Weekly World Numismatic News for May 8, 2022

Reverse of the Royal Canadian Mint 2015 Superman $20 for $20 coin featuring “The Man of Steel”

One of my readers is a comics dealer who has a collection of comic-themed coins. This dealer discovered coins with comics themes when I posted about my purchase of the Canada $20 for $20 Superman coin. This dealer is on the mailing list for the mints that produce these coins.

After reading yesterday’s blog post, the comics dealer asked me how to become a coin dealer to sell comics-themed coins.

My reader knows that the comics industry is exploding and that the publishers are dabbling in non-fungible tokens (NFT) to see if they can extend the market. Those skeptical of the NFT market are looking for alternatives. A comics dealer that expanded to other publications, toys, and other collectibles understands that extending his market with coins will be profitable.

Walk into any hobby shop and see how every hobby has evolved. Comics, sports, and antiques have seen a rise in collecting, and all have seen the benefit of cross-collecting. A sports dealer is also selling comics and other collectibles with sports themes. Comics dealers are collectible cards and souvenirs from the ComicCons, the same as the sports dealers are selling game tickets.

Coin dealers extend their business into metals and jewelry, and their stores look the same as they did 10 years ago. The dealers may be making a living, but it is not expanding the hobby. But is it their job to expand the hobby or make a living? Unfortunately, this attitude is typical with the dealers trying to set ANA policy and is not helping the hobby’s growth.

And now the news…

 May 4, 2022
The most successful artistic design of the Croatian national side of the €1 coin has been selected, the Croatian National Bank (HNB) said in a press release.  → Read more at croatiaweek.com

 May 5, 2022
Found in Switzerland, some of the buried Roman coins were minted during a time of relative political stability, between 332 and 335 C.E.  → Read more at smithsonianmag.com
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It’s Free Comic Book Day!

Cover with the 2015 $20 Canada Superman coin

The first Saturday in May is Free Comic Book Day. It is the day that comic book stores give away free comic books. Although some will give away low-volume books, most will give away free comic books specially printed by the publishers for the day.

Free Comic Book Day is more than an effort to get people into the stores to buy comics. The publisher will take the opportunity to tweak a story, start a new story arc, or introduce new characters. They spend a few pages in the free comic book to enhance their stories or introduce new characters. The free comic book may also have an existing story that can summarize the story to convince readers to start reading the series.

Free Comic Book Day is more than a giveaway day. It is a marketing tool for the story writers to interact with the readers and get them attracted to the stories. The publishers and store owners use the giveaway to keep current customers interested and lure in new customers.

Although the publishers will introduce many new stories and characters, almost 90-percent will not last more than a few issues. The publishers know this and are willing to try whatever it takes to ensure that the readers come back for more. Once the readers are hooked, the publishers extend the brand into movies and other collectibles where collectors can purchase the merchandise anywhere.

The comic book industry accomplishes more in one day than the numismatic industry accomplishes in one week. Considering how ubiquitous money is in society, It is any wonder that we can raise new collectors.

2016 Canada Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice $20 silver coin

Giving away coins may be seen as a good thing, but what does it mean to the collector? Why should the collector care about that Indian Head Cent or Buffalo Nickel? Dealers may think that the Women on Quarters, Innovation Dollars, or Native American Dollars are not as sexy as a Top-50 VAM. Still, I guarantee that the kid off the street would find the 2022 Vermont dollar more interesting than a 1921 Morgan Dollar.

There is nothing wrong with comics and the comics culture. Comics readers love their characters, especially the superheroes, that they extend their buying beyond the comic book. Why not invite them into your shop to add comic book character coins to their collection.

You may not find coins with Superman, Batman, Captain America, or Spider-man exciting coins, but they are legal tender coins made of silver or gold that excite this crowd. Contact the publishers and see if you can source material to supplement the coins. It could create a partnership that could benefit both collectibles.

