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Laura Sperber Hot TopicsLegend Numismatics ……….

What a long and trying year it has been. I thought this might be the year finally where coin doctoring meets it match. NOT! These days I  see plenty of puttied coins still being made. What a shame.

The year started out with great hopes of the mighty PNG passing the definition of coin doctoring (took until March to get that done finally) that should have scared off some villains. NOT! Instead the year ends with me yet again looking into a FUN Auction that has many coins that were messed with. I should see two or three, not as many as I saw. And what do seasoned dealers do about it? They either buy the coins up and strip them again hoping to get the upgrade or simply turn their backs in denial that there is no problem and look for other coins to “score” on. Its NOT acceptable if these coins sell for what they are worth either (they never do)-they should NEVER have been doctored to begin with. Also, I had a customer in my office recently with a group of BAD coins-all bought from auction. Why am I the only dealer to see any of this, be mad, and publicly comment?

After all these years I have figured out why we can’t stop the shenanigans. Collectors are fully ADDICTED to collecting coins. This allows the greedy dealers to take advantage of them and the system. I’ve actually witnessed collectors who get depressed or break out in a sweat if they don’t get their coin fix. Really! I dunno, if I get burned I on anything I get pissed, I want restitution, then I am done. In coins, I can’t tell you how many collectors are so addicted that they know they got screwed, they just say OH, and keep on their merry ways hoping it does not happen again. There are VERY few people (dealers or collectors) who will stand up to the real issues.

NOTE: Education is definately important. I do believe it has saved some collectors from buying really bad coins. However education does not get to the root of the problem. I can’t stand dealers who believe just educating their customers about what a doctored coin is ends their role. NOT! Using the education card is just another way to pass the buck on this issue. This is yet another way dealers hide and deny their role in this problem (if they don’t stand up to it-they have a role in it-IMHO).

Of course the PNG has dodged a bullet. No complaints so far is what they will say. I started to work on two complaints-and I failed miserably on technicalities. I am shocked no else has even tried. There are still ACTIVE coin doctors who are members of that group. What a disgrace.

Yapping on chat board or a talking to a dealer is NOT enough. Every coin that is doctored (today especially) hurts YOUR coins value and even worse, severely hurts the hobbies future. You think dealers will ever tell any grading service they are too loose? Or even hint there is any kind of a problem? NOT! I know these guys are trying, but they need to be pushed harder. Things got too quiet and apparently pushed back on this front. We need MORE coin docs prosecuted! We need more dealers (especially the mules) to have their submission privileges suspended! We need more lawsuits filed by the grading services and maybe its time for a collector to do attack the criminal doctors with a suit as well! WE NEED MORE DONE NOW!

I promise, when and if I get elected to the ANA’s board, I WILL ask the 30,000 active members to give me the power to be their voice. ALL of the numismatic gods will answer to them, collectors should NOT be at the mercy of ANY grading service or group of dealers. And, I promise that auction companies will have to tell you if a coin has been conserved by them or their crack-out artists who hide behind the scenes. Even if its not their coin they should let you know, and believe me, they can know if they want too. BTW, its against the law in the art world to NOT mention if something is original or not. We MUST start doing that here.


I know many veteran collectors and dealers still do not like CAC.  5 years and nearly 500,000 coins and it clearly has brought back the right standards. CAC stickered coins do sell for more money than a NON CAC coin almost EVERY time. While not every one will agree about the grading, a CAC coin WILL prevent you from buying a doctored coin. We should be ashamed of ourselves this service even has to exist.

John Albanese was chatting with me earlier this week that he had recently seen a few collectors who spent a lot of money on coins-on their own. Guess what they bought? BAD coins-several were badly doctored. Now they are going to sell them. Two issues here: will they continue buying coins? Will there be more victims now like them who buy these coins? Since they probably have the addiction to coin collecting bug, they probably will growl and will most likely just sell and move on to CAC coins. Doesn’t any one else out there think there is a problem here? Even the parties involved apparently are letting everyone off the hook.

I am VERY disappointed not much has happened since the PNG accepting the definition of coin doctoring. Maybe a few smaller docs quit, but the big ones won’t and can’t. When your that greedy and you see even the smallest opportunity to make money-you go for it. We have to quit letting them even have teenie opportunities. It is NOT their right to doctor coins to make a living.

So much for my ranting. The next topic I am ready to unleash on is incompetent dealers. Folks, having a nice web site, dressing well, and spinning a nice story does NOT equate to knowing how to grade! Every show I go to I see some rally dumb ass dealers who think they are smart. One day my blood pressure WILL pop over this!

No matter what, rare coins are one of the most liquid and widely enjoyed collectibles that exist. If you work with a good dealer (or dealers) and not act like coins are stocks, you WILL do well. Not every coin is going to be bad. Sadly, we have some seriously greedy and just plain stupid people who do not realize how they are ruining things. I can’t stand up against the evils as a lone voice. EVERYONE has to pitch in. Make 2013 the year for real change and real positives in this wonderful hobby-please


I personally wish to thank everyone who is being supportive of my run for the ANA board. Unlike a few others, I am NOT doing this for an monetary gain. This is from my heart-which is a heart of a true collector. I owe it to the hobby and all collectors to clean the messes up. I will NEVER stop calling like I see it. Its not my problem there are people who refuse to accept this happens or are “tired” of hearing about it. When it stops and innocent collectors stop being loaded up with bad coins-then I’ll be quiet.

You can always email me: [email protected].Allow time for response. I do get busy or travel.

Laura Sperber
Laura Sperber
Laura Sperber is one of the owners of Legend Numismatics. She is a passionate and outspoken dealer who says what she believes and is a strong proponent of numismatic standards. Since 1987, Legend Numismatics has built an unequaled reputation among casual collectors and avid investors alike by locating and procuring top-quality rare coins.

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  1. Great article! I’ve been collecting coins for 3 years now and all I can say that it’s addicting. But it’s a good addiction though coz there will come a time that those old coins will gain value in the future.


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