Monday, June 20, 2016

Current eBay dealer in Fake Coins: liucheng336699

Reference: Fake Chinese Coin seller eBay ID liucheng336699

Amazing! Another seller of fake Chinese cash on eBay! So, what else is new?

I'll tell you what—finally a seller whose fake Chinese cash and other fake coins actually include some interesting fantasies. Take a look at these charmers! He's only got fifteen items on auction tonight, so I will show all of them with my comments. This seller has, of today, twenty bad feedbacks on the record, and they all seem to have something to do with fake underwear, so maybe the coins are okay—not! Just kidding, but some of the coins are very original, not the usual fakes we've been seeing. Here 't goes!

There are only three cash-likes:

A charm with 福 Fu at the top, bronze 54.5mm diameter.
Guangxu reign 10 cash, clumsy Manchu characters,
and much too large—62mm!
Jiaqing reign, 福建 Fujian province 100 cash
with characters in rims denoting a weight of 5 liang, brassy 58mm.
There are no multiple cash in the Jiaqing reign!

Then he is selling some fake Republican era coins with very crude portraits:

A fantasy 广东 Guangdong province 1 xian, bronze 25mm.
A fantasy Memento style 10 cash, bronze 28.5mm.
A fantasy Yuan Shikai as Emperor bronze 20 cash crown, 38mm.

Finally, nine assorted mostly fantasy types, some quite charming, some crude and childish, like Communist play money—if there ever was such a thing!

Somewhat faithful copy of the Communist 500 cash, 35mm!
Interesting, even artistic, play money 分 fen with ship, 23mm.
Totally childish play money style piece of Commie crap,
possibly useful as a piece of retro jewelry, 35mm.
Playful and childlike play money 分 fen, a bit goofy, 23mm.
Another play money piece, not terribly artsy, 29mm.
The authentic coin isn't much better.
Republic half cent fake, hole unpunched, and too large, 25mm.
Big 500 cash fantasy, crown-sized 38mm.
Interesting! A fake 1 cash in bronze instead of brass
and too large at 23mm with the Hubei 鄂 mintmark in the center.
Another interesting piece, a fantasy Republic 10 cash
with the Imperial Japanese chrysanthemum, bronze 25mm.

I don't really have much more to add in commenting on liucheng336699 or his wares. It has become more common this time round to find sellers in China who don't just sell fake coins, but a lot of other stuff, usually fake cultural artifacts or art, but sometimes ladies' clothes, shoes, or, as in the case of liucheng336699, men's underwear. I am not so concerned about fake underwear as I am about fake coins. The underwear gets discarded after a year or two, but the coins, unless someone is sensible and throws them into the smelter, could be around for centuries, infesting real collections for generations.

Remember, know your seller or dealer. Know your series.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Current eBay dealer in Fake Coins: shenwen030988

Reference: Fake Chinese Coin seller eBay ID shenwen030988

This eBay seller of FAKE coins (eBay, listen up! What about your STRICT policy against selling FAKE merchandise?) has been on eBay since July 3, 2008, so, in other words, duping the public for nearly eight years! Congratulations, 朋友 Péngyǒu, for being able to fly under eBay's radar for so long, and especially for evading negative feed back. I wonder how you do it, since eBay has carefully watched me, and deleted an item I had for sale (an ancient coin) because they determined it was a plundered ancient artifact! Duh! As if anyone on eBay's staff is even qualified to detect such a thing. The coin they deleted was simply a copper coin from Nisibis, which happens to be in the Middle East. Oddly, they ignored other coins from the same area. Maybe someone was having a bad hair day.

Back to my Chinese friend (that's what 朋友 péngyǒu means) shenwen030988 (I wonder if 3/9/1988 is his birthday?) — I thought that no one would be so foolish as to make fakes of inexpensive Northern Song dynasty coins, but evidently I was wrong.

First thing I saw when I opened eBay to the listings for Coins: World which on my computer is set to sort from cheapest to most expensive was a fake 北宋 Northern Song 大觀 Da Guan cash, listed by shenwen030988. The description says it is 27mm in diameter, so it is, in fact, a fake of a cash multiple, probably intended as a Value-2 cash. Naughty, naughty! Look carefully at the reverse side of this coin especially: It is a good example of painted on, fake patina. You can tell by the flaking.

Next thing I saw was what I thought was a poorly faked, quite common 北宋 Northern Song 至道 Zhidao Value-1 cash in 行書 Xíng shū Cursive style writing—but there were two of them in the picture. Oh! I get it! It is a rare double obverse coin, what in Chinese is called 雙面 Shuāng miàn. That's why they faked it. It really isn't a common coin, not when it has two obverses! Very clever!

(I hope no one becomes discouraged by the ugliness and stupidity of these two fakes to talk them out of collecting 北宋 Northern Song dynasty coins. When they're the real ones, and when you're not buying junk coins that should be sent to recycling, but nice, good grade examples which are plentiful on the internet from dealers like Ricky Watt or from off-eBay dealers like Frank Robinson, it is a great way to build an impressive collection of medieval coins inexpensively.)

