My writing interests are general, with expertise in science, history, biographies, and “how-to” topics. It wasn't clear until I sat down with the coin and went through some of the steps I talk about in the article that I realized I had just wasted my money. An electronic scale capable of measuring up to 50 grams with 0.01-gram accuracy can be purchased online for less than $25.00. 2015. A lot of times counterfeiters get the obverse and reverse types mismatched, below we show how to catch those easily. Any of these techniques leads to an incredibly deceptive counterfeit coin. Sharon Lopez from Philippines on October 21, 2019: I am not venturing into coin collection any time soon but the information in this article is something worth considering. The counterfeiter will take two common coins, split them in half, and glue or solder the two halves together. 1914 Indian $2.50. “Counterfeit Coin Detection – The Top 10 Most Common Counterfeit US Coins” https://coinweek.com/education/coin-grading/ngc/couinterfeit-coin-detection-counterfeit-detection-the-top-10-most-common-counterfeit-us-coins/, “The Fundamentals Of Counterfeit Detection - Part 1” https://www.pcgs.com/news/the-fundamentals-of-counterfeit-detection--part-1, “Counterfeit Detection” https://www.ngccoin.com/resources/counterfeit-detection/. Greetings, Doug. By the way, the link to this coin (I bought on ebay) is ebay.com/itm/392384792566 I could not get a decent photos of it.It also weighs 26.9 grams, not the 26.2 grams as listed. Next, look at the coin's color to make sure it matches the metal composition of a genuine coin. By adding a “D” mint mark to the reverse of a 1916 dime minted at Philadelphia, which has no mint mark, the value of the coin goes from a few dollars to a few hundred or more. Several scientific methods may give you a clue if a coin is counterfeit or not. The House of Collectables. Counterfeit coins have always been a problem and the more you know about coins the better off you are as a collector. Using the 10x magnifying glass to carefully examine the coin’s surfaces and edge to look for irregularities can be very helpful in your quest to detect a counterfeit. Doug West (author) from Missouri on May 20, 2019: Glad the article helps. Cast copies are normally identified by a seam that runs around the outside edge or circumference of the coin. Another Buffalo nickel minted in 1929 at the San Francisco mint can also be purchased for under $100. There are different metal alloys that counterfeiters use that appear to be silver. For all bills except $1 and $2 dollar bills, … 1997. This process will yield a coin that will give the illusion of a rare and more expensive coin. In response to your email to me, my 1770 8 reales Mexico city mint has genuine looking diagnostics, but has several tiny, near microscopic scratches in the E of VTRAQUE and I am wondering if they were put there to hide deceptive diagnostics. Do not buy bargain coins offered at flea markets and online. Therefore, although two coins may be the same denomination and date, coins produced from different handmade coin dies will have differences. The art and deception of counterfeiting coins have been around since ancient artisans first minted coins in 600BC. Also, professionally graded coins are in inert and sealed holders that are excellent for long term storage and are much easier to sell. These coins generally are manufactured not for the purpose of deception, but rather to create a copy of a rare or beautiful coin as a souvenir or promotional giveaway. Another example of where adding a mint mark greatly increases the value of a coin is the 1916 Mercury dime. Be careful with this test to not drop the coin being tested when you strike it with the silver coin. If any of these characteristics are evident in the coin, don't buy it! Travers, Scott A. Question: My sister sent a presumed valuable Chinese coin to a China appraisal company. In modern times, counterfeiters make counterfeit coins to deceive coin collectors with classic coins that are no longer minted. As a result, your genuine coin with lots of wear will weigh less than the specified value by a few tenths of a gram, sometimes more if the wear is excessive. In this article, I present some basic ways to evaluate your coins to determine if they are genuine or counterfeit. When that die wore out or broke, the artist would create another one. Therefore, only the more valuable coins are counterfeited using the struck counterfeit method. 2) Check the selling price at which the trade coins … Also, the edge detail of this coin is not well detailed, and looks repaired just below the date. More experienced counterfeiters will use a centrifuge to make sure that the molten metal flows to the farthest recesses of the mold. The seam is a result of metal that flows at the point where the two molds, obverse and reverse, come together. If a dealer is a member of a professional organization like the American Numismatic Association (ANA) or the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG), that helps build their credibility. Areas you should study include the shape of the letters, the position of numbers, details on portraits, and the overall look and feel of a genuine coin. Counterfeiting and Deception of coins, well some will call this the “second oldest profession” in the world. In China, it is completely legal to make "replica" coins from another country, and they are always achieving new and better counterfeiting techniques. Maybe one day you will be a coin collector? Half the coins in this picture are real and half are counterfeit—can you tell the difference? The counterfeiter can create the coin dies by engraving them by hand, using the spark erosion method, using a one-to-one transfer engraving lathe, using the plating method, or the impact technique. A Vernier Caliper is a simple device used to measure the diameter of coins to +/- 0.1 mm. I realize now that I see it written out. The same advice applies when you purchase coins from a dealer on the internet. Cast Counterfeits An inexpensive way to produce counterfeit coins is to create a mold of the genuine coin and use it to cast a counterfeit coin. The United States mint only made one coin that contains steel: the 1943 Lincoln cent. Studying genuine coins alongside known counterfeit coins is the best teacher on your road to becoming an expert counterfeit coin detector. Split coins are another example of a counterfeit coin that has been radically altered. Chinese counterfeit coins and bars have been passed off as legitimate for more than a decade. A “Ring Test” is a simple test that can be performed to determine if a coin is silver. It has been there since 600 B.C when the first coin was struck in Lydia. Answer: Without knowing the details of