guarantee. We drive to Newport Beach that same day and drop off the coin with the PCGS Submission form properly filled out.
It’s now Tuesday of the next week and I have heard nothing from PCGS. Feeling anxious I have a sinking feeling as an idea occurs to me: I should have checked to see if the Cert number for this 83-S Morgan was in someone’s Registry Set. There are too many Registry Sets to check each one so I open a dummy Morgan Registry Set under my name and enter the 83-S cert number. Immediately I’m told this Cert # is already in a Morgan Registry Set. Uh oh.
I phone PCGS, finally get through to a person with some responsible for my coin and he breaks the bad news to me: “The coin is probably a counterfeit, though a darn good one, we couldn’t tell without cracking the holder and we did that when we suspected the holder might had been tampered with, also with great skill so we could not be sure until we opened it up. The coin is now being held for a US Secret Service investigation as the law requires for counterfeit coins of this valuation. The PCGS guarantee does not apply to counterfeit coins nor if the holder has been tampered with. We’re terribly sorry.”
Stunned, I was at a loss for words.
THERE ARE A LOT OF REAL LIFE STUNNED PEOPLE OUT THERE!
BILL

 


BillSanders

Site Admin

Posts:

501

 

 

 

Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by robEzerman» Fri Aug 27, 2010 4:58 pm

There is indeed growing concern about the increasing skill of rare coin counterfeiters and the criminals who create TPG slab and tag copies and who have found ways to open original slabs, change coins and reseal the slabs so artfully that only the TPG can tell and probably only for sure when they open the slab.

The concern is very real because no TPG guarantees the contents of a tampered holder or of any coin that proves to be counterfeit.

While Don Willis is correct that it is primarily the buyer's responsibility to acquire raw coins and holdered coins with great care, it is rarely good business to blame the customer, in this case the average rare coin collector who simply wants to trust a PCGS slab that looks OK and whose Cert number checks out OK.

Unfortunately, the current rare coin market and the value added by TPG certification are both threatened by the increasing skill of coin criminals: there are many important coin deals between individuals, including via the PCGS web site, where the only protection against a total loss is the honor of the seller and his/her willingness to protect the buyer. Up to quite recently a PCGS holdered coin gave prospective buyers sufficient security that deals could be consummated without paying much attention to the character and reputation of the seller. That sense of security translated in increasing valuation for PCGS holdered coins and increasing business for PCGS.

We now seem to be turning back the clock. Willis makes a strong point that the only way to protect oneself is to buy slabbed coins from a reputable auction house or major dealer who guarantees the holder and coin are genuine WITH NO TIME LIMITATION. Kinda puts a damper on the business model of the average small-town brick and mortar, and buying/selling better coins on ebay.

In the fictional account above, a key weakness in the transaction was the otherwise air-tight return for refund that was limited to 30 days. (The key weakness exhibited by PCGS was leaving the impression that a matched Cert # means a lot when in many cases it provides a false sense of security.)

If you take a PCGS holder to PCGS to have it checked out, and if PCGS deems a coin in a tampered holder to be counterfeit, that coin will likely never be returned: whether true or not, the Secret Service is blamed. If the coin is genuine but the holder was opened to allow substitution of a lower grade of the same coin, the PCGS guarantee is also void and to add insult to injury, it is likely that PCGS will hold on to that coin for years in anticipation of possible legal action against the perpetrator. You're flat outa luck in either case. The issue is further clouded by the secrecy that often surrounds the decision making process coupled with PCGS's understandable reluctance to proactively warn customers lest a panic ensue.

It's unfortunate that PCGS also feels it can not reveal how it detects counterfeit holders for fear of "educating" the counterfeiters. It would much better if PCGS could develop a holder with sufficiently robust security that going public with details would pose no threat to PCGS. It's unfortunate, at present, that the only way to know that a given holder and coin are legitimate is through the services of PCGS wherein it is very possible that the holder will be opened and the holder and contents confiscated or held indefinitely if either coin or holder seem to be of questionable authenticity in their opinion, itself a black-box operation.

