Those who seek to undermine the integrity of NGC certification will be pursued aggressively, as this case demonstrates.
In keeping with its unparalleled commitment to accuracy and integrity in coin grading, Numismatic Guaranty Company® (NGC®) has brought swift legal action against an individual accused of tampering with NGC-certified coins.
The case, which is ongoing, has resulted thus far in the issuance of a far-reaching restraining order and preliminary injunction order, which will remain in effect throughout the course of the litigation. The preliminary injunction order (incorporating all elements of an earlier-issued temporary restraining order) was entered by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on January 31, 2023, after the judge granted the temporary restraining order on January 18, 2023.
NGC initiated the legal action when it was made aware of an apparent scheme to sell coins misrepresented as being NGC-certified. The defendant in the case, a man named Richard Albright, is accused of removing NGC-certified coins from their holders and replacing them with coins of inferior grade and value. The lesser coins, which Mr. Albright encased in holders that misrepresented their authenticity and condition, were allegedly sold by him to unsuspecting collectors and dealers, and it appeared that he had the intention to continue with the scheme.
NGC provides a Certification Verification tool through its website that shows high-resolution images of both the front and back of coins it has graded and encapsulated. The database, which encompasses high-resolution images of more than 33 million coins, is accessible to anyone for free and is searchable by NGC certification number. This tremendous resource played a role in the case involving Mr. Albright, allowing NGC to compare the swapped coins with those it had originally encapsulated.
The preliminary injunction order prohibits Mr. Albright from conducting a wide variety of activities related to his alleged scheme, including using NGC’s trademarks to identify coins not certified by NGC or using false descriptions to make it appear that coins have been certified by NGC. The order also requires Mr. Albright to provide NGC with a written report that reveals all of the online marketplaces where he may have sold coins as part of the scheme as well as sales records related to coins that were misrepresented as NGC-certified.
The court further ordered Mr. Albright to present to NGC for safekeeping during the case any coins in his possession that are or appear to be certified by NGC and “all coins held at any point for purposes of substitution with coins” certified by NGC. He is also required, upon NGC’s request, to present all of his electronic devices, including laptops, desktops, and mobile devices, for examination.
Finally, the court has ordered that, upon request by NGC, Mr. Albright shall cooperate with any efforts to reimburse consumers to whom he sold coins whose grade or value were misrepresented. NGC’s goal is to obtain an order that will result in restitution for anyone who was defrauded in the scheme. The eBay usernames that Mr. Albright may have used to sell tampered coins include:
- ricalbr-40 (October 2020 – June 2022)
- Walkerlvr (June 2022 – November 2022)
- halfcrazy23 (November 2022 – Present)
The holders in which NGC encapsulates certified coins include a number of security features, such as a certification label with microprinting and a UV watermark, as well as an advanced-technology hologram fused directly onto the back of the holder that is virtually impossible to reproduce. Those who seek to violate these security measures or to counterfeit NGC holders will be pursued aggressively, as the case against Mr. Albright demonstrates. If the case goes to a final decision, NGC stands to recover damages up to $200,000 for each instance of tampering and misrepresentation.
Press release courtesy of the Numismatic Guaranty Company