A bill has recently been introduced in the House of Representatives which seeks to extend the provisions of the Hobby Protection Act to make it unlawful to support or assist anyone who violates the act along with some other modifications.
The Hobby Protection Act was enacted in 1973 and made it illegal to manufacture or import into the United States any initiation numismatic item that was not plainly and permanently marked “COPY.” A recent influx of replica coins manufactured in China have brought the issue back to the forefront.
Earlier this year, eBay adopted a new policy which disallowed listings for replica coins on its site, even if they were marked with “COPY” in accordance with the Hobby Protection Act. This change in policy was prompted by the fact that some Chinese sellers who had listed coins shown with the required marking “COPY” were sending unmarked coins to customers.
H.R. 5977 was introduced on June 20, 2012 by Lamar Smith of Texas. If enacted, it would extend or modify provisions or the Hobby Protection Act.
As it is currently worded, the Hobby Protection Act covers the manufacture and importation of unmarked replicas for “introduction into or distribution in commerce.” The bill H.R. 5977 would extend this to also cover “sale in commerce.”
The bill would also make it a violation of the Act for a person to provide assistance or support to any manufacturer, importer, or seller if that person knows or consciously avoids knowing that the manufacturer, importer, or seller is engaged in any act or practice that violates the Act.
Finally, the bill would also extend the Act to cover the unauthorized use of registered trademarks belonging to a collectibles certification company. In these situations, the owner of the trademark shall have the remedies provided under the Hobby Protection Act as well as the Trademark Act of 1946.
Executives of Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) have implored Congress to take action to fight the import and sale of counterfeit coins. A delegation of professional numismatists has met with several members of Congress to show examples of Chinese made counterfeit coins.
Collectors Universe President and PCGS Co-Founder David Hall has cited the dramatic increase in counterfeits. “Counterfeits from the Far East are not new. What is new is the tremendous volume of counterfeits coming out of China, the counterfeiting of grading service holders, and the quality of the numismatic counterfeits is much higher than in the past.”
The bill H.R. 5977 has been referred to committee and currently only has one cosponsor, Frederick Upton of Michigan. In order to become law, it must be passed by the House of Representatives, the Senate, and signed by the President.