As the old saying goes, ‘there’s no Christmas in coin collecting.’ And local coin shop owner Jeff Spielman is warning collectors not to be fooled by scammers in the Lincoln City area.
Spielman, owner of the JS Coins LLC shop, has seen a variety of counterfeit coins and jewelry come through his doors during his tenure in Lincoln City. Recently however, he’s seen an uptick in counterfeit silver dollars that if they were real, would be worth at least $400.
“This coin is easily worth $400 if it’s real,” Spielman said. “It is 1/3 silver and should weigh 26.63 grams. These counterfeits don’t have a bit of silver in them. I can tell by weighing them and looking at them that they’re phony.”
The coin is an 1881 CC silver dollar and according to Spielman, most of the phony coins that have come to his store have been traced back to a local scammer who travels from Gleneden Beach to the north end of Lincoln City selling his coins.
“He sells them for about $20 a piece and people don’t usually bring them in to see if they’re real, so they’ll keep them a few years, try to sell them and find out they are fake,” Spielman said.
Counterfeit coins can also be found in abundance online. Spielman said he often will have customers come to his shop with non-authentic coins that were purchased online.
To the average collector it can be sometimes hard to tell which is the real deal and which ones aren’t. Spielman said he gives people a general rule when purchasing coins online.
“Some of it’s real and some of it’s not, and if there’s no return policy then that’s a red flag right there,” Spielman said. “You have to be careful because there’s a lot of crooked guys on sites like eBay.”
In addition to the coin scam, Spielman said he has also seen several pieces of jewelry come into the shop that would also be deemed non-authentic.
“Recently we’ve been getting a lot of jewelry that’s marked 18 karat and not gold at all, it’s like a brass and people are buying this stuff,” Spielman said. “One guy was out $400 for a fake ring and necklace. You can tell by looking at it because 18 karat has this nice yellowy butter gold look to it.”
Jewelry scams aren’t as frequent around here according to Spielman, however he said he has seen it from time to time. Regardless of the scam, there are always steps you can take before purchasing coins or jewelry.
Spielman said it starts with research.
“You can find a lot of information online like what the appearance should look like, how much it weighs and things like that. You should also go to a reputable coin dealer to make sure it’s the real deal,” Spielman said. “Another thing you could do is call the cops, let them know who’s doing this because I don’t think too many people bother to turn them in so they keep on scamming people in the community.”