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Coin World Releases Chinese Counterfeiting Series

By December 4, 2008

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Early this year, I began tracking the coin counterfeiting activity that was coming out of China. A sometime blogger by the name of "BiddlesBank" had posted photos of a Chinese counterfeit coin-making operation. I was able to track down the owner of the photos, a journey that took me through at least 20 different coin-related discussion forums in at about a half-dozen different countries. When I reached the end of the chain, I found "Jinghuashei," who claims to be the largest replica coin producer in China. His annual replica coin output is measured in the 7 figures, but fortunately 90% of these fakes are ancient Chinese coins that are sold within China itself.

I published some of the photos and a brief account of what they depicted here on my Web site in late March. Coin World editor Beth Deisher became aware of these photos and sent me an email asking if I had any contact information for the counterfeiters or any evidence that the photos were anything other than an elaborate hoax. As I relate in the Coin World articles, Jinghuashei is very forthcoming about his minting operation because he isn't breaking any laws in China. He takes great pride in his work, and does a creditable job of striking fairly deceptive replicas of U.S. coins, including U.S. error coins, such as off-centers, double-struck coins, and other simple minting errors.

Although Coin World generally doesn't make its print magazine content freely available on the Internet, Deisher feels that the information in these articles is so critical, so important for collectors to be aware of, that she made a rare exception and placed the entire series on the Coin World Web site, even though most print subscribers wouldn't have received their Dec. 15th copy in the mail yet. (The cover dates for the series are Dec. 1, Dec. 8, and Dec. 15, 2009.) Coin World's Web page layout of these articles is beautifully done, and includes the numerous photographs that appear in the print version. The images can all be seen in enlarged versions by clicking on them.

Here are direct links to the three articles:

Deisher is an absolutely wonderful editor to work with! She gave me all the time I needed to further develop my sources, and when a significant breakthrough seemed to be on the horizon, she readily rescheduled the deadline for the article. She has taken a passionate interest in this story from the very beginning, devoting significant time and energy to behind-the-scenes research and work, even asking a personal friend to do Chinese language translations for me. She is truly one of our hobby's biggest champions against these counterfeiters! Beth and I will be presenting a talk about the Chinese counterfeiting threat at the FUN coin show in Florida in January, so if you'll be in the vicinity and would like to see these counterfeit coins first hand, keep an eye out for our talk. I'll post more information as we get closer to the show (which is Jan. 7 - 11, 2009.)


December 5, 2008 at 10:22 am
(1) Robert Matthews says:

A great series and a service to all in the coin collecting community.

Any evidence that this gentleman has been involved in the magnetic counterfeits.


December 6, 2008 at 2:37 am
(2) Bill says:


Kudos to you for a fantastic set of articles, and Kudos to Coin World for making them available for all to see.

It is worth noting that there’s nothing special about the coins that you got from China not being stamped “REPLICA” or “COPY”, the ones that I ordered as reference copies off of eBay for our coin club were also not stamped as replicas. The $20 Gold Piece won’t fool anybody, it’s crude and very light, but the Lincoln Cent is quite scary as are some of the Silver Dollars.

December 7, 2008 at 6:52 am
(3) coinycom says:

As i understand, from seeing documentarys such as counterfeit currancy. Counterfeiting of bills accounts for less than 1% of all bills in circulation. The treasury dept. dosen’t view counterfeiting of U.S. currancy as a major problem. As they say, they are very much on top of the situation. Coins are even a much smaller problem. The way i see it with collector coins, theres alot more money at stake in the higher end collector coins. Novices will get burned at the other end of the spectrum. I do think it is about time the F.B.I. The state dept., and the treasury look into all of the counterfeit coins flooding the country, being passed off as the real thing. Regardless of whether or not these agencys view this now as a civil matter. In reallity it isn’t. Sooner or latter these coins may find there way into circulation if there that good. It sounds perposterous at first glance. The long lasting after effects could hurt alot of people and businesses. This is a time when few people can afford to take losses, some may be depending on the coins they have that are counterfeit, their not aware of till they find out later, when they try to sell them. Just my humble thoughts and opinion.


May 10, 2009 at 11:13 am
(4) Q B says:

The 3 Coin World articles, pasted below – that are linked to on this page – do NOT exist on the Coin World website.

Chinese Coin Counterfeiter Legal in China
Chinese Coin Counterfeits Deceptive
Diagnostics to Help Identify Fake PCGS Slabs From China

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