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Dealers form organization to secure collector relief

Group recovers $326,450 for fraud victim

Numismatic Consumer Alliance Inc. has been formed as a nonprofit corporation under the laws of New Jersey, as an organization of individuals and companies to fight fraudulent or illegal conduct within the coin trade.

John Albanese, a longtime professional numismatist and a founder of both Professional Coin Grading Service and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America, is heading the organization.

He had first announced plans for the organization in 2003. Obtaining nonprofit corporation status was a much longer process than he envisioned, he said. The group was founded in 2004 and now a Web site, www.stopcoinfraud.org, is active. It includes a membership application form.

Albanese said applications for dealer membership will begin being taken this winter. Four levels of annual membership contribution commitment have been established: bronze, $100; silver, $500; gold $2,500; and founder, $10,000. Five dealers had already committed to the $10,000 level by mid-September, he said.

The “primary goals” of NCA as outlined on the Web site are:

  • 1. To help consumers secure relief for fraudulent and illegal conduct within the coin industry. For such purposes, fraud and illegal conduct shall refer to the following practices: overcharging; underpaying; overstatement of investment potential; overgrading and other misrepresentations of quality, rarity, authenticity and fair market value.
  • 2. To disseminate information to consumers with regard to the prevention and identification of fraud and other illegal conduct within the industry.
  • 3.To educate consumers with respect to coin grading so they may distinguish the competent coin grading services from others with hidden agenda, conflicts of interest or compromised independence.

Albanese and attorney Robert Boyar said the fledgling NCA already intervened in the case of a Florida person who bought about 35 coins in two years from a Northeast telemarketer. The NCA identified the coins as overgraded and overvalued. Legal fees were partly subsidized by the NCA. A settlement of $326,450 was obtained, representing a full refund of prices paid and an additional amount to offset the buyer’s loss of other opportunities, Albanese and Boyar said.

All the coins involved had been certified by established grading and authentication firms, Albanese said. The victim was elderly, he added.

“Some people think certified means certified, just like a government bond,” he said.

He said he hopes to enroll prominent coin dealers to an extent that the group letterhead in itself “will be intimidating.”

October 10, 2005 issue of Coin World – Page 8 – Amos Publishing

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