It might not be selling rare proof-like Morgans, but it will get people in your shop to look at your other inventory. Maybe they will see the Buffalo nickels and think those Type 1 coins are so cool that they might start a collection.

I have an idea… on Free Comic Book Day, the numismatic community can work with Marvel and DC to create a brass token that would be available to the collecting public. Some to the coin store, get the token for free. Let the publishers work on tokens and medals associated with their comics and sell them through coin stores. Then the coin stores can contact the New Zealand Mint or the Royal Canadian Mint to purchase a supply of comic book character coins and join the fun.

ANA Board Continues to Play Games

Faran Zerbe

Faran Zerbe ca. 1908

Last week, the ANA announced that the Board of Governors renamed the annual Distinguished Service Award to honor Chet Krause. The ANA will award the first Chester L. Krause Distinguished Service Award beginning this year.

In early 2021, the Board voted to remove Faran Zerbe’s name from the award based on unproven accusations. Based on the Board’s statement, they accused Zerbe of “hucksterism and fraud” for a collectible created in 1904 for the Louisiana Purchase Expo. However, contemporary accounts do not support this accusation, and Zerbe went on to serve as head numismatist for the expositions in 1905 (Portland) and 1915 (San Francisco).

The Board also accused Zerbe of “unscrupulously obtained personal ownership of The Numismatist in 1908 from relatives of the ANA’s late founder, Dr. George F. Heath.” Their statement even said it was an “allegation” and has never provided documentation to confirm their allegations.

It is difficult to argue against creating an award for Chet Krause, and his work and dedication to the ANA and the hobby deserve an honor. But honoring Krause should NOT diminish the contribution of Zerbe, and the ANA should have created a separate award or renamed the award the Zerbe-Krause Distinguished Service Award.

Instead of joining the politically correct “woke” crowd, the ANA Board of Governors should be working on ways to expand the association’s reach and impact. There is so much the Board can do to better the ANA than play these games.

National Money Show opens in (yawn) Colorado Springs

ANA President Dr. Ralph Ross opening the 2022 National Money Show (video screen capture)

While watching the National Money Show opening ceremony online, the speakers mentioned that it was the fifth time the show was being held in Colorado Springs.

Colorado Springs is the home of the ANA’s headquarters, and it is about 75 miles south of Denver. Colorado Springs is also the home of the United States Air Force Academy. It is a nice place, and planning a visit should be on anyone’s destination list.

While it is nice that the National Money Show is in Colorado Springs, other cities could hold the show. The ANA refuses to consider holding any show in Washington, DC.

Regulations by the city’s government and the city council’s unresponsiveness to address the issues prevented the ANA from considering Washington for one of their shows.

Times have changed.

Since Larry Shepherd stuck the ANA with keeping the World’s Fair of Money in the Chicago area, Washington has new facilities to host the ANA shows.

Even though Washington is the home of the U.S. Mint, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and the Smithsonian National History Museum, where the National Numismatic Collection is located, the ANA cannot get past the memories of past problems to explore new opportunities.

The problem was driven home by Larry Shepherd, who said on an episode of the Coin World Podcast that Washington cannot hold an ANA show. Shepherd, who probably has not been to Washington since being dismissed as the ANA’s executive director, has no clue how his pronouncement is wrong.

The ANA can hold either show at the National Harbor, a development outside the Beltway in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Aside from being the location of an MGM Grand Hotel, the 2,000 room Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center can comfortably host the ANA.

But people like Larry Shepherd do not keep up with the present and do not know about National Harbor. Instead, they isolate themselves in their prejudices and ignorantly dismiss the ideas.

The Washington region can be a destination for collectors and their families. After all, Washington is the nation’s capital. Come for the show, stay for the history. Bring the kids. We can go to the Smithsonian American Art Museum to see the art of the artists who designed U.S. coins. Tour the city to see the statues by some of those same artists.

What if the ANA worked with the Smithsonian Institute to create exhibits around the coins and the history they represent. How fascinating will it be to take the Native American Dollar program and create a program to expand on their message at the National Museum of the American Indian?