Back to shenwen030988, the next item I saw, which was a fake of a rare cash (or maybe a fantasy, I don't have time to check my catalogs) was a 南宋 Southern Song dynasty 乾道 Qiandao cash with the reverse mintmark 松 Sōng. The description says it is 28mm, so a Value-2, which is commoner than Value-1 coins for this reign title, but the anomaly is the mintmark. Copper 乾道 Qiandao don't have reverse mintmarks. In fact, only iron 南宋 Southern Song coins have mintmarks (with a few exceptions, and of course this doesn't apply to the ones with year numerals on the back, which are made of copper, as well as iron). So, again, naughty, naughty! And to the potential buyer, beware! This piece isn't even worth having in my black museum.

The rest of this dealers selection of fakes is pretty pedestrian, that is, pretty predictable: the usual mix of large size rare cash, some of which are fantasies, others mules or with blank reverses when the original would have been charactered, like this 45mm example, described simply as 'bronze.' The side with characters is part of an award medal in the form of a large cash. Why did they not follow through with the other side's inscriptions? Who knows? Maybe just to be different.

At present, authentic 清 Qing dynasty large multiple cash are almost never found on eBay. The few that appear are usually from private collectors, or dealer/sellers in the United States. You can assume that unless one appears in the auctions of sellers like Ricky Watt or Tom Tangmu, sellers in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and maybe elsewhere (notably in Europe, like the U.K. and the Netherlands) it will probably be a fake. The fakes are just too smooth, or have unnatural patinas, or are of the wrong metal. Again, remember! Cash coins are never made of silver! If you want a silver cash to wear as a piece of jewelry, feel free to buy one from an eBay fakes dealer, but don't be surprised if it’s a copper fake with a silver wash on it. I wouldn't want to wear such garbage, would you?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Who needs eBay? Meet

Go straight to the source!

If it's fake Chinese coins you need, whether cash coins, or struck coins, this company is probably the source of many of the fake coins on eBay that are sold by middlemen in China. Though I hate to discourage the petty entrepreneur by going around him, in this case I don't feel too bad. Besides, why limit yourself to what Zhou Shimou (Joe Schmo in Pinyin) has in his auction if it's not exactly what you're looking for. Take a look at this!

The prices can be pretty high, but if you are looking for that special 'space filler' copy of a coin you'd like to own for which you cannot find an authentic specimen, it might be worth it to look here. This company also has periodic 'sales' so it pays to visit on a regular basis if you're looking for something at a good price.

Looking at what appears on their welcome page, don't let those high prices dissuade you. They're just there to make it look like they're dealing in legitimate product, although if you know foreign coins, you'll notice right away that only the first piece, a replica 1847 British Gothic crown (called 'kroner' by these folks), is a copy of a real coin. The rest are fantasies.

The quality of these 'high end' replicas is sometimes very high, the Gothic crown, for example, and the Hei Lung Kiang dollar, both of which look really convincing, but then some others, even on this spendy page, are pure junk, like this Sungarei tael (spelled 'Teal' on the coin). I think I've seen this last piece somewhere on eBay starting at 99 cents.

I'm not sure that you couldn't talk them down on some of these prices if they thought you were a serious buyer. If that Gothic crown replica is real silver and that nice, I might pay $50 for it, as a replica, but no more. It probably isn't pure silver, though, and in that case, even $20 might be too much. As for their asking price of $500... good luck!

Spades and Early Round Coins (No Knife Coins!)

Looking at their cash coins, starting with the first category Shang-Zhou-Warring States they have some fairly authentic looking pieces, but I imagine in hand they would not look as authentic.The prices they're asking for these are still too high, even starting at $8 each. I'd pass on this section, unless I was really needy of some odd piece for maybe educational purposes. Many of these can be found as fake coins on eBay—and eBay should be so proud!

Qin, Han, and Xin (Wang Mang) 

I really had to laugh when I noticed a set of two different SILVER huo bu spades, at the low, low price of only $120 a set. Except for the ultra rare replicas, most of the stuff in this section you can buy as authentic pieces at prices very close to what they're asking. Does that mean that their pieces are authentic? Probably not. But it's fun to pretend, isn't it, otherwise they wouldn't be in business.

Three Kingdoms and Pre-Tang

The replicas (copies, fakes, all mean the same, they are modern-made) of the early cash coins before the Tang dynasty are an interesting group, still over-priced, I'm afraid.

A complete Northern Zhou set with that lovely 'hanging needle' calligraphy will cost you $30 if you're willing to pay it. If you are satisfied with just the crown of the set, the Yong Tong Wan Guo, you can get a nice copy of that coin for only $8.

Sui, Tang, and Five Dynasty Ten Kingdoms

Here the replicas are a mix of fairly decent and a few silly, and the price range is between $6 and $25, with most in the $8 to $12 range.

You can get a nice set of De Yi multiples, one with crescent above, the other below, for a mere $15. The patina on most of these pieces looks pretty real too. If you buy any of these, you'd better pull out the old bottle of white ink and your quill, so you can mark the pieces as 'COPY'.

