Counterfeit Coins (Fake Silver Coins)
Counterfeit coins or fake coins, especially counterfeit silver coins (fake silver coins), are something that the silver investor or silver coin collector must be aware of and try to avoid as far as possible. As the demand for silver coins increases, one can expect the quantity, and in some instances even the quality of counterfeit silver coins (fake silver coins) in circulation, also to increase. The reason being is because it becomes more cost-effective or viable for counterfeiters or forgers to counterfeit or forge silver coins when the demand for silver coins is high, especially when reflected in the silver price or in prices elsewhere in the silver market. It is therefore important to be able to spot counterfeit silver coins (fake silver coins), especially during such times as described above.
The focus here will not be on spotting rare silver coins that are counterfeited or forged, which in most cases are made or produced of genuine silver, but rather on the counterfeiting or forging of silver coins of ordinary value when compared to the value of rare silver coins. Now it won’t hurt to become an expert when it comes to spotting counterfeit silver coins (fake silver coins) of different types, shapes and sizes, but for most silver investors the following steps should suffice to be able to spot counterfeit silver coins (fake silver coins) in general:
Step 1 – Trust your “gut feeling”: If and when a silver coin doesn’t look or feel right, you’ve got to go with your “gut feeling” and avoid buying such coin. Do this even if you cannot pin point what exactly is wrong with it. To help you with this, it is important to learn how a genuine silver coin looks and feels like; otherwise your “gut feeling” might play tricks with you.
Step 2 – Check the weight of the silver coin: Counterfeit or fake silver coins are normally much lighter than their genuine counterparts. The reason being is because counterfeiters or forgers, especially the daft ones, love to use silvery metal alloys that weight less than genuine silver. Needless to say, the smarter ones go for heavier silvery metal alloys and sometimes even use small quantities of genuine silver such as the case is with silver-plated lead coins. Thus, if a silver coin feels too heavy for its type, then it’s most probably a counterfeit or fake as well. However, to be absolutely certain, it is always best to weigh the silver coin in question.
Step 3 – Check the surface of the silver coin: Most counterfeit silver coins (fake silver coins) are not silver plated, which give the coins a “soapy” or too soft appearance when looking at the surface of the coins in question, especially when compared to a genuine silver coin which have a distinctive sheen, lustre (luster) or shine. However, some counterfeiters or forgers, the smarter and less lazy ones, sometimes produce counterfeited or forged silver coins of a higher-quality in terms of the surface appearance, which can look pretty convincing. To help you with this, always have a genuine silver coin readily available to use as a comparison as far as inspection of the surface goes at least.
Step 4 – Check the edge of the silver coin: The edges of some silver coins are reeded, which means there are a series of grooved lines that encircle the edge or perimeter of the coin, while others are not reeded. E.g. if the edge of the silver coin in question is supposed to be reeded, but it isn’t, then it is 9 times out of 10 a telltale sign of a counterfeit, fake or forgery. In some rare cases it might be a mint error, but in most instances it is nothing of the sort. In addition, if the silver coin in question has a seam around its edge or perimeter, a bit of a bulging on the edge or file marks on it, then it could also be a counterfeit, fake or forgery. To help you with this, it might be wise to consult coin catalogues, to check whether the edge of the silver coin in question must be reeded or not, etc.
Step 5 – Use a magnifier: This is not a vital step, since the previous steps are usually sufficient to spot a counterfeit, forged or fake silver coin, especially the weight test. However, to be absolutely certain that you are indeed about to buy a genuine silver coin, you might want to consider using a magnifier to check for irregularities or abnormalities on the surface of the silver coin in question. E.g. counterfeiters or forgers in many instances fail to properly plate coins when silver plating is used. This is usually visible on the surface of a silver-plated counterfeit or fake coin under magnification in the form of tiny crevices and spots, not filled by silver plating. In addition, if silver plating is not visible where the rim meets the side or on the reeding (when applicable), the silver coin in question is most definitely also a counterfeit, fake or forgery. A further sign to check for is non-silver impurities in the field, empty space around the devices (raised images), of the silver coin in question. Non-silver impurities will appear in the form of spots or “roughness” in the field of the coin when it is a counterfeit, fake or forgery.
Step 6 – Do a silver coin ring test: It is recommended only to do a silver coin ring test if the previous steps are inconclusive to whether the silver coin in question is a fake or not. It is important to avoid doing it with a silver coin that has numismatic value (collector’s value) attached to it, especially if it is a coin that you’re still considering to buy. The reason being is because the risk of damaging a silver coin while performing a silver coin ring test is exceptionally high, since it involve tapping it with another coin or dropping it on a table or flat surface. If the silver coin in question is genuine, assuming that it’s not an ancient silver coin or a fake, it will emit a relatively long-lasting, high-pitched sound. This is unlike the short-lasting, low-pitched sound of non-silver coins, ancient silver coins and counterfeits, fakes or forgeries.