Coin Investment Schemes May Result in Coin Lawsuit

“Buyer Beware,” Says Fuljenz

"Before you buy or sell rare coins or bullion coins,” warns nationally known rare coin and bullion dealer and numismatic consumer protection advocate Michael Fuljenz, “check whether the dealer has professional affiliations within the industry.”

Fuljenz, known as America's Gold Expert, is a rare coins and precious metals expert and a former authenticator, grader and educational seminar instructor for the congressionally chartered American Numismatic Association. He’s also a frequent interview guest on radio and TV news and personal finance programs, as well as a community leader in his hometown of Beaumont, Texas, and owner of Universal Coin and Bullion, which he founded in 1994.

Among the professional affiliations Fuljenz recommends is membership in the Professional Numismatists Guild. If the dealer from which you’re buying coins or bullion has received awards or recognition from peers in the coin industry, that’s a bonus, according to Fuljenz (who has himself received many such awards for his consumer protection writings and broadcasting work from, among others, the Press Club of Southeast Texas and the Numismatic Literary Guild). More important, running a check of the company’s Better Business Bureau rating helps determine whether the dealer is reputable.

"It's important to do your homework before selling or buying gold and silver coins," insists Fuljenz. He ought to know. Fuljenz’s consumer protection activities have included assisting The Examiner newspaper with an award-winning investigative series covering so-called "hotel buyers" who typically undercut the value of coins and jewelry when purchasing them from the public.

Fuljenz himself was the target of a 2007 lawsuit involving Universal Coin and Bullion’s valuation of rare gold, platinum and silver coins.  The case was dismissed. Later, Fuljenz was appointed to the State Bar of Texas Advertising Review Committee, where he continues to serve.  
Fuljenz has, over his long career, provided expert consumer education advice to both agencies and private parties. "If you’re the victim of a numismatic crime, such as theft, not receiving merchandise you've paid for or not receiving payment for items you've sold,” he says, “I suggest contacting the Numismatic Crime Information Center.”

That organization, a nonprofit founded by former Pantego, Texas, Police Chief Doug Davis, assists law enforcement officers nationwide in the investigation of crimes against collectors and dealers. Fuljenz has helped Texas Rangers and the Runnels County Texas Sheriff's Department identify and locate four suspected coin thieves and recover a portion of a large, stolen collection. He’s also assisted with updates to the Federal Trade Commission's guidelines on buying and selling gold, and provided expert input for creation of a new Texas Precious Metal Dealer Registration law.

Fuljenz says that a little extra homework before buying or selling valuable assets will go a long way toward protecting both your interests and your collection.