Don’t Get Taken For A Ride: Tips For Identifying Genuine And Counterfeit Collectible Coins

Growing your coin collection can be intimidating for an amateur currency lover. How can you tell which coins are genuine and which are fakes? Fortunately, you don't have to waste hundreds of dollars before you develop the ability to spot real articles. Here are a few ways you can save yourself the trouble of purchasing worthless counterfeit gold and silver coins.

Do Your Preliminary Research

Before you visit any auction or plan a meeting with a coin seller, make sure you're ready to examine each potential coin before you confirm your purchase. Most vendors will tell you exactly which coins they currently sell, so it's a good idea to bring a certified coin along if you have one. Otherwise, use the provided list to do a little research beforehand.

First, print off high-resolution photos of the types of coins you hope to buy. These will allow you to reference confirmed genuine articles before you accept any new piece into your collection. Using your magnifying glass, it's even easier to compare potentially valuable coins to your printed photos. Jewelry magnifiers can be found online at low cost, and you'll quickly recoup the value when you examine coins for purchase.

Make sure to print off information about the weight and dimensions of any coins you hope to buy as well. Some fakes may be several millimeters too thin or too wide, which makes spotting them easy when you have the right data. 

Finally. the patina of a coin is important to consider before you sign off on a purchase. Old coins should normally be discolored by the ages of traveling around in various pockets and wallets. If an old coin looks bright and shiny, it's either a fake, or it may have been cleaned in a way that lowers its value.

Keep The Right Tools On Hand

Two pieces of equipment will help you drastically lower your risk of purchasing counterfeit coins: a pair of calipers and a pocket scale. 

Armed with detailed information about the proper dimensions of the coins provided, you can use your calipers to get a highly accurate measurement of each piece as you examine it. While some minor variation in sizes may not necessarily discount a coin, it does give you notice for further scrutiny.

Scales can be used similarly to gauge the value of each coin. Ideally, you'll be able to bring along information about the weight of particular types of coins, so weighing them can help to confirm that they truly are valuable. Coins that don't match the correct weight need to be examined further. If possible, ask the owner to help you cover the cost of verifying suspicious coins.

Don't Shy Away From Expert Help

While your tools and internet information can help you spot any obvious fakes, some false coins are more sneaky and convincing to the amateur eye. Seeking professional assistance with coin identification can still help you weed out convincing counterfeits and save money in the long term. This is especially important when buying high-value coins made from precious metals or purchasing entire lots of coins simultaneously.

One clever strategy for acquiring coins for your collection at low cost is to buy bulk deals from auction sites and estate sales, then have them appraised en masse by a qualified coin or jewelry dealer. Having appraisals performed on a bulk batch ensures that each coin is examined for minimal cost, and extra coins can be resold to help you reclaim some of the money you spent. Since every coin's value will be professionally confirmed, you're more likely to get what the coins are worth individually when you resell them.

Gold and silver coins are valuable both for their precious metals and for their collectability. Don't let yourself be hoodwinked by fake coins that closely mimic the genuine article. Before you make any confirmed purchases from private sellers or coin vendors, make sure you're familiar with the details of any coins you hope to buy. When in doubt, ask an expert for their opinion on the validity of a potential buy. With any luck, you'll be able to ensure your collection stays valuable by making sure each coin is totally genuine. For additional info, contact a local coin appraiser.