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Does anyone else think it strange ...


bobh
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Just wondering ... :ninja:

 

Some possible reasons:

 

More Russian-oriented collectors are here than other specialties on the board, who look for Russian coins as part of their collecting interest.

 

Among those posters, many are long time collectors who know what genuine coins look like.

 

Posters include long-recognized experts who have authored important books or articles on the subject of Russian numismatics

 

Russian coin prices have exploded upward, attracting the attention of forgers

 

and probably other reasons that escape me at the moment.

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I think there are several good explanations.

 

One is that there's far fewer easily accessible specialist-written works that go into the extreme detail that you would find, say, for Morgan Dollars. The literature is not sufficient.

 

Then there's the language barrier. Lots of foreign collectors that have no Russian language skills are being attracted to this material, easy prey for counterfeiters.

 

Then there's the impossible variety and handmade qualities of the 18th century material. Lacking any sort of machine-driven automation and die hubbing, we have to deal with authentic materials that have lumpy, uneven edges, die cracks, overstrikes, wild edging and so forth. Very easy to squeeze a fake into this ocean of idiosyncrasy.

 

In addition, the poverty of anyone in Russia who makes their living as an expert in art or applied arts. During the Soviet time, these people were like gods - they were esteemed, could travel all over the world, and were relatively well compensated (also given the better apartments and dachas). No longer. I was in Russia this summer and saw almost NO people reading books, no people playing chess... all they care about now is making money. It is a very brutal atmosphere, very self-centered now. Remember when the worry was how easy it would be to bribe keepers of nuclear material to let some go, after the Soviet Union fell? that same worry can be applied to the gatekeepers of materials in places like the Hermitage. I can easily imagine fakes based on originals in the Hermitage collection, where for a bribe, the conservator of the material would allow a counterfeiter to make silicone impression (or whatever it is they might make) - or maybe they would just make them themselves and sell them. In the Hermitage, the coin collection is not even on public display, so these pieces are truly the playthings of the specialists in charge of them.

 

And finally, there's one more possibility. Russian xenophobia. Russians are suspicious of (and discriminate against) all foreigners. So they as a society are not above sticking a foreign buyer with fake product. If only the food industry were more developed, and producers could separate domestic from export easily, I would not be surprised to see some scandals akin to those in China over melamine in infant formula etc. The soviet system destroyed many of the ethical dimensions of life in Russia.

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...well, when we try to find the answer, we also need to think about where most of these fakes come from. Even with my limited experience in this field I can say that many, if not most, fakes come from China, and Russian collectors themselves are among those who are often fooled by these fakes. Let's not forget where the largest market for Russian coins is. Thus, the question is: are fakes of other, non-Russian, coin types as abundant as of Russian coins?

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I think there are several good explanations.

There are fakes made in Russia, for sure. But I do think many more are made in China these days.

 

I am saddened to hear that learning is in decline in Russia. If that keeps up, Russians will become as dumbed down as the average Westerner.

 

Many years ago, in the late 1970's or early 1980's, I went to hear an American whose family went to Russia with the Ford car plant (at least, I think it was Ford) in the late 1920s or early 1930s and ended up staying and suffering many years in the gulag system. To my surprise, he made 2 major predictions, both very different from what I expected to hear. First, he predicted (correctly) that the Soviet Union would eventually collapse. He also predicted that Russia would lead a spiritual reawakening of the world.

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Older Chinese silver (and occasionally copper) coins are widely faked. In fact, likely as many as 70-80% of the older Chinese coins you see on eBay are fakes. (Pandas also.) For some of the scarcer pieces the copies vastly outnumber the genuine ones. I just purchased a lot of about 100 Chinese silver coins from one of the premier auction houses in the U.S., and it contained 3 fakes. Rather obvious ones at that. A distressing number of fakes have been slabbed as genuine by the grading services. Some of these reproductions are very, very good.

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There are fakes made in Russia, for sure. But I do think many more are made in China these days.