Even though the Bureau of Engraving and Printing has brought interesting items to other shows, they can host special tours in their Washington printing center for ANA members.

When it is time to visit the bourse, it will be in the expansive convention center at the Gaylord Hotel. After the bourse closes, convention-goers can stay in National Harbor to have a good time, including a ride on the Capital Wheel overlooking the Potomac River.

Since National Harbor is in Maryland, the sales tax laws favor bringing all of the shows to the area.

Maybe Larry Shepherd is right. All Washington could do is add new educational opportunities and create family fun to increase the show’s attendance. It is not the direction it appears the ANA wants to go.

Opening Ceremony at the 2022 National Money Show in Colorado Springs

Time for the ANA to wake up and EDUCATE against counterfeit scams

There was once a time that the American Numismatic Association worked with stakeholders to protect numismatic buyers. The ANA worked with eBay to create marketplace protection rules. They were involved with helping raise awareness to gain the passage of the Collectible Coin Protection Act. But where has the ANA been over the last eight years?

Since the passage of the Collectible Coin Protection Act 2014, the ANA has been silent on all aspects of counterfeit coins entering the United States, primarily from China. In the past, the ANA has partnered with China Gold Coin to manufacture Panda silver coins with the ANA logo for the World’s Fair of Money. China Gold Coin is a People’s Bank of China subsidiary that manufactures the Panda bullion coins.

According to the ANA’s website, its mission statement begins:

The American Numismatic Association is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to educating and encouraging people to study and collect money and related items.

The education process has been lacking in the area of consumer awareness. While some of the topics are covered in their introductory collecting course, are no courses, statements, or seminars about the scams collectors face daily.

Previously, the ANA has used its position as a national organization to work with eBay to make the online marketplace safer for buyers. It is impossible to eliminate all problems, but the result has been a safer marketplace for eBay buyers. It is a program that the ANA can proudly take credit.

But when it comes to Chinese counterfeits, the ANA has been silent.

The ANA must develop a plan to educate the public to help the collecting and investing public how to protect themselves against the scammers.

While the ANA devises a plan, they can produce videos that teach collectors to avoid scams. The videos can feature the ANA President, prominent dealers, collectors, and anyone who can help deliver a message. Find someone who was scammed to talk about their experience. Two videos can include a guide to examining an American Silver Eagle to determine if it is a counterfeit coin.

The ANA must advertise the release of the videos nationally. While the numismatic press will promote these videos, the promotion must appear in the non-numismatic media. The promotion must go beyond the press release, and Spokespeople must be made available to media outlets catering to a broader audience.

The ANA can craft a plan to educate the collecting and investing public during the video production to protect against counterfeit coins. The plan must continue to educate the collecting public and educate law enforcement and politicians who can become involved with a scammed collector. The ANA can partner with the U.S. Mint, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and the U.S. Secret Service to add depth to the public education program.

A plan must include working with Facebook to eliminate advertisements for counterfeit coins.

If the ANA Board of Governors does not know where to begin, consider the Ad Council’s campaign criteria to develop a plan. Even if the ANA cannot convince the Ad Council to work with the ANA, they are successful guidelines to publicize this issue.

Weekly World Numismatic News for January 16, 2022

The late Harvey G. Stack and Muriel Eymery, both inspirations in numismatics

The deaths of Harvey G. Stack and Muriel Eymery and other events in my life have me thinking about our legacy on the hobby. All of us will leave a legacy, and whether it is with our family or the hobby in general, sometimes we need to take stock in what that legacy will be.

Although they were of different ages, Stack and Eymery had similar philosophies. Both wanted to bring advancement to the hobby by expanding what people collected. Stack was one of the people who advocated for the 50 State Quarters program, and Eymery was an advocate for international collecting for collectors from all over the world.

