Ways to Tell if a Coin is Real or Fake

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Because coins are often quite valuable, they are often targeted by less-than-savory crooks trying to make an easy buck. Unfortunately, to the untrained eye, some of these fakes can be quite convincing. Knowing what to look out for will help you to avoid spending your money on a worthless object. Of course, the best way to avoid counterfeits and scams is to simply buy from reputable dealers, but being able to tell the difference is a valuable skill either way.

The most effective way to avoid fakes is simply through experience. If you handle and view enough legitimate silver or gold coins, you will just know when one doesn’t seem quite up to par. Being able to tell the difference is a sort of sixth-sense that cannot be learned – it just comes with time. For instance, if you were to bring a fake to a seasoned numismatist, they may take one glance and then let you know right off the bat that it’s not legitimate.

If a counterfeit coin is able to pass the visual test, you may need to start using tools to determine whether or not it is real. Weighing the coin is often an excellent way to tell if it is actually legitimate. You can look up the real weight of various coins online, or if you have access to the same kind, you can compare easily that way. If a coin is too light or too heavy, that means that it is probably either plated, or made from a less valuable alloy.

Another important factor to consider is the coin’s edge. If it is supposed to be reeded, make sure that the grooves are evenly distributed. If it is not, make sure that it is smooth and even all around. If the edging looks crude or as if it has been manipulated with tools, avoid it.
coin authentication

For convincing coins that may be able to pass some of the previous tests, you may need to go a bit more in-depth. Examining the surface of the coin with a magnifying glass can provide insight as to whether the coin is made of one consistent alloy, or coated. If you see inconsistencies or rough spots where the alloy did not fill completely, you probably have a fake on your hands.

Seasoned coin collectors can also tell a real coin from a fake one by the sound that it makes when dropped or tapped with a piece of metal. This test should not be performed on rare coins, as even a tiny scratch can substantially reduce its value, if it ends up being real.

Always rely on your instincts. If you can’t prove why, but you don’t feel right about a coin, it is in your best interest to avoid it. As a rule of thumb, if you are not 100% sure of your decision, it is probably best to wait until you are.

The best out of all of the ways to tell if a coin is real or fake is to know the source. If you are buying from a well-respected company like Monex.com, you will never have to worry about performing these tests. With 40 years of solid experience, Monex is well-known as the most trusted source of bullion coins.