I hope PCGS has a crash program in place involving qualified engineers and plastics experts to address this problem of ever more skillful coin criminals. Creative thinking should be invited with cash rewards for the best suggestions. Maybe start by taking digital photos of every coin being holdered with PCGS valuation over $250 and automatically link the photographs to Cert search: would take take a few extra seconds in the slabbing room, use up a few electrons and server space so not expensive or difficult. This way, any prospective purchaser with a laptop and internet connection could pull up an accurate photo of the coin that should be inside the holder with that Cert number. Throw in a more secure holder with up-front diagnostics if tampered and the problem would be solved, at least for a few years. . .

Common, PCGS, spend 10% on this problem that you're spending on pushing other programs! You're getting too close to the edge of a cliff for my comfort. Rob

Now is the time to cherry Ikes. Lots of fruit still on the trees but don't wait too long. Rob Ezerman


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Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by BillSanders» Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:36 pm

Hi Guys,
Here are some thoughts which may not have occurred to you?

Could PCGS have a business plan which is causing them to NOT do anything to aid us in being able to detect counterfeit holders at the point of transactions?
What if they have concluded that almost all the very valuable coins are already in the aprox. 20 Million coins in slabs?
Why are they developing a digital feature recognition system which they say is for detecting altered coins, that is useful to collectors only if, the coin has been SECURE PLUS GRADED?
Where will the coins come from for slabbing in the future?
Could they have concluded that if there is a doubt about a coin’s authenticity, we will send it to them for the SECURE PLUS re-slabbing?
Are the coins we have in their holders the new market they are targeting in the future?
Could the above be the reasons why we are not getting the details on how to recognize a slab that has been tampered with (not the impeding of investigations as they state)?
Just some thoughts- which may get you thinking.
Bill


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Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by Sumdunce» Sun Aug 29, 2010 2:22 pm

Rather interesting point of view.

I cannot say I have not thought similarly. But then again I am ever the skeptic.

V/R



S

Eschew obfuscation!

 

 

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Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by BillSanders» Sun Aug 29, 2010 2:34 pm

Also.... I've asked this question of PCGS customer service and not got a creditable answer.
Why, when I checked the cert #’s on PCGS website (before the coins were purchased) did my check, NOT show me that 2 of them were in someone’s REGISTRY SET? The check showed me that all cert #’s were OK and the grades on the holders were the same as in their Data Base. If it had come back that 2 of the coins were in someone’s Set, it would have STOPPED the purchasing of the coins. (I checked to see if they were posted in a SET as an afterthought by making up a fake Registry Set and entering the Slab #’s).

HUMM.......MAKES YOU WONDER......don't it?
Bill

 

 

Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by BillSanders » Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:44 pm

 

http://coins.about.com/od/coingrading/ig/Fake-PCGS-Slab-Diagnostics/
Above is a link to a website were a Chinese counterfeiter shows us how to detect his work. He did this because he has already sold these counterfeit holders and could not care less if we now know they are fakes. He has already changed his process and has been paid for the holders. Any coin you see in a holder like these is suspect.
As an aside comment:
Someone had posted these pictures on a thread on the PCGS Collectors Forum. I posted a comment on the thread about how I had checked the above counterfeit coins against the pictures (and good slabs I own) before sending them to PCGS for evaluation (they checked OK). I just went there to see if anyone responded to my comments. It seems the whole Thread has been blown away.
Hummmm……SEEMS A LITTLE STRANGE………??????????????
Bill

 

Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by BrianVaile» Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:31 am

Wow!...GREAT EDUCATIONAL LINK!

Any one who buys PCGS holdered coins should read this. Hope they haven't fixed their "mistakes" yet!

Bill, Thanks for posting this!

Happy Hunting!
Brian

 

 

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Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by davew» Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:00 pm

PCGS makes money with submissions and resubmissions

they lose money when they pay on their guarantee

they make money when people try to collect on their guarantee



I have heard of split coins in slab, especially on 1932-X quarters and 1945-P FSB dimes -


when they keep these coins, do they try to follow providence back, and help submitter get refund?


or are they just protecting their brand and dealer network? let the lemming collectors be scrued.

 

 

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Re: BEWARE!!!!!!!!!Counterfeit or Altered PCGS Slabs

by BillSanders» Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:41 am

or are they just protecting their brand and dealer network? let the lemming collectors be scrued.


After following this case and observing PCGS's reactions, I can only conclude the above.
Bill