your situation I have a couple of comments: 1. The most popular method was mixing base metals. Gold is a very dense metal, so it will be heavier than it looks. The lathe was the first step in automating the production of coin dies to ensure design consistencies for the entire year of production. Tooling marks appear just under the nose of Liberty on the obverse. In addition to the areas of rust and weak strike issues, there are other imperfections evident. A basic skill set of how to detect counterfeit coins will hopefully save you money by avoiding the purchase of counterfeit coins. The United States Mint purchased its first reducing lathe in 1833. Fivaz, Bill. Finally, becoming an expert in detecting counterfeit coins is a lifelong process that takes many years to hone your skills and constant research on current counterfeiting techniques. If the coin is silver it will “ring” for several seconds with a sweet, high-pitched sound. Magnetic Slide Test. If deemed not genuine, the coin is not encapsulated. Regardless of the casting method used, a low-quality counterfeit always results. Inspect for evidence of alterations that may include the addition or removal of a mintmark that would make the coin more valuable. Doug West (author) from Missouri on January 05, 2020: Sorry to hear about your lose. Additionally, ordinary coins may be altered to look like more expensive coins. Doug West (author) from Missouri on May 18, 2019: If you would like more information about counterfeit coin detection, check the books and links in the References section of the article. Once the molds are ready, the molten metal is poured into the mold. You can always sent the coin into ANACS to have it authenticated. The potential counterfeit coin is balanced on the tip of a finger then struck lightly with a known silver coin on the edge. If the weight of your coin is more than the specified amount, then you probably have a fake. shaunc011ett - April 2, 2020. Tooling marks extend from the rim into the “T” in “STATES” on the reverse. Chinese coins should always be considered as suspect as many counterfeit Chinese coins exist. The mint specified diameter is 30.6mm. For example, a Buffalo nickel minted in 1926 at the Philadelphia mint can be purchased for under $100. Observing the Gold Weigh the gold. Studying genuine coins alongside known counterfeit coins is the best teacher on your road to becoming an expert counterfeit coin detector. Since most collectors don’t have a safe full of genuine rare coins for comparison, the next best thing is to look at pictures of genuine coins and their specific die characteristics. It is not illegal in China to manufacture fake coins. The coin cost her $4k some years ago as a set. By using The Spruce Crafts, you accept our, Improving Your Counterfeit Detection Skills, Inside a Chinese Coin Counterfeiting Ring, What Are Doubled Die Coins and How to Identify Them, Lincoln Wheat Penny Key Dates, Rarities and Varieties. A Guide Book of United States Coins 2020. Base metals, such as copper, nickel, zinc, and iron, are normally used as a substitute for the precious metal, such as gold, silver, or platinum, that would we used in genuine rare coins. How Do I Tell If a Two Headed Coin Is Genuine? A base metal coin will sound like a “thud” or a “clunk” when struck with the other coin. Months after the ‘appraisers’ told her it was offered $100,000 by a potential buyer. For example, on eBay, check to see if the dealer has a lot of positive feedback or if they are a novice. Please note that just because a coin may pass the tests on this page does not mean it is genuine. If you are spending several hundreds or thousands of dollars for a coin, it is recommended that you purchase the coin from a very reputable coin dealer with a return policy or purchase a coin that has been professionally graded and encapsulated by services such as PCGS, ANACS, NGC, ICG, or NCS. Altered and Doctored CoinsThe cheapest and quickest way to make money by deceiving a coin collector is to take an ordinary coin and modify it to look like an expensive and rare coin. I started collecting coins when I was in grade 8. DO … However, more recently counterfeit 1 pound coins from Great Britain have been discovered. Plastic versions of this measuring device cost less than $10.00. 1988. Silver and gold are soft metals and tend to wear more rapidly than a copper or nickel alloy coin. As you can see, the second coin has the same defects as the first. Lonesome John. China is the source of many of the current fake coins. Listed in the blogs are the most popular counterfeited coins. The wear on the coin has reduced the weight to 11.9 grams. The methods presented below are not foolproof but can help identify the more obvious counterfeit coins. Counterfeiters have taken genuine 1943 steel pennies and plated them with copper. However, the United States Mint accidentally made a few 1943 Lincoln pennies out of copper. Since silver, gold, and copper coins are not attracted to a magnet, this can be a simple test to tell if the coin has some iron content. These should include size, diameter, thickness, metal composition, weight, and specific gravity. Real vs Fake. If you think a coin may be counterfeit, seek a second opinion before you buy it. When spending your hard-earned money on rare coins, the old saying caveat emptor applies, or “Let the buyer beware.” Just be a little cautious; do your homework on the rare coin you are interested in and the dealer selling the coin. 1985. Luckily, this doesn't happen often. Without seeing the coin I cannot say if it is valuable, however, my guess would be that it is not valuable. However, some inconsistencies still existed with this manual process. Doug West (author) from Missouri on May 27, 2019: In the U.S. it is illegal to counterfeit money, however, in China it is only illegal to counterfeit Chinese money. To avoid getting duped by an unscrupulous coin dealer or collector into unknowingly purchasing a counterfeit coin, there are a few basic techniques and tools that can help. Well that was a stupid question. I have had the same thing happen to me too. For example, the very first coins made at the United States Mint were made from coin dies that were individually hand-engraved by an artist. This can easily increase the value of the coin by ten fold. One other type of alteration is changing the date of the coin. Finally, becoming an expert in detecting counterfeit coins is a lifelong process that takes many years to hone your skills and constant research on current counterfeiting techniques. I recommend practicing with known genuine coins before you evaluate potential counterfeit coins. 2005. Inspect the edge of the coin for evidence of a seam that would indicate the coin is a cast counterfeit or an altