Spotting Fake Gold Bullion Coins


When buying bullion coins locally, especially if the dealer is not part of a large reputable business, it will be wise to know how to check if you are being sold a counterfeit coin. It is said that treasury agents are trained not in the qualities of counterfeits, but in those of the genuine article. Anything that deviates from that standard is considered fake. So before you go looking for a bargain, whether it be at a local coin outlet, a pawnbrokers or on an auction, be sure that you have first researched the weights and measurements of the items on offer so you are fully versed in Spotting Fake Gold Bullion Coins.


Bullion coins produced by government mints have a standard diameter and thickness for each size of coin. Look up the diameter and thickness applicable to the coin or coins you are interested in and take a set of callipers with you when you view them. For example, an American Gold Eagle 1oz coin has a diameter of 32.70mm and a thickness of 2.87mm. Counterfeiters will usually make coins slightly thinner or thicker than the genuine article if they are using a heavier or lighter alloy respectively, or slightly larger in diameter. Since gold has a high density, it would take more lead to produce the same weight, say 1 troy ounce, than the amount of gold. Therefore a gold-plated lead coin would be either larger in diameter or thickness than a solid gold coin.


A digital pocket scale would be another necessary item to take along when viewing coins that might not be genuine. A 24carat gold coin should weigh the amount indicated on the face of coin, in Troy ounces. One Troy ounce is equal to 1.097 ‘standard ounces’, or 31.1 grams. Bear in mind, however, that 22carat coins (91.67% purity) contain small amounts of copper alloy and will weigh slightly more than the indicated amount. For example, a 1oz American Gold Eagle coin should weigh 1.0909 (Troy) oz, or 33.93g.

If the dimensions are right and the weight is wrong, or the other way round, it would pay to be cautious and go elsewhere!

In addition, a coin that has a seam along the rim, imperfect stamping or a mottled or grainy appearance should be avoided. Also remember that gold is not magnetic but most cheaper metals (except lead and copper) are.


The old saying that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is (too good to be true), applies to buying precious metals as much as anything else. Unless you are an expert, and can spot a real bargain, or understand fully how to spot fake gold bullion coins – a gold bullion coin that is offered at a retail outlet for less than 5% above the spot price of gold is to be viewed with caution.

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