Friday, August 27, 2010

Richard L. Francis Jr. says 'Don't Reveal Detection Secrets'

An editorial in Numismatic News by Richard L. Francis Jr. complains that by publishing counterfeit diagnostic information the numismatic community is aiding forgers.

Mr. Francis is technically correct but misguided. His solution is to keep the information secret on a web site. He says only ANA members with at least five years should be allowed to use the site. Mr. Francis' recommendation is a poor one. He assumes that forgers have less than five years of ANA membership, and don't know any gullible ANA members who would share the password with them.

For ancient coins the ISBCC has keeps a secure anti-counterfeit website, Not all the members check it before accepting fakes for auction. Interested collectors play an important role in keeping things working.

The reason counterfeit information should be available to the public is that sharing it helps collectors to detect fakes more than it helps forgers to hide them.