It was not enough for both to look beyond their primary interests. Stack could have made a good living from his New York City store selling rare coins, holding auctions, and serving a high-end community without being involved in areas that would help the average collector. Eymery took her passion and made a career in several countries, including the United States and Hong Kong. She became an ANA Governor overcoming xenophobia because she spoke with an accent even though she was a U.S. citizen.

Both stepped beyond their comfort zone to help the hobby and should be role models for all of us. Stack and Eymery went beyond their self-interests to grow the hobby. They had their business interests, but they could think beyond an alleged correct way to collect for the sake of the hobby.

What will your legacy be? Are you going to leave the hobby static or grow it by creating a legacy that collecting is fun and does not have to be limited by plastic-encased coins or printed albums? Or will you embrace everything that the hobby offers, including areas you do not collect?

For the memory of Harvey Stack and Muriel Eymery, we should commit to leaving a legacy of progress and inclusion in the hobby that all of us want to grow and thrive.

And now the news…

 January 11, 2022
Famous author and noted civil rights leader Maya Angelou became the first African American woman featured on the 25-cent coin. The U.S. Mint began shipping the quarters on January 10. Reportedly, the Angelou coin is the first in a series designed to celebrate the accomplishments of American women.  → Read more at spokesman-recorder.com

 January 13, 2022
A coin collector shows the commemorative coin, released by the Colombian Central Bank, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Colombian independence.  → Read more at marketwatch.com

 January 14, 2022
Being called “two-faced” by someone today would most likely “breed a quarrel,” as the old saying goes. However, if one were to go back just two centuries to classical Rome, that same depiction might elicit a very different response.  → Read more at theday.com

 January 14, 2022
A hoard of 337 silver Roman coins, discovered in a field, have been declared as treasure.  → Read more at bbc.com

 January 14, 2022
A badger has led archaeologists to a hoard of more than 200 Roman coins that had been hidden in a cave in Spain for centuries. The animal had burrowed into a crack in the rock inside the La Cuesta cave in the Asturias region of northwest Spain, and dug out coins that were later discovered by a local man, Roberto García, according to a paper on the find published in December.  → Read more at cnn.com
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Top 5 Numismatic Stories of 2021

The last two years have been a wild ride. Anyone who predicted what would have happened should be picking lottery numbers. For the rest of us, the predictable (i.e., the U.S. Mint) became unpredictable. The positives had a lot of negatives and what used to be extraordinary is now ordinary.

Without further ado, here are the top five numismatic stories for 2021.

5. Return of the coins shows

It isn’t easy to have any retrospective of 2021 without acknowledging how COVID-19 has affected the industry. At the beginning of 2021, there were cancelations of shows and other events. As the vaccines became more available and the infection rates declined, the shows returned.

Smaller shows found hotels willing to lease larger rooms to allow the setup of a socially distance bourse. Like the World’s Fair of Money, Larger shows changed to provide for social distancing and limiting contact. Collectors that attended these shows called them a success. Still, the reports may be more emotional satisfaction after a year off.

Coins shows are adapting to an alleged new normal, and collectors are happy to get what they can. While it makes collectors happy, the looming threat of new variants may slow down the shows at the start of 2022.

4. The Positives and Negatives of the U.S. Mint

Ventris Gibson, Acting Director of the U.S. Mint (LinkedIn photograph)

The U.S. Mint is the source of the items we collect and the biggest frustration experienced by the community. On the one hand, the manufacturing business of the U.S. Mint made it the biggest success story of 2021. Compared to the rest of the manufacturing sector, the U.S. Mint has been running in overdrive since mid-2020. The only manufacturer of United States coinage has produced more money than any three mints in the world combined.

Even with the COVID issues, the U.S. Mint could produce the coins required by law, including the 2021 Morgan and Peace Dollars. Unfortunately, selling these coins revealed collectors’ frustrations with the U.S. Mint.

The U.S. Mint’s online order processing system may work without product release. Still, a major product release causes the system to fail. The product release was a perfect storm of a limited supply and a high collector demand. The result exposed how PFSWeb, the U.S. Mint’s contractor, created a system that could not handle the rush.

