Park Avenue dealer sues Queens seller of rare gold coins by JULIA MARSH |
August 4, 2013
They weren’t wooden
nickels — but a Queens man still took the world’s
largest coin dealer for $31,000 when he sold three supposedly
rare gold US coins that were actually Chinese counterfeits,
according to a new lawsuit.
Boris Koyen Aminov, 37, of Rego Park, sold
Heritage Auctioneers & Galleries on Park Avenue the
three gold coins in April.
Aminov identified himself as a coin collector
and presented supposedly rare coins to Heritage for sale,
the auction house says in court papers filed yesterday in
Manhattan Supreme Court.
“Heritage believed and relied upon
Aminov’s representations that these were rare coins
with a very high value,” Heritage says.
But shortly after Aminov cashed his $31,000
check for the three coins, “Heritage discovered that
the coins were fake and virtually worthless.”
The “collector” had offered
the purportedly extremely valuable coins to the auction
house in coin-holders bearing what looked like the logo
of the Professional Coin Grading Service.
The two most unusual coins were $5 gold
Indian heads from 1909 stamped with an “O” for
the New Orleans Mint. These pieces, when authentic, have
a selling price of around $690,000, and only an estimated
10 originals are known to be in existence.
Heritage President Greg Rohan told The Post
that Chinese counterfeiters had altered the “D”
on real 1909-D $5 coins from the Denver Mint, which are
much more pieces, to look like an “O.”
“These are really, really good counterfeits,”
The three coins actually have a value of
about $1,200 total based on their gold content.
“Our expert who got fooled in New
York is a top expert,” Rohan said. “We virtually
never buy fakes, but these fakes were that good.”
It’s unclear whether Aminov knew the
coins were fakes. Rohan claims the seller changed his story
when confronted about their authenticity, first saying the
pieces were from his grandfather, then explaining that he
inherited them from an uncle.
Aminov first told Heritage he would refund
the money, but then reneged because he had already spent
the $31,000, according to the lawsuit.