5 Ways to Spot Counterfeit Coins
Coin collecting is a popular hobby across all age groups. Novice collectors will usually start with coins that are regularly available like the series of US state quarters. More advanced collectors, on the other hand, usually prefer to get at least a few rare coins.
Unlike with common coins, there is a fair amount of incentive to forge expensive or rare specimens. A rare coin can go for thousands of dollars, so counterfeiting one out of something cheap means a lot of pure profit for the forger. For this reason, buyers of rare coins need to be very careful about what they buy and who they buy it from.
According to Numistmatist Guide and Rare Coinz, there are a few ways to lower your risk of ending up with a forged coin. Here are a few of their tips:
Buy From a Reputable Dealer
Buy your coins from a reputable dealer that is willing to guarantee their authenticity. This gives you legal recourse if the coin turns out to be a forgery. Precious metals dealers like US Money Reserve sell government-produced coins and certify the legitimacy of all products.
Compare Questionable Coins to Legitimate Ones
If you’re lucky enough to have a known legitimate version, you can do a side-by-side comparison of it and the coin you’re thinking of purchasing. A fake will usually have a different color or texture than the real one. It may also be the wrong thickness. Of course, this works best if both are in mint condition. Circulation often changes the color or texture of coins, and heavy circulation can even wear down their thickness.
Let the Marks Tell the Story
You should also look at the marks on the coin. Real ones often have marks that are hard to counterfeit. If you have enough experience, you can try listening to the coin. Professionals can hear the difference between legitimate and fake coins when the coins are dropped onto a hard surface. Beginners may find this one a bit challenging, but it’s a good idea to develop this skill as you gain more experience.
Feel the Weight
Coins sold for their bullion value are often forged by making them out of lighter, less-valuable metals. Weighing and measuring these coins will spot fakes. If the coin is the right size, it will have to be lighter because its metal doesn’t weigh as much as real gold or platinum. The only way to make a fake weigh out correctly is to make it bigger, so measure its size to see if it matches the dimensions of a legitimate coin. Don’t buy unless both size and weight are correct.
These are just a few of the ways to spot counterfeit coins. Since some of them require a decent amount of skill, it’s a very good idea for non-professionals to start with a dealer like US Money Reserve. This way, the chance of encountering fraud is greatly lowered from the start.
US Money Reserve and others who deal with coins from the US Mint and other government sources will also have graded coins. These are graded by a professional service and then sealed to preserve their condition. This sealing also presents another barrier to a forger. The counterfeiter would not only have to counterfeit the coin itself to produce a fake; he would have to forge the sealed container as well. The more steps a forger has to take to pull off his fraud, the less likely he is to bother.
By following these tips and dealing only with reputable sources, your chance of being swindled are greatly reduced. Of course, you should still take precautions when buying any coin. Your diligence is the best line of defense against fraud.