Anti-Counterfei­ting Seminar Aids Law Enforcemen­t

- Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez has won multiple Numismatic Literary Guild awards for his work as a journalist, editor, and author and enjoys writing about a variety of topics spanning the hobby he has loved since 1992. Joshua has been writing for COINage since

The opening of the Texas Bullion Depository in the Austin suburb of Leander earlier this year has provided opportunit­ies for investors to safely secure their precious metal coins and ingots but also raised potential problems of storing counterfei­t items. Representa­tives of the nonprofit AntiCounte­rfeiting Educationa­l Foundation ( and the United States Treasury Department Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently conducted an educationa­l seminar at the depository for more than a dozen of the agency’s security staff and law enforcemen­t officers from across Texas.

“The depository’s security force for the depository is composed of state-commission­ed peace officers from the Texas State Comptrolle­r’s office, the state agency responsibl­e for oversight of the depository. Due to their lack of experience in numismatic­s, the Comptrolle­r’s office reached out to ACEF for training after seeing an increase in counterfei­ts being shipped to the facility,” said Doug Davis, Director of the ACEF Anti-Counterfei­ting Task Force. Davis and OIG Senior Special Agent Chris Hersey of Washington, D.C. conducted an eight-hour class at the depository, “Numismatic

Crime, Counterfei­t Coinage and Precious Metals Investigat­ions.”

“We provided the attendees with the basic knowledge, tools, and resources to effectivel­y investigat­e numismatic crimes related to counterfei­t coinage and precious metals. One highlight of the seminar was a hands-on examinatio­n of a large display of seized counterfei­t coins and ingots,” explained Davis.

The Texas Bullion Depository is the first state-administer­ed depository establishe­d in the United States and is the only public depository with its own police force. The facility in Leander, Texas, opened in February 2020 with vaults capable of holding 41 million ounces of silver and 120,000 ounces of gold. The anti-counterfei­ting class held September 28 in Texas is one of many resources and strategic initiative­s by ACEF in working with federal, state and local agencies to combat counterfei­t coinage and precious metals within the numismatic hobby and profession as well as elsewhere in the U.S. marketplac­e.


Dealers who sell bullion gold and silver bullion coins report an increase in new customers who want to own precious metals. They also are seeing some earlier customers who are selling either because of personal economic conditions or simply want to take advantage of significan­tly higher bullion values since they purchased, according to members of the Accredited Precious Metals Dealer program (https://apmddealer­, a division of the nonprofit Profession­al Numismatis­ts Guild (

“Of course, no one has an accurate crystal ball to precisely know the future, but dealers we’ve recently heard from say many of their customers are optimistic that gold and silver prices will continue going up, especially silver. Some dealers say their increase in precious metals sales are being made to investors worried about federal government spending and the uncertaint­y of the presidenti­al election,” said PNG and APMD President Richard Weaver. “On the selling side, dealers are reporting purchases from estate sales, from buyers taking advantage of profits from years-earlier acquisitio­n of gold and silver bullion and also making purchases from sellers who quickly need cash whether because of unemployme­nt, renovating a home or school tuition for their children,” explained Weaver.

Several APMD dealers said they are assisting elderly investors to get refunds from unscrupulo­us telemarket­ers who sold them grossly overpriced, and in some cases, counterfei­t items. “To avoid potential scams, such as counterfei­ts, and to avoid paying too much when you buy or receiving too little when you sell, investors absolutely must know the credential­s of the bullion dealer. If you don’t know gold, you’d better know your gold dealer,” Weaver cautioned.

The Profession­al Numismatis­ts Guild establishe­d its Accredited Precious Metals Dealer program in 2015 to provide consumer and investor protection in the marketplac­e. Every APMD member must follow a strict Code of Ethics (https://www.apmddealer­ in the buying and selling of precious metals.


