By February 11, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

Laura Sperber Hot Topics: A NEW TWIST AND MY PLAN

By Laura Sperber

Hi all. Yes, I am back to attacking coin doctors and the dealers who enable them. Seems the docs have come up with a new twist about their deeds. Time for a wake up call to them!

Its mindboggling to me how many coin doctors have come up to me in the past few months and declared “I do not do that anymore”. They act very brave and feel the past is the past and they are free to move on now that they have “repented”. They never acknowledge what they did was wrong, nor do they offer to stop the criminals playing with coins today. They just want us all to forget about about their deeds and move on. I know I can’t. To me it seems every other day I still see their work. Once a coin is ruined-it is done for life. Even if a coin “comes back”, it was still damaged. This angers me so much when they try to act like its not a big deal.

First, I don’t believe any of the BS when they claim to be reformed. These cats haven’t changed their spots one bit. They all still run in the same groups, still whisper among dealers which coins they are buying to “fix”, and they still sell their funky looking coins via their regular mules. Its no secret they still want to “beat the system” and don’t care about who or what gets hurt. They are getting more bolder in their techiques and seem to live for the thrill. Just talking to them you hear negativity about the grading services. They feel they have a right to do what it takes to get their grades. Whether its a bad case of greed or denial, the current and the ex coin doctors need to be stopped and punished.


The PCGS lawsuit was an eye opener for sure. It scared a few smaller docs, but the majority just brushed the lawsuit aside and went on their merry way. At least the PNG adopted in its by laws that coin doctoring is not allowed. Of course the wall of silence has made sure no complaints have been filed. Besides if you have a bad coin, all you care about is going to the grading service for a refund. That effort was a huge YAWN! So in two attempts to reign in the docs, in the end little has come of things other than some noise. To me, this is disgusting and disgraceful.

My plan is simple: If I win a seat on the ANA board, I will make a small part of the ANA into a consumer protection/advocy group that WILL have razor sharp teeth. The ANA is all for the hobbist. There is no greater or larger organization in numismatics. Its time for the ANA to wake up from being a tired numismatic book of the month club and become the real leadership of the hobby. I strongly believe the the ANA should GOVERN the hobby, the dealers, the auction houses, and yes, the grading services. I know with 30,000+ members behind me voting for this, we can clean things up and take back the hobby!

Standards need to be set and dealer ethics needs to be seriously promoted. The ANA can start its own “accepted dealer” program for those who care to deal with the public. Those dealers would have to pass rigerous standards and agree not purposely buy or sell doctored coins and truely be of the highest ethical standards. No wannabes allowed here. Should a dealer be caught knowingly doing worng-they would be severly punished after one warning no exceptions. The ANA should force its dealer members to have even higher standards than the PNG. And IMHO, it should be the GOLD standard for ANY dealer looking to sell to the public. I would have a public/dealer board as the overseers. As a dealer, I would much rather have an ANA dealer endorsement than one from the PNG.

Auction houses especially need to held responsible. How can you be a full time coin auctioneer and not have a qualified capable numismatist on staff? Sure, no auctioneeer is going to turn down a consignment-but they should be able to tell if a coin is AT or doctored. Time to buck it up-where have the in house numismatists all been hiding? Auction houses need to better describe the coins. I also feel strongly auction houses should disclose if they own a coin (I know I do in my sales). Auction houses should be the front line or protection and need to report the messed with coins to the ANA and or the grading services. Even if the coin belongs to a collector, the dealer who made the coin needs to still be found and punished. The collector would still not be happy, but we might not lose as many when they see real action is being taken. Auctions houses are clearly the BIGGEST mules for the coin docs to sell from. Also, I think there needs to be more REAL transparency by the auction houses, not transparency that an auction house makes up.

Last, I would make the grading services print on every coin a note if it has been conserved. Its out right deception if they do not. In the art world, its the law to say if something has been done to painting. Also, I would NOT allow the ANA to accept ANY money for sponsorship from ANY grading service or coin business. IMHO, to be a true public representative with HIGH standards, the ANA MUST remain independant. I believe if it were more proactive in this regard, membership and dues would increase. There are other sources of revenue. The ANA can NOT be in ANYONES back pocket.

Basically, I would create a powerful comittee that would hold people responsible. I am so disgusted how many of todays retail dealers (especially) still say-“if its bad, just don’t buy it”. Or how many still keep these coin docs in biz because they can do huge business both ways or they just won’t turn their friends in. The retail coin dealer does have a responsibility to the public. Allowing ANY dealer to hide and not face the facts is not stopping the problem.

We have a great hobby that still has a tremendous potential. Legend just invested $10,000,000.00 in a single coin (the $1 1794 PCGS SP 66 CAC). If we didn’t believe the future was bright, that never would have happened. I want to make sure that EVERYONE (from a YN to the biggest collectors) have a safe and enjoyable hobby today and in the future. Its been driving me nuts hearing all the fake lip service from the coin docs and the dealers who are too chicken sh*t to do anything. Time to really spank all of them and throw them out of the sand box. We can clean things up and move on with self policing easily-it just takes more people to be involved. Dealers as a group just won’t take actions. 30,000+ ANA members vs a few bad dealers seems like good odds to get things done.

If you have any questions or comments, please email me at:

Posted in: Opinion

About the Author:

Laura Sperber is one of the Owners of Legend Numismatics. She is a passionate and outspoken dealer who says what she believes and is a strong proponent of numismatic standards. Since 1987. Legend Numismatics has built an unequaled reputation among casual collectors and avid investors alike by locating and procuring top quality rare coins.

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