Counterfeit gold and silver products are on the rise. While incidents of gold bars filled with tungsten have been widely reported, the public may not realize that fake gold and silver coins are just as big of an issue. The problem is so profound, in fact, that GoldSilver.com, a company comprised of a team of specialists in education and services for precious metals investing, issued a special video report titled How to Avoid Fake Silver & Counterfeit Gold Products.
In this video, Mike Maloney — a renowned advisor, author, and precious metals and numismatics industry expert — explains that high quality fake silver coins and small fake silver bars are being produced in high volumes in China. In particular, not only are fake silver eagle coins are being struck and distributed, but legal tender currencies from many countries are being counterfeited. These coins are usually a base metal (like tungsten, lead, copper, and nickel) plated with gold or silver.
According to Maloney and his partner James Anderson, high quality fake silver coins and bars are a serious threat to local coin shops, online bullion dealers, and physical bullion investors. Many high quality silver fakes have exact weighting and dimensions, and to the untrained eye (or to the dealer without counterfeit proofing technologies) can easily be passed off as genuine bullion products.
In the video, Anderson demonstrates a ping test where he knocks two silver eagle coins together as a test for authenticity. The pinging sound that results from the strike can be telling. Real silver eagle coins have a higher pitch and a more sustained sound compared to counterfeit ones.
In addition, if you look closely at the coin or the bullion and compare a fake piece to a real one, you might be able to pick up subtle differences, like a different font or shadowing on the image. But Anderson warns to not be fooled into thinking that if you recognize a logo or images on the piece it must be real. Counterfeiters are getting better and better at replicating real ones – including weight, appearance, and strike cleanliness. Even the plastic holders in which the coins are sealed are being counterfeited.
To be absolutely certain of the composition of a gold or silver coin, the folks at GoldSilver.com assay and verify precious metals products utilizing multiple noninvasive, proprietary counterfeit-proofing methods including X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers. XRF analyzers provide a fast, accurate, nondestructive method to test the purity and chemistry of all precious metals. (GoldSilver.com demonstrates the use of XRF analyzers at several points in the special report video, at the 3:18, 7:25 and 10:50 and 15:30 time marks.)
Watch How to Avoid Fake Silver & Counterfeit Gold Products to learn how to tell if a coin is authentic, and how to deal with this increasing threat.