Anti-Counterfeiting Seminar Aids Law Enforcement
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 (www.ACEFonline.org) 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.
GOLD DEALERS SEEING NEW BUYERS WHILE SOME EARLIER BUYERS ARE NOW SELLING
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://apmddealers.org), a division of the nonprofit Professional Numismatists Guild (www.PNGdealers.org).
“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.apmddealers.org/join-apmd#code) in the buying and selling of precious metals.
THREE ICONIC COIN DEALERS INDUCTED INTO PCGS COINFACTS COIN DEALER HALL OF FAME
Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com) 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.”
PROMINENT COIN DEALER EXPANDS NUMISMATICTHEMED WINE BUSINESS
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.RareCoinWholesalers.com) and his wife, Seanne, are proprietors of the Arrow&Branch Estate Vineyard (www.ArrowAndBranch.com) 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. ArrowAndBranch.com, or by phone at 707-200-3640 and by email at wine@ArrowAndBranch.com.