Monday, August 27, 2018

Replica hobo nickels

Is anyone familiar with Chinese hobo nickel replica maker Gyphongxin? The e-Sylum discussed Chinese hobo nickel replicas but I still meet advanced collectors who do not know the scope of it.

I purchased the "hobo dime" above with the Medusa skull design last year. It looks like a 1916-D. Often the creations of the artist (or artists?) "Gyphongxin" duplicate award winning hobo nickels but I haven't found the prototype for this one. A store on is selling these for $1.70 and they say they have 9837 pieces available. The seller also has one with a 1916-S reverse with 9995 available.

In hand the coins don't look particularly great. Other Chinese replicas do look great. I recommend anyone interested in the Chinese replica coin production quality listen to Charles Morgan interview Beth Deisher on the CoinWeek podcast.

There is a new wrinkle in how the coins are being shipped. The half-dollar at the top of the page sold on eBay for $4 with free shipping. It shipped from China to the nation of Georgia. (Not the US state, the former Soviet republic.) A different shipper slapped a sticker with a return address in Tbilisi over the first sticker. This process caused the replica to take six weeks to arrive. Why is the seller is willing to pay for double postage and send the coin around the world the long way? I suspect US Customs authorities are looking for and stopping these replicas.

I recommend everyone check out this store. Perhaps the ancient Greek and Roman coins won't fool you. Perhaps the US coins or the world silver won't fool you. There are a few things in this store that look very good in a photo and sell for a dollar or two.

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Feather Heist

Good reporting on museum security: This American Life recently made an hourlong episode about the 2009 smash-and-grab burglary at the Natural History Museum, London. Bird carcasses and feathers worth more than $1,000,000 on the fly-fishing black market were stolen. Some have been recovered.