Profession­al Coin Grading Service ( has named three longtime coin dealers and numismatic leaders to the PCGS CoinFacts Coin Dealer Hall of Fame. Every year, PCGS

inducts a small handful of distinguis­hed dealers into the Hall of Fame, and this year the world’s premier third-party grading service is adding the names of three well-deserving individual­s to the hall of numismatic luminaries. These three new inductees are Bruce Amspacher, Greg Roberts, and Catherine Bullowa-Moore.

“Bruce, Greg, and Catherine have all made such a tremendous impact on our hobby,” says PCGS President Brett Charville. “Bruce, as many know, cofounded Profession­al Coin Grading Service in 1986, and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to him for what he did in helping build our company to what it has become today,” says Charville of Amspacher, who passed away at the age of 63 in 2006. “His posthumous induction to the PCGS CoinFacts Hall of Fame further ensures his memory will never fade.”

Greg Roberts, 57, is CEO of Stack’s Bowers Galleries and A-Mark Precious Metals. He has been in the coin business for decades. “Greg has been a driving force in our industry for more than 40 years and has handled some of the biggest transactio­ns of all time,” Charville remarks. “Some of his deals include the King of Siam Proof Set, which is famous well beyond the realm of our hobby.”

Catherine Bullowa-Moore became a coin dealer after her husband, who owned a coin shop in Philadelph­ia, unexpected­ly passed away in 1953, less than two years into their marriage,” Charville says. “After his passing, she stepped into those shoes as a coin dealer, taught herself the ins and outs of the hobby, and became one of the most respected dealers in the industry.” B

Bullowa-Moore, who passed away at the age of 97 in 2017, becomes the first woman inducted into the PCGS CoinFacts Coin Dealer Hall of Fame. “She was a pioneer in our industry and someone who so many coin collectors as well as her fellow dealers throughout the generation­s knew well and dearly miss.”


A Napa Valley California winery, owned by a well-known profession­al numismatis­t and named after an important design element on United States coins, is expanding. Steven L. Contursi, Chief Executive Officer of Rare Coin Wholesaler­s (www.RareCoinWh­ and his wife, Seanne, are proprietor­s of the Arrow&Branch Estate Vineyard (www.ArrowAndBr­ in Coombsvill­e in the famous Napa Valley.

Steve Contursi has been a profession­al coin dealer since 1975, specializi­ng in historical­ly significan­t U.S. coins. The name Arrow&Branch was inspired by the unique EB-oneagle’s-breast 1787 Brasher Doubloon he owned and frequently displayed across the country. Part of the design on that early American gold coin struck by Ephraim Brasher, and a motif used on many other U.S. coins since then is an eagle holding an olive branch and arrows in its talons. That enduring design prompted the name Arrow&Branch for both the vineyard and wine brand name.

Contursi sold his Brasher Doubloon for $7.4 million to a Wall Street investment firm in 2011. He and his wife opened their wine business in 2007 with a 3.5-acre vineyard. In 2011 they acquired an additional

1.5 contiguous acres, and now they have purchased for approximat­ely $4 million the 10-acre Williamson Family Vineyard in Napa that produces wines under the name Ideology Cellars. “The property already has a winery permit, and we now are planning to build a winery on the property. This will be the new home of Arrow&Branch and our goal is to crush our first grapes there in 2022,” he explained.

Informatio­n about currently available Arrow&Branch Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux Blend, Cabernet Franc, and Sauvignon Blanc wines can be found online at www. ArrowAndBr­, or by phone at 707-200-3640 and by email at wine@ArrowAndBr­

 ?? ACEF ?? Law enforcemen­t personnel inspect examples of coins during an anti-counterfei­ting seminar.
ACEF Law enforcemen­t personnel inspect examples of coins during an anti-counterfei­ting seminar.
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 ??  ?? Catherine Bullowa-Moore poses with dealer Paul Nugget while on the bourse floor of a coin show.
Catherine Bullowa-Moore poses with dealer Paul Nugget while on the bourse floor of a coin show.

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