By Jesse Robitaille
Well-known counterfeit coin researcher Mike Marshall, of Trenton, Ont., has a shocking yet deeply important lesson to teach collectors of Canadian coins at the National Postage Stamp and Coin Show this September.
On Sept. 7 from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Marshall will lead a seminar focused on understanding and identifying fakes using existing Chinese-made counterfeits plus new examples “hot off the press,” said the long-time collector, who in 2011 was rewarded with $5,000 from Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) for his work in fighting fakery.
“Counterfeits are available every day on platforms like eBay, Kijiji and Maxsold,” said Marshall, of the three online auction websites, adding he has had more than 2,000 counterfeit auctions removed from eBay alone since the beginning of this year.
“Education and recognition are a collector’s only defence.”
Marshall’s in-depth, two-and-a-half-hour seminar will teach show-goers the “easy-to-use” markers for identifying all counterfeit Canadian and Newfoundland decimal coins currently available from China.
“I will also be making public – for the first time – images and markers for four previously unknown Canadian counterfeits,” added Marshall, who began his campaign against counterfeits in 2007.
“Mike Marshall has been a huge aid to PCGS in combating Chinese counterfeiting,” said then PCGS President Don Willis in 2011. “The hobby owes Mr. Marshall a debt of gratitude for his selfless efforts.”
Counterfeiters create the dies used to produce the fakes, Marshall told CCN in April 2015 (“Counterfeit coins’ menace on the rise again, advocate says”), so luckily for collectors, there are markers flagging each counterfeit coin – if you know where and how to look.
“I personally trust my eye to pick out the markers of the counterfeit coins, but I trust my ability through education to recognize when something is wrong with an effigy or the legends.”
He said he mainly looks at the size, weight and individual markers of a certain coin to determine its genuineness.
“The manufactured dimensions are key. This is where the individual’s education of the series of coins they are interested in comes into play. There’s no rocket science in what I do – it’s just being patient enough to do it.”