The U.S. Mint became more communicative with the numismatic press. During this communication, it was clear that Director David Ryder wanted to talk more about the successes. Unfortunately, the failures of the ordering system overshadowed any success. Ryder resigned as Director effective October 1, 2021.

The e-commerce system at the U.S. Mint is broken and needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, the open communications from the U.S. Mint indicate that they are planning to install a bandaid to cover up the system’s problems. Unless the U.S. Mint and PFSWeb make major changes to their online order system, the issues will continue into 2022.

3. 2021 Morgan and Peace Dollars

Numismatists know that 2021 marked the end of the Morgan Dollar series and the introduction of the Peace Dollar. Morgan Dollars may be the most collected coin in U.S. numismatics. The Peace Dollar was the coin promoted by former ANA President Faran Zerbe with support from the ANA. In 1921, the U.S. Mint produced both coins. What better way to celebrate the centennial is by creating tributes to both coins.

The tribute idea was popular by collectors suggesting that it would be a high-demand product. But the U.S. Mint found a way to destroy the movement. In a series of missteps, the U.S. Mint allowed its lawyers to restrict their ability to do its job. As a result, the U.S. Mint could not purchase enough planchets to satisfy collector demand.

It is difficult to call the program a success given its problems. But the coins were a sellout, and they continue to do well on the secondary market. The U.S. Mint announced that the program will continue in 2022, and hopefully, it will go better than the 2021 releases.

2. Million Dollar Coins No Longer a Surprise

1804 Class I Original Draped Bust dollar

1804 Class I Original Draped Bust dollar, PCGS Proof-68 and the finest known of its kind, acquired for a client by GreatCollections for $7.68 million. (Photo credit: Professional Coin Grading Service.)

It used to be that very few coins would sell for more than $1 million. The sale would be broadcast on the traditional news media when they did. In 2021, ten coins sold for more than $1 million. Except for one coin, other sales were barely noticed by the mainstream media. Unfortunately, the numismatic market is not educating the

The numismatic market is very active, and the price increase of significant rarities results from the active market. Although the market favors United States coins, the collectors extend their collections to coins made elsewhere. Of the ten-million-dollar coins sold in 2021, four were not U.S. coins.

Here are the coins that sold for more than $1 million in 2021:

Million Dollar Coin Sales in 2021
Sale Price Coin Sold Date Sold
$18,900,000 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle (King Farouk provenance) June 8, 2021
$9,360,000 1787 Brasher Doubloon – EB on Wing (ex: Stickney-Ellsworth-Garrett-Partrick) January 21, 2021
$8,400,000 1822 Half Eagle (ex: Pogue) March 25, 2021
$7,680,000 1804 Bust Dollar – Class I (one of 15 known) August 18, 2021
$5,280,000 1804 $10 Proof Eagle (Finest of Three known) January 20, 2021
$4,750,000 1907 Saint-Gaudens Ultra High Relief Double Eagle April 6, 2021
$2,640,000 1825 Russia Ruble Pattern with would-be Emperor Constantine April 6, 2021
$2,280,000 1928 China Pattern Dollar featuring the warlord Zhang Zuolin April 6, 2021
$2,280,000 1937 Edward VIII 5 Pounds Pattern (one of six known) March 26, 2021
$2,160,000 1928 China Pattern “Mukden Tiger” Dollar (one of ten known) December 11, 2021

1. The Double Eagle That Flies Higher

Farouk-Fenton 1933 Saint-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle was sold by Sotheby’s for $18,872,250 in a June 2021 auction. (Picture Credit: PCGS)

As part of a May 2021 auction announcement, Sotheby’s revealed that Stuart Weitzman owned the 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, the only legal coin of the mintage to own. Before the auction announcement, Weitzman was the anonymous buyer of the historic coin when it was an auction in 2002. He purchased the coin for $6.6 million-plus a 15-percent buyer’s premium. Sotheby’s famously paid the $20 face value to the U.S. Mint to monetize the coin. The final sale price was $7,590,020. At the time, it was almost twice the previous record paid for a coin.

