It's a question (or perhaps an accusation) we fully expected, and it's not without merit.  Doesn't this website, with how-to articles and side-by-side comparisons, also help the counterfeiters?

The short answer is:  maybe a little, BUT...

(and there are a lot of "buts")


First, the counterfeiters have been improving their fakes all along.  We launched this website with three generations of counterfeit Pamp Suisse gold bars already in hand, each more convincing than the last.  Counterfeit Silvertowne bars had also been improved prior to our launch, along with counterfeit American Silver Eagles and Canadian Maple Leafs.  The counterfeiters are getting feedback from their customers (the scammers who buy the fakes in bulk from Chinese producers and resell them on Craigslist, eBay, and elsewhere).  Those scammers are the primary driver for new and improved fakes.  They are the ones keeping the Chinese counterfeiters in business and that is primarily where the counterfeiters turn for feedback.  Fakes will be continuously improved, regardless of whether or not this website exists.

First and second generation counterfeit Silvertowne bars.

Second, what is the alternative to acknowledging the problem and teaching each other how to deal with it?  We stick our collective head in the sand and pretend counterfeits don't exist?  That approach just amplifies the problem.  Not only are people getting scammed into buying fakes, spending their hard-earned money on gilded brass, but unknowing victims are then reselling counterfeits to others, passing them on to their children, and locking them in safes where they may not see the light of day for 20 years.  Even if the flow of counterfeits was somehow stopped tomorrow (which is an impossibility that deserves more discussion later), the fakes already in circulation will continue to wreak havoc for decades to come.  The cat is out of the bag and there is no going back.  Anybody dealing in coins and precious metals, from a hobbyist collector up to a national dealer, needs to know how to play defense.

Finally, to form an effective defense, information about counterfeits needs to be readily and widely available. Some in the industry believe in keeping the problem quiet, holding information close at hand, protecting themselves but not others.  Some brands targeted by counterfeiters are understandably hesitant to publicize the problem for fear it may damage the reputation and desirability of their products.  But these are short term outlooks.  In the long run, the most effective way to combat counterfeits is to make every set of eyes in the industry, buyers and sellers big and small, an industry watchdog.  Companies that take a proactive approach and actively help their customers and potential customers avoid fakes will garner much more trust than companies that deny the problem exists.

We do take measures to limit access to site content.  We have multiple systems in place to block access from the geographical region where most modern counterfeits are made.  But like most things on the internet, there are ways to get around it, and if somebody from China really wants to access the site, they will find a way.  Short of putting all of behind a paywall, some information will inevitably fall into undesirable hands.  But don't the benefits of educating the coin and bullion industry and collector community far outweigh any perceived risks of making this information available?  We sure think so, or else we wouldn't be volunteering our time and money to do it.

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