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CBP Seizes Rare Coins Determined to be Counterfeit

Release Date: 
April 21, 2011

Chicago - Chicago U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the International Mail Branch last week made an interesting discovery of a shipment of U.S. Trade Dollar coins arriving from China.

Suspicion was raised by the officers when they noticed an anomaly on the X-ray of a heavy package intended for a residence in Illinois. Further examination of the package revealed 361 coins that appeared to be U.S. Trade Dollar coins with dates between 1873 and 1878. The original U.S. Trade Dollar coin was minted from 1873 to 1878 and in proof form from up until 1885. Research of collector coins revealed that some of these coins can be sold for as much as $2,000.

Brass and silver plated counterfeit U.S. Trade Dollars seized by CBP officers in Chicago.

Brass and silver plated counterfeit U.S. Trade Dollars seized by CBP officers in Chicago.

A sample coin was turned over to CBP Laboratory and Scientific Services in Chicago for analysis. The result revealed the coins were made of brass with a thin sliver plated coating. Ironically the consignee contacted CBP inquiring about his shipment indicating he was going to sell them on a popular internet auction site. Based upon the laboratory results the shipment was seized.

"Legitimate traders are being duped into buying these coins believing they are genuine," said David Murphy, CBP director of field operations in Chicago. "We strongly recommend buyers or any consumers to be aware and use caution when making these types of purchases on the internet."

CBP officers and agriculture specialists are stationed at international mail facilities located throughout the country in major cities. CBP is constantly screening arriving international mail and on the lookout for any type of contraband, counterfeit or prohibited items being shipped to the U.S. which can harm the community or take advantage of the unsuspecting buyer.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017