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Protect Your Coin Collection – Crime is On the Rise

September 17, 2018 0 Comments

We hear a lot on the news about Bitcoin thefts, but regular coins can be stolen too – and they increasing are being stolen, by skilled gangs or individuals, who rob coin dealers stores, steal collections, and scam buyers with counterfeit coins.

Have you ever heard of the NCIC? If you haven’t then you probably should, since this organization, the Numismatic Crime Information Center, is key to reducing crime in the coin world. It’s a non-profit that acts as a bridge between law enforcement and the coin dealers and collectors. Yes, you might be thinking that coin collecting is just a small hobby, but it’s a big world, and rare coins are very valuable. Even not-so-rare gold and silver coins are valuable in quantity for their melt value. If you haven’t given much (or any) thought to protecting your coin collection, and taking precautions buying and selling at a coin fair, now is the time to think about it.

A look at the activities of the NCIC gives us a good idea of the range of things that come into protecting coins. The basic activities of the NCIC are:

  • Keeps a database of stolen coins and other coin collecting crimes, such as counterfeits
  • Gives expert technical information to all levels of law enforcement, from local police to federal and international agencies. This helps enormously in investigating and ultimately prosecuting coin crimes
  • Trains those law enforcement officers in all aspects of coin crime
  • Teaches dealers and collectors how to protect themselves against crime
  • Spreads information and awareness of coin crime through its website, and other resources
  • Connects with other organizations in preventing and prosecuting coin crime

Just as an example of how easy it is to be the victim of coin crime, back in June of 2018 a dealer had left the Vancouver BC coin show, and about 70 miles out he was stopped and robbed of a substantial collection by a gang that had presumably followed him from all the way from the show. Even worse, back in April of the same year, a collector was murdered in Indianapolis for a silver coin collection.

So coin crime is real, and something even a smaller collector should be on the look-out for. Here are some basic tips on protecting your collection:

  • Keep it in a substantial, high-quality safe, or in a safe-deposit box. You can do both, with your most valuable coins at a bank, and your less-valuable ones in a concealed safe bolted to the floor. Don’t leave coins albums lying around the house, and don’t go showing them off to every stranger who comes into your house, for whatever reason. You can be proud you collect coins but cautious in expressing that pride.
  • Keep an up-to-date inventory of all your collection, in a separate safe place, perhaps on your computer, with a back-up on a clip kept in a hidden place. After all, if you have a burglary, both your coins and your computer will probably be gone. The inventory makes an insurance claim much easier, and it can also be sent to the NCIC, so that dealers will know if someone arrives in their shop trying to sell your collection.
  • Be especially careful taking coins to a fair to sell, or after you buy some. Don’t show them around in that diner you stop at, and don’t attract attention at the show by being loud, dressing expensively, or acting out. If you make a valuable purchase, perhaps arrange for it to be sent to you by secure courier service, don’t just slip it into your pocket.
  • Remember that a deal that is too good to be true, probably is. Know the market value of coins you buy, and always think twice about ‘bargains’.

Just remember there are dangers out there and take precautions. Don’t become a victim of numismatic crime.

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