P.A. police warn of fake coins on peninsula

Posted 2/6/2011

Published on Wed, Feb 9, 2011

Sequim Gazette

Port Angeles, WA - The Port Angeles Police Department is advising all businesses and persons who are in the business of collecting or buying old coins to be aware of counterfeit U.S. coins from pennies to silver dollars and also ingots and bars.

Recently a business was in receipt of several of these counterfeit coins, all silver dollars. The silver dollars were in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Several of these coins, had they been the real thing, would have been worth in excess of $1,500 and all were in good condition.

Most of these fakes are made to appear like old valuable coins so if someone has a bunch of them, this should raise some red flags, police officials today, Feb. 9.

Rare coins are readily available for sale on the Internet — another way for someone to advertise a rare coin that is a fake.

The coins look real and if not checked properly can easily be passed as legal tender, which is a crime. The counterfeit coins are made overseas and you can access information on them at About.com then go to the search bar and type in counterfeit US coins.

There are several different websites to go to that will show you how big this type of counterfeiting is and also some that will tell you how to determine if the coin is fake.

A simple way to determine if a U.S. coin is counterfeit is to use a strong magnet to detect small amounts of iron. If the coin has even a little bit of attraction to the magnet then it is a fake. Canada uses steel in their coins so this test has no meaning for many of their coins.

Use caution if someone brings in a lot of coins to buy something and look them over carefully. There are many different types of coins out there that are collectable for whatever reason and they have to be represented as a replica or a representative of some event. They cannot be used or represented as legal tender.

For more information, contact Duane Benedict, Port Angeles Police Department’ Downtown Resource Officer, at 452-4545 or dbenedict@cityofpa.us.