The latest edition of the Counterfeit Coin Newsletter arrived in my inbox this morning, and I reckon it's so important for all collectors to keep up with this kind of information that I thought I'd post about it straight away. The newsletter is put together by a British gent by the name of Robert Matthews, a former Queen's Assay Master at the Royal Mint in London. Mr Matthews provides an authentication service for British coins, and really is one of the world's leading experts in his field.
I won't steal his thunder about the topics of his latest newsletter, but suffice to say I believe that if you are involved in any serious way with numismatics in Australia, you should read this newsletter. Some of the topics may not appear to be directly related to Australian numismatics, however if you learn just one tip about how to identify a potential forgery, it will be well worth the time spent.
Incidentally, another article online that is related to this topic, and is well worth a visit is this one on about.com. In my opinion, generic sites such as these seldom offer information that's of interest or relevance to anyone other than laymen, but this article is also well worth looking at. Try not to look at it just before you go to bed, because you'll be having nightmares I can assure you!
The question you might ask is just how much of a danger is the existence of counterfeits to my collection or portfolio? The answer is fairly logical - it depends on what you collect and how you go about it. I swapped an absolute dud 1937 crown for a genuine one the other day with a local client, he picked it up from a private individual that had listed in on eBay. This counterfeit was so poorly produced it sticks out like the proverbial in a tracksuit (pardon the pun), however as the images that the seller posted online were just as lousy, it wasn't easy to tell if it was authentic or not.
As buyers of coins & notes, we can save ourselves from a lot of grief by only buying coins that are risk-free. That means that buying a Morgan Dollar that's listed for 99¢ on eBay by a private seller in China is probably not going to work out as well as you think it could, but then again buying a 1930 penny from a reputable dealer that has demonstrated experience in the field, whose business is an ongoing concern and provides a written guarantee is a pretty risk-free transaction.
Use your peanut when adding items to your collection and you'll avoid 99.999% of the duds that are out there.