 

I am saddened to hear that learning is in decline in Russia. If that keeps up, Russians will become as dumbed down as the average Westerner.

 

Many years ago, in the late 1970's or early 1980's, I went to hear an American whose family went to Russia with the Ford car plant (at least, I think it was Ford) in the late 1920s or early 1930s and ended up staying and suffering many years in the gulag system. To my surprise, he made 2 major predictions, both very different from what I expected to hear. First, he predicted (correctly) that the Soviet Union would eventually collapse. He also predicted that Russia would lead a spiritual reawakening of the world.

 

There was a movie about this called 'Coming Out of the Ice' (1982). It was the real story about Victor Herman who was in the USSR to help build a Ford car factory during Stalin's time, and was forced to renounce his US citizenship. When he refused, he was sent to a Siberian gulag where he spent 18 years until he was finally released. As for fake coins, you're right. It seems most of the fakes come from China and thus I no longer buy coins or notes from there no matter how authentic they look. I did, however, buy one from there before learning about this fact. It was 200 Cash coin (hammered) from the Szechuan-Shensi Soviet. It looks real enough, but then again who knows.

 

 

 

Szechuan-Shensi Soviet 200 Cash

(Retrograde) 1933~Obverse

 

 

Szechuan-Shensi Soviet 200 Cash

(Retrograde) 1933~Reverse

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The ones I feel sorry for (in addition to most buyers that get scammed) are the honest and legitimate sellers in China, because this hurts their reputation as well. The problem is, you don't know which sellers you can trust. As the saying goes 'One rotten apple spoils the barrel'

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I think it's great that Russian fakes are exposed here; this fakes forum has been long in coming, and there was a lot of discussion as to whether or not we wanted it, and if there would be any legal repercussions about exposing a fake coin in an online auction here.

 

What makes me wonder is that nobody seems to care about the fake Morgan dollars, double eagles, rare date Indian cents, and thousands of other countries' fakes (including China) that are out there and are bought and sold on eBay and other auction venues on a regular basis. I agree with what savok says about the difficulty in acquiring good literature on the subject, although if you look you can certainly find it (maybe not the original GDM, but just about everything else).

 

It would also be interesting to read about contemporary counterfeits which have been accepted as part of numismatic history. One example would be the rare Swedish 5 kopek counterfeits -- probably there have even been fakes of THAT series as well! Or the gold-plated platinum (!) fakes of the French Napoléons made during the 19th century when platinum used to be much cheaper than gold.

 

I would just like to see more activity from non-Russian collectors; but keep up the good work on the "Russian front" as well! :ninja:

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What makes me wonder is that nobody seems to care about the fake Morgan dollars, double eagles, rare date Indian cents, and thousands of other countries' fakes (including China) that are out there and are bought and sold on eBay and other auction venues on a regular basis. I agree with what savok says about the difficulty in acquiring good literature on the subject, although if you look you can certainly find it (maybe not the original GDM, but just about everything else).

platinum used to be much cheaper than gold.

There is considerable concern about the fake U.S. material but it is not on this forum. The Collector Universe

website (PCGS) has a U.S. discussion group (among others) and there are numerous posts about fakes and

even fake slabs coming out of China. The ‘polite’ remarks found about eBay on Coinpeople are well matched by

those seen on Collector Universe. The Collector Universe foreign discussions are, at least for Russian material,

relatively thin compared to Coinpeople.

 

The Chinese-made slabs (both NGC and PCGS) are very well made and a long-term danger to the hobby. The real

problem is eBay which refuses to do anything about the large number of counterfeits.

 

RWJ

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There was a movie about this called 'Coming Out of the Ice' (1982). It was the real story about Victor Herman who was in the USSR to help build a Ford car factory during Stalin's time, and was forced to renounce his US citizenship. When he refused, he was sent to a Siberian gulag where he spent 18 years until he was finally released.

That's the man I was talking about. I had forgotten his name but remember it now that you mention it.

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