On December 19, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Collectible Coin Protection Act, which amended the Hobby Protection Act to provide protection against fake “slabs,” or certification of coins.
One of the additional effects of this measure was to tighten terminology over sale and distribution of “imitation numismatic items.” Recent rulings have included items of different metal content and/or different size under this definition. This means that silver rounds that use obsolete coin designs, such as the Buffalo or Morgan design, now fall under this law. While silver rounds from most major suppliers have had the word “COPY” in the design for the last year, this new Act extends the requirement to previously-minted silver rounds. Sellers of silver rounds bearing the design of a current or obsolete legal tender coin must now go through their stock and stamp COPY on each round that does not already have the stamp included, following the requirements below (or melt them down to take them off the market.)
§ 304.6 Marking requirements for imitation numismatic items
- An imitation numismatic item which is manufactured in the United States, or imported into the United States for introduction into or distribution in commerce, shall be plainly and permanently marked “COPY”.
- The word “COPY” shall be marked upon the item legibly, conspicuously, and nondeceptively, and in accordance with the further requirements of these regulations.
- The word “COPY” shall appear in capital letters, in the English language.
- The word “COPY” shall be marked on either the obverse or the reverse surface of the item. It shall not be marked on the edge of the item.
- An imitation numismatic item of incusable material shall be incused with the word “COPY” in sans-serif letters having a vertical dimension of not less than two millimeters (2.0 mm) or not less than one-sixth of the diameter of the reproduction, and a minimum depth of three-tenths of one millimeter (0.3 mm) or to one-half (1/2) the thickness of the reproduction, whichever is the lesser. The minimum total horizontal dimension of the word “COPY” shall be six millimeters (6.0 mm) or not less than one-half of the diameter of the reproduction.
- An imitation numismatic item composed of nonincusable material shall be imprinted with the word “COPY” in sans-serif letters having a vertical dimension of not less than two millimeters (2.0 mm) or not less than one-sixth of the diameter of the reproduction. The minimum total horizontal dimension of the word “COPY” shall be six millimeters (6.0 mm) or not less than one-half of the diameter of the reproduction.
The text of the law can by found online at the Government Printing Office website.