The History of Counterfeiting

In the past, I have talked about counterfeit coins and bullion, but recently I read an article that goes into great detail about the history of counterfeiting and how it has proliferated in recent history and has spread to become a worldwide problem.

The following content is from an article written by Beth Deisher, Industry Council for Tangible Assets Director of Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force, and has appeared in the CSNS Centinel.

“Counterfeiters have been plying their trade for thousands of years based on evidence that lies in the contemporary counterfeits of ancient coins dug up and documentation since the invention of the printing press.

Yet, throughout the centuries counterfeiters produced a relatively small number of coins in comparison to the number of real coins struck. It was simply a matter of talent and resources. It took artistic talent to hand-carve dies and humans to hammer-strike the coins.

Fast-forward to the beginning of the 21st century. During the first five years most government mints around the world began embracing computer technology and robotics in their die-making and coin production process. It was not a matter of simply installing and adapting modern manufacturing methods. Rather, competition- especially in the commemorative coin sector – demanded cost effective manufacturing and innovative features in design and metallurgy.

The search for both efficiency and innovation led to the U.S. Mint’s transition in 2008 to digital technology in its die making operation, producing both new efficiencies and precision. During the same period, the Mint moved to increase use of computer-controlled processes and robotics throughout its manufacturing and packaging process operations.

Ironically, rather than making counterfeiting more difficult, the transition to computers and digital technology has opened new doors of opportunity for counterfeiters. That is primarily due to rapid leaps in technology and knowledge of how to use it that have spread throughout the world at unprecedented levels. The same is true for the accessibility to computer hardware and production equipment used in the various stages of coin production. Costs and availability are no longer a barrier to entry.

During 2007 and 2008, it became apparent to the numismatic community that the numbers of counterfeit coins in the U.S. marketplace were increasing at a rapid pace. A Coin World and New York Times investigation resulted in the discovery of over 100 thriving coin counterfeiting operations in China. One proprietor claimed that he could produce 100,000 counterfeit coins per month and was selling many of them on eBay.

Today, less than 10 years later, dozens of Chinese counterfeiters claim production capacities of up to 500,000 coins per month.  They are now using Alibaba to distribute their wares to more than 200 countries.”

All of this gloom and doom information is even more reason to always buy coins or precious metals from someone you know and trust. Christopher’s Rare Coins has a stellar reputation for honesty and integrity and will always stand behind what it sells so you can buy in complete confidence.

Chris Seuntjens,


Christopher’s Fine Jewelry and Rare Coins