Scams are very usual in the coin-collecting world. People try to convince you to buy a coin that seems authentic and lure you into a fraudulent scam. Scams can result not only in a significant loss of money on your side but also in a continuous counterfeit from these ill-intentioned people. How so? As long as it works for them, they will never cease to exist. Fortunately, several methods check whether a coin is authentic or not, and we will deal with some of them in this article.
To check a coin’s authenticity, grading services such as NGC and PCGS designate a serial number for each coin they grade. Anyone can check this serial number online. For non-graded coins, there are some homemade methods to check whether a coin is counterfeit or not.
Once you enter the world of numismatics, you will find out that there are several ways one can fall into a deceitful trap. Because of that, there are official grading agencies that certify their coins. But what happens when a coin we want to buy has not been graded by any of them? Keep on reading if you want to learn more about how to check whether a coin is authentic or not.
How do People Produce Counterfeit Coins?
Counterfeit coins are produced in different ways. Some of them being more difficult than others to detect; all methods have at least one flaw. The forgers’ main goal is to make you believe a coin is worth more money than it is. Forgers alter an existing coin or create a rare and, thus, expensive one. Some of the most common methods are:
- Struck Counterfeit coins are made in the same way as genuine ones. This consists of two coin dies and a press. The forger engraves the coin by applying pressure, creating a new one. This method takes a lot of effort and time and generally counterfeits valuable coins.
- Mould Method requires a genuine coin, called “host”. The coin creates a mould. Then, the forger fills the mould with metal in a liquid state and waits for it to settle and solidify.
- Alteration is the process where the counterfeiter takes a coin and “adds” value to it. Adding a mint mark to it is an example. This is the easiest and cheapest way of counterfeiting. Thus, it is also one of the simplest methods to unveil.
How Can You Tell If a Coin is Authentic?
Nowadays, there are different ways to check whether a coin is authentic or not. Some homemade methods date several years back in time. These can be performed by anyone having any of the necessary tools to do so. However, if it is not your case, you can ask for them at any dealer or ask for guidance online. Besides, grading agencies do this work for us beforehand and identify their coins with a serial number.
- NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation) is an international coin certification service. Their certification includes authentication, grading, and encapsulation in clear plastic holders. Every coin they grade carries an official certificate with a serial number that you can easily check online. If the coin matches the catalogue, it is authentic.
- PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service) is a third-party grading service. When founded, it aimed at grading standardization. Their graded coins also carry a serial number you can check online.
How To Check If a Non-Graded Coin is Authentic?
Now, what happens with GEM BU coins? A third-party grading service has not graded these coins. Their advantage is that you receive them in the same condition as when they left the mint. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that the coin is not a counterfeit. For these cases, there are some homemade methods you can apply.
When dealing with non-graded coins, you first need to have access to detailed specifications of the genuine version. Look online, ask an experienced acquaintance, or go to the nearest dealer shop and get as much information as you can as regards size, composition, weight, and thickness. These four factors will tell you if the coin you have in front of you is authentic or not.
- Use a calliper and measure its thickness and diameter.
- Recur to a high precision scale to weigh the coin.
- Put a strong magnet close to the coin and see how it behaves. If the composition of the coin does not contain any steel, it should not stick nor move towards the magnet.
- Check for a colour match and see if it resembles the description or photograph of the genuine coin.
Suppose the coin fails any of these tests or falls significantly different from what the original description indicates. In that case, you may be in front of a replica. Take the sample to a dealer, or ask for experienced guidance to make sure of it before you buy it. We always recommend you to buy from a reputable dealer when investing in non-graded coins. Have a background check, search online for feedback, and decide whether your dealer is worth trusting or not.
If you have any concerns about checking if a coin is authentic, feel free to contact us. We will be glad to help you with this matter or anything related to investments. Follow us on our social media to have daily updates on silver coins. Remember to subscribe to our weekly newsletter to receive tips, updates, and news! Enjoy our exclusive one-time benefit for subscribers. You can also check our article on how to generate passive income, and start making a profit out of your investments!