These days, there seems to be a rush of Baby Boomers collecting gold and silver coins, stamps, sports cards and other memorabilia. The market is so lucrative that criminals have moved in, churning out fake collector coins and baseball cards that are almost indistinguishable from the real thing. Profitably trading genuine collectibles is about as tricky as profitably panning for gold, but the advent of the counterfeits has made it even more difficult. Collectors Universe Inc. (CLCT/NASDAQ) provides the equivalent of picks and shovels to collectors. The company, based in Santa Ana, Calif., assesses the authenticity and condition of coins, sports cards and autographs. Customers register (US$50 to US$399 for coin collectors, US$109 to US$189 for sports card enthusiasts) then ship their items to the company’s experts, who examine the piece, determine whether or not it is authentic, assign a grade to its condition, and either encapsulate it in a tamper-proof plastic holder or, in the case of items that don’t fit in a plastic holder, issue a letter of authenticity. Fake items are returned without a grade. Read More.