Learning About Household Budgets

Tips For Identifying Counterfeit Silver Coins

If you are a coin collector and want to start adding some world coins to your American ones, then you may not be nearly as familiar with the different types that are available to you. This is not uncommon and your unfamiliarity can lead you to buy some counterfeit coins. This is one reason why it is always wise to purchase your coins from a reputable dealer. However, if you decide to pick up some coins from independent sellers, then there are some telltale counterfeit signs to look out for when investigating silver coins.

Use A Magnet

Most silver coins are made with a large percentage of silver. Most often, the coins contain 90% silver or a little bit more. Both copper and nickel are used to make up the other 10% of the metal. Copper is not magnetic and nickel is attracted only slightly to a magnet. This means that silver coins are not affected by the pull of a magnet. 

However, many counterfeits are made with non-precious metals like steel. Steel is strongly attracted to magnets, so run a magnet over the coin to see if it attracts it. If it does, then is is a fake. If the counterfeit coin only contains a small amount of steel, then the magnet may not have a strong pull on the coin. To make sure you are aware of any magnetism, purchase and use a strong neodymium magnet. 

While magnetism is a sure sign that a silver coin is fake, it does not rule out the possibility that the coin was made with lead or zinc, which are non-magnetic, so continue your investigation.

Look For Signs Of Counterfeit Aging

Antique coins as well as ones that are no longer being produced will show signs of age. This is true unless the coin is an uncirculated variety and has never been used. However, these coins will typically be encased in a slab and will have a grade and an authentication mark on the slab. If you want to know if the authentication is accurate and legitimate, then you can contact one of the four coin authentication businesses in the United States. They can look up the coin in a database based on the information on the authentication label. 

If the coin is not in a slab and has been circulated, then you should look for signs that the coin may be a fake based on the color of the coin itself. Coins that are counterfeit are typically colored in a way that makes them appear old. However, the colors are usually bright and vibrant. While rainbow toned coins are possible, they are rare. Also, coloring may look inconsistent or spotty. Talk to a dealer, like Harlan J. Berk, LTD, for more help.