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Action Starts in September
August 19, 2010

During the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money, David Hall of the Professional Coin Grading Service and the firm’s attorney, Armen Vartian, reported that they were continuing to gather evidence in the firm’s lawsuit concerning coin doctoring, but also, they are narrowing the number of named individuals being sued.

They had a bit of good fortune, which they shared. A package of coins that was intended to be sent to a coin doctor apparently was inadvertently shipped to Numismatic Guaranty Corp., another grading service. PCGS obtained it from NGC and will use it as evidence.

One of the methods of doctoring is to apply a rare metal, indium, to the surface and build full heads on Standing Liberty quarters and full split bands on Mercury dimes.

Indium, however, breaks down over time, leaving an ugly residual on the coin’s surface. That’s when PCGS gets contacted to trigger the buyback guarantee for coins that PCGS graded.

Because indium is so rare, Vartian said there is one supplier in the world and he will find out who the clients are.

Vartian said the original PCGS complaint was never served on the defendants because he knew it would be amended.

Hall said he expected more buybacks of previously graded coins that had avoided detection and he also said PCGS would get more aggressive in this case rather than explore a settlement. This opens the door to additional lawsuits and efforts to recover damages.

It will be the middle of September before additional legal filings will occur.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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