Northern & Southern Song Dynasties

I almost didn't want to look here, because these are my favorite dynasties. Silver oversized replicas are for sale, along with roughly made large Da Guan charms, and other oddities. Again, the drop dead price per piece here is $6 for one coin, with $8 to $12 being more normal, and a few more expensive pieces, either because they are made of silver or for some other mysterious reason.

If you're silly enough to pay $35 for a badly fake-patinated set of value-1, 2, and 3 Daguan Tongbao (see image above), then I'm sure you deserve to have them. As for me, I am happy to own several dozen authentic cash of this reign title in sizes value-1 and value-10 in bronze, and value-3 in iron, along with one or two deplorable fakes which have come my way.

In Conclusion

I could continue down their list and review the other sections, but I am getting a bit fatigued. I will say that in my other favorite dynastic period, Ming and Ming Rebels, they have some very nice replicas of some of the larger cash multiples which are actually collectible, but overpriced.

Many of these will turn up at regular eBay sellers of fakes, so find what you want here at and, if you can't get them to give you a lower price on something you want, wait for it to come around on eBay, it probably will.

A Final Note

I've mentioned using white ink to mark directly on a cash coin that it is a COPY. Some of the cash coins in my collection must have belonged to museum collections at one time, or at least were in personal collections of serious collectors since the second World War or earlier, because they are marked on the backs with old catalog reference numbers.

I used white ink and a metal quill pen as a youngster when we pasted our black and white photographs into black paged photo albums, and I'm guessing this was the same ink used to inscribe numbers on some of my older cash coins.

What I just discovered, looking on the web, is that they make white gel pens. I am wondering if they would work to mark on metal and be visible, like the old white ink was. If anyone knows the answer to this, let me know. Otherwise I'll buy a white gel pen and experiment.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Current eBay dealer in Fake Coins: best66666

Reference: Fake Chinese Coin seller eBay ID best66666

I’ve been intending to do a write up on this eBay seller based in the Netherlands for a while, but only today have I found enough time to give them the treatment they deserve.

best66666 avatar
The seller best66666 can best be described as a seller of authentic junk coins (real coins that are in such poor condition that they are essentially worthless), authentic fakes of real coins usually made by casting from an original coin, and a small handful of authentic modern coins (such as PRC issues) thrown in just for good measure.

What to do about this eBay seller? Avoid them like the plague!

Many of their item descriptions contain very informative vignettes about the history behind the items, of course it’s the history behind the real items, of which their offerings are unmarked copies. The boldness of the lie only proves the truth of the saying, ‘The bolder the lie, the more people you can get to believe it.’ Some of their listings include in the description such phrases as ‘We guarantee all the items are as pictured!!!’ which is quite meaningless as to authenticity, or even ‘Authenticity guaranteed for all items!’ which can still be ambiguous, because what is authentic?

The normal understanding of ‘authentic’ as applied to coins and other historic artifacts means ‘the real thing’ in the sense of, ‘made at the time indicated by legitimate authorities.’

eBay item number: 252378727350
For example, a large, value-10 cash of the 大灌 Da Guan era of emperor Huizong of the Northern Song dynasty must be a copper coin cast by state authorities between the years 1107 and 1110 AD. This example which can be found in the seller’s current auction is described as ‘Silver Proof Coin Da Guan Tong Bao 1107-1110 AD Large 10-Cash ANCIENT CHINA’ in the title. The full description goes on to give the history of the real coins, and then they conclude with, ‘Weight: 17.5 grams; Size: 40.5 mm. Very Attractive black silver tone, Extremely Rare!’

If this coin were copper the weight and diameter could be correct. They neglect to advise the customer that there is no such thing as an authentic silver cash coin in any era of history. Their notice ‘Extremely Rare!’ is possibly the truest thing they are saying about this ‘coin,’ probably because they’ve only made one or two pieces.

Going back to the categorizations of what best66666 sells, we can summarise them by groups, and show examples.

Group I
Items that are numismatically authentic, but in extremely poor condition.

Group II
Items that are numismatically reproductions, usually made by casting from authentic originals.

This off-centre fake is an impossibility. Modern off-centres are caused not by the misalignment of the dies, but by the blank being off centre in relation to the dies.

Group III 
Items that are modern reproductions cast or struck with a high level of expertise.

Group IV
Items that are numismatically authentic, modern coins in decent condition.

If you are a collector of authentic coins, shop elsewhere.
If you collect modern reproductions, or are looking to fill holes in your collection with well-made copies of otherwise unprocurable coins (or coins you couldn’t afford to buy as authentic pieces), you might find something here.
If you expect the guarantees of authenticity from eBay or any seller on eBay who flaunts them, I expect you will get what you deserve.

The first rule of thumb in buying collectibles on eBay is,
‘If the seller has even one detectable fake in their auction, don’t buy anything from them.’

The second rule of them is,
‘Know your seller.’

Both rules assume as a starting point that you know your collectible.
If you are a newbie, ask a professional for guidance.
Most are willing to give it free.
I’m one of them.