Friday, January 06, 2006

Gold Coins, Real and Fake

How can you tell if gold coins are real or fake? You have bought a gold coin you wanted or seen one you like. How do you know it’s real?

This is very important when you are purchasing gold coins, particularly online. If you buy a coin and it turns out to be a fake there is virtually no chance of returning it and getting a refund. Especially if your ability to tell the difference is poor or minimal and this only comes to light when you try to sell it later.

Here are some important points to keep in mind when you purchase gold coins. These will assist you to reduce the chances of purchasing fake coins and help you to identify those that may be fake, especially when buying online.
  • Buy from reputable dealers. Avoid sellers you do not know or do not provide all the information you seek. Ensure they also have a proper address and contact phone numbers. A ‘hotmail’ email address is insufficient.
  • Do not buy from sellers who have a no-return policy, especially sellers claiming to sell from an ‘estate’. The ‘Caveat Emptor’ (Buyer Beware) policy applies very much in this field. Know your seller, in other words.
  • Don’t buy antique or rare coins until and unless you are a specialist. Although modern coins can be faked most of the fakes are usually antique or rare coins.
Fake gold coins sold on eBay can be a problem. One has only pictures of the coins for sale and, unless one is an expert, it is well nigh impossible to establish the authenticity of the coin being sold. There are some guiding principles here one can follow to reduce the chances of buying a fake gold coin on ebay.
  • Buy only from a power seller.
  • Check the feedback of the seller.
  • Check to ensure the seller does not change the category of the item the day before the sale ends. (This is a favorite trick to stymie coin dealers who can tell if the coin is fake. Also prevents eBay from acting upon complaints)
  • Ensure the seller is contactable and you can and should ask a question to see if they respond and what their response is.
  • Is there a return policy?
  • Any guarantee of authenticity?
  • Check the online coin discussion groups. Usually there are warnings or discussion regarding the coins for sale and which are fake and which are not.
These are very important points and it would be wise not to ignore them.

Also at Counterfeit coin detection one can find a complete guide to testing for fake coins.

Some people actually collect fake and counterfeit coins. Some counterfeit coins have a particular history or educational value. These are usually called ‘black cabinet’ or 'black museum' collections. Again, these coins are for the specialist.

Despite the above, the incidence of fake or counterfeit gold coins is not large. Provided one takes sensible precautions one can usually safely purchase one's favorite gold coins from a reputable dealer either online or from the shop in the high street.

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