We continue to see in Proxibid auctions replicas of coins that are not designated as such in the lot description. Copies, marked or unmarked, plague numismatics, which is why eBay forbids any sale of such on its portal. If you are selling copies for a consignor, you should be aware of US Mint rules and regulations regarding the offering of copied coins to the public. You could be in violation of the US Hobby Protection Act.
Here is a recent example of a Proxibid auction offering a copy of a US Mint coin without describing it as “copy.” (Click to expand photo.)
The word COPY should appear on the obverse, not the reverse. Nonetheless, this coin clearly states COPY on the reverse (again not mentioned in the Proxibid description).
Here is a summary of US Mint rules regarding copies. For a detailed description provided by the Mint, click here.
- Do consult with your attorney before embarking on any activity involving the reproduction of genuine United States coins.
- Do be aware of existing counterfeiting laws.
- The Hobby Protection Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 2101–2106), requires manufacturers of imitation numismatic items to mark plainly and permanently such items with the word “copy.” Failure to do so may constitute an unfair or deceptive act or practice pursuant to the Federal Trade Commission Act.
- Do not advertise your replica product as a “coin.” The term “coin” is commonly understood to be a piece of metal issued by governmental authority as money or legal tender. Alternative terms such as “replica,” “medal” or “medallion” should be used in order to avoid confusion.
- Do make it clear in your advertisement and marketing materials that the product offered is a replica.
- Do include a disclaimer in all advertisements, order forms, web pages and other marketing materials featuring replicas of genuine United States coins. Disclaimers should be placed immediately adjacent to or below the actual photograph of the replica used in the advertisement or marketing material, and should not be buried in “fine print” at the bottom of the advertisement or marketing material.
- The United States Mint owns copyright in several commemorative and circulating coin designs.
We will continue to bring to Proxibid’s attention violations of US federal law in the selling of replicas and counterfeits, especially California Fractional Gold, which pollutes Proxibid because sellers on eBay have been banned and have found a home in auctioneer consignments. We do not name those auctions in our posts on Proxiblog because ours is an educational site. However, we do report them to Proxibid using the “Report this Item” link. Often, those counterfeits and replicas continue to be sold because the auctioneer refuses to take down the lot. Why does this happen? eBay bans sellers; Proxibid does not, for this infraction.
There are consequences, however, as the US Mint warns.
Proxiblog is an independent entity with no connection to the auction portal Proxibid. Our intent is to uphold basic numismatic standards as established by the American Numismatic Association and the National Auctioneer Association and to ensure a pleasurable bidding experience not only on Proxibid but also on similar portals such as iCollector and AuctionZip.