Since that sale, several coins sold for more.

On June 8, 2021, Sotheby’s auctioned the Stuart Weitzman Collection, including rare Inverted Jenny Plate Block and the British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta stamps. The coin sold for a record $18,872,250.

It answers the question, “What is a coin worth?” What are you willing to pay for it?

Treasury Appoints a new Acting Director of the US Mint

Ventris Gibson, Acting Director of the U.S. Mint (LinkedIn photograph)

Treasury announced the appointment of Ventris Gibson as Deputy Director of the U.S. Mint. Gibson will also serve as Acting Director.

Gibson, a Navy veteran, previously served as the Director of Human Resources for Washington, DC’s Department of Human Resources. Previously, Gibson was Deputy Chief Human Capital Officer at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and held similar positions at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Gibson is a member of the federal government’s Senior Executive Service (SES). She is a federal employee, and the Acting Director does not require congressional approval. The law allows a person in an acting role to serve for a maximum of 180 days.

Treasury was quick to note that Gibson is the first African American person to lead the bureau. Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo said, “Her historic appointment reflects our ongoing commitment to building a qualified, diverse workforce at Treasury and its bureaus that will serve the American people well.”

Is Gibson really qualified for this position? The U.S. Mint is the world’s largest manufacturer of coins. The U.S. Mint reports that they have manufactured over 11.2 BILLION coins in 2021. Although Gibson has extensive government experience, she does not have any experience manufacturing or producing a product.

Gibson has extensive experience with human resources, but the U.S. Mint not only has a diverse workforce but a constituency that watches everything the bureau does. HHS and NLRB do not have a constituency like the U.S. Mint. The collecting community is very critical as to how this bureau does its job. While the law governs what the U.S. Mint can do, the areas where they have latitude, the decisions are more diverse than human resources.

Does having a human resources background make Gibson qualified in collector relations? An HR professional may be able to talk with collectors, but does she understand the market? The last two directors had numismatic experience before their appointments.

Does having a human resources background make Gibson qualified to manage an e-commerce service? The numismatic media has documented the failures of the U.S. Mint’s e-commerce system. Fixing the system requires leadership and the ability to understand what the technical people are saying. As a former government contractor, I watched as SES and appointees did not properly question rosy contractor reports only to watch as the contractors could not deliver results. The U.S. Mint’s contractor has not delivered. What assurances do we have that Gibson can understand when the contractor is lying?

There is nothing wrong with human resource professionals but are they qualified to run a government manufacturer with an opinionated customer base? I guess we shall see.

The ANA Woke Up on the Wrong Side, for a change

When they persisted in questioning him, he stood up and said to them, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.”

— John 8:7

During an open session of the ANA Board of Governor on January 19, 2021, a session not advertised in a prominent location, the Board voted to remove Farran Zerbe’s name from the top service award offered by the organization.

Let’s take a look at the reasons given for removing Zerbe’s name from the ANA award. According to the ANA’s press release:

A retrospective look at Zerbe’s professional dealings uncovered accusations that he made deceptively inflated claims about the future value of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition gold dollars he sold; complaints of hucksterism and fraud for his creation and sale of coin-like 1904 gold-plated exposition souvenirs;

Modern hucksterism that the ANA Board does not seem to mind versus one that allegedly occurred 112 years-ago.

The ANA Board of Governors, whose members include dealers, is assessing 112-year-old accusations of conducting business. In the meantime, the ANA sits idly by while ANA dealers on television have done the same thing.

I have documented inflated prices and deceptively inflated claims by Rare Collectibles TV, DCN Coin Talk, and other scams that walked into my shop that purchased coins from these members of the ANA. the RCTV pitch included Miles Standish, and the DCN Coin Talk pitch included David Ganz. Ganz, like Zerbe, is a past ANA President.

These are not the only cases of inflated claims on coins that have appeared on television. Frequent viewers of “The Coin Collector” on HSN regularly send emails asking if they are legitimate. I purposely avoided the show because I already have heartburn issues, and it would put a severe test on my regimen of Pepcid.

Zerbe also served as head numismatist for the expositions in 1905 (Portland) and 1915 (San Francisco). Were there any accusations for those expos? Or was there cherry-picking of reasons to justify their actions?

What is the difference between the claim that Zerbe made inflated claims on coins versus the television hucksters? Zerbe is dead and cannot defend himself. The hucksters are living and have given money to the ANA.

[A]llegations that he unscrupulously obtained personal ownership of The Numismatist in 1908 from relatives of the ANA’s late founder, Dr. George F. Heath (then ANA Vice President W.W.C. Wilson subsequently purchased the periodical and donated it to the Association in 1910);

The first word of this is “allegations.” His actions were alleged. Can the allegations be substantiated? What evidence do they have?

Whatever evidence they have is circumstantial and hearsay. I understand that someone can make a strong case using circumstantial evidence, but when the case is being built against someone who cannot testify, there should be almost no questions.

An example of solid circumstantial evidence would be that if you go to bed, the ground is clear. When you wake up, there is snow on the ground. You did not see the snowfall, but you see the snow on the ground. The snow on the ground is circumstantial evidence that there was a snowfall overnight.

Finally:

… and claims of bribery involving the 1909 ANA election in which Zerbe’s friend John M. Henderson was named president.

CLAIMS? The ANA Board of Governors has chosen to besmirch the name of a past president, the driving force behind the creation of the Peace Dollar, and whose collection formed the basis of the Chase Money Museum on CLAIMS?

What are the claims? Who made the claims? What documentation do we have of the claims?

No ANA dealer face an ethics examination after the fiasco of the 2014 Kennedy Half Dollar 50th Anniversary Gold Coin release. (Image is a screen grab courtesy of ABC 7 News, Denver)

In the mean time, no dealer was ever sanctioned who paid someone to buy 2014 50th Anniversary Kennedy Gold Half-Dollars that caused problems outside of the Denver Mint and at the World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont. The ANA only released a statement essentially saying “bad boys” to dealers that created the dangerous situations.

The problem I have with all of this is that there is NO documentation offered to the membership. The ONLY documentation provided is a 119-word paragraph, most of it reproduced here.

Another problem I have is that the ANA holds open Board sessions with little advertisement. Had I known about the session, I would have made myself available. Unfortunately, the Board is lax with their membership engagement making it seem they are a club amongst themselves.

The press release does not report the vote total for the motion. I am sure that the press release would report it was a unanimous vote if it was the case. But the tersely written press release suggests there was contention behind the decision. The ANA does not write terse press releases. Look it up!

The decision was made by a Board of Governors with a sitting member that was once asked to resign from a previous Board because “He realized he had made a mistake.” It was a mistake related to a lawsuit against the ANA by former ANA Executive Director Larry Shepherd.

What did Steve Ellsworth add to the discussion? As past president, Ellsworth is a non-voting member of the Board of Governors. However, given his previous actions that left the ANA flat-footed when the pandemic closed everything down, it would be interesting to hear his counsel on this matter.

Unless the ANA Board of Governors publishes the details of the allegations against Zerbe, including source material and where it was discovered, then the move adds the ANA to the “woke community” looking to cancel a historic member of the numismatic community.

Therefore, as a member of the ANA, I hereby move that the ANA Board of Governors reinstate the name of Farran Zerbe to the organization’s highest honor.

Scammed on line? Facebook got paid and they don’t care!

Fake Silver Eagles

Two counterfeit American Silver Eagles purchased from LIACOO, a company based in China who advertised on Facebook.

When I wrote that the “Chinese Counterfeiters Are Back” last month, several people wrote to me saying they were never gone. My point was that they have crawled out of their collective holes and started to flood social media with advertising for counterfeit coins.

Over the last few weeks, I have been counseling several people about requesting a chargeback for receiving counterfeit merchandise. Requesting chargebacks have their problems, too. Some credit card issuers will use the chargeback as an excuse not to renew your credit card.

During this time, another group has been trying to work with Facebook to stop the scammers from reaching consumers.

On Monday, three numismatic groups sent a letter to Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg asking why he did not respond to a similar letter a month ago. The letter was signed by Doug Davis, Director of the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation, Mark Salzberger, Chairman of Numismatic Guaranty Company, and Bob Brueggeman, Executive Director of the Professional Numismatists Guild. You can read the press release and letter here.

It is not surprising that Facebook and Zuckerberg have not answered previous letters. If you watch other media reports about Facebook, the company is notorious for trying to sweep issues under the proverbial rug until something brings it to the forefront. While Facebook claims they are responsive to the communities, they respond solely when someone yells and causes an uproar.

Although some find Facebook useful, it is a cesspool of scammers and trolls playing on the gullible looking to prove P.T. Barnum correct: There’s a sucker born every minute.

News organizations worldwide have reported how criminals use Facebook advertising for crimes, including selling counterfeit merchandise, false activism (e.g., Fake News), and human trafficking.

Facebook’s response has been the same. They promise to try harder and look to add code to help protect their users. The result is that they try to implement a technical solution that works to the point of being able to placated the current activists. The problem is that while Facebook depends on artificial intelligence to protect its platform, company leadership has not shown any real intelligence to understand that there may not be a technical solution to every problem.

It is easier for Facebook to scan for words that someone believes are hurtful than to look at an advertisement selling a one-ounce silver coin for less than its silver value. Besides, the alleged bully is not paying for to have their content distributed to a target audience that includes you.

Facebook really doesn’t care because they are getting paid. They were being paid as late as 2018 by a Russian troll bot for placing activist ads after being admonished for accepting campaign ads paid in Russian rubles in 2016.

Zuckerberg and company do not care. He is getting paid and so is their management. They lie just enough to get past alleged watchdogs in a way to keep confidence in their market price. After all, Facebook stock (NASDAQ: FB) is up 32.25% for the year as of Sep 20, 2021. Why should they care what you think about their advertisers? In the meantime, consumers are getting defrauded by scammers allowed to roam freely by a company that advertises on television as being a place to build a community.

Do not expect help from the government. In between their partisan fighting, members of Congress do not have the knowledge or competence to figure out how to fix the issue. Most members of Congress are lawyers with no technical background nor did any study the technical issues enough to make competent decisions.

Although Congress is to blame, the voters must accept their part of the responsibility. Instead of voting in competent people, they send these old folks with no technical background back to Washington. Many have held their seats for over 20 years without any incentive for advancement. So they grow old without learning new ways and blame everyone else for what they are not doing. Think of the problem like this: 26 of the 100 Senators are 70 years of age or older. None of these people had any experience with computers as students or early in their careers. Most can barely use a smartphone (Steve King actually asked Google CEO Sundar Pichai why his daughter’s iPhone behaved strangely). Even if they did, when was the last time you saw an elderly member of congress with a computer or even a smartphone?

Davis, Salzberg, and Brueggeman will have an uphill battle with Facebook. Everyone does. But the ACEF and PNG need to think beyond talking reason to Zuckerberg. They need to work with Congress to help them understand the technologies and what regulations will be effective without putting undue limits on the technology companies.

NOTE TO THE DAVIS, SALZBERG, AND BRUEGGEMAN:
I know of one person in the numismatic industry that has a background in technology and public policy. This person worked as a contractor to the federal government for 25 years as an information security analyst. This person worked for a PAC concerned with numismatic issues and has a Masters’ with a concentration in information security and technology public policy from Carnegie Mellon University. You can contact this person at coinsblog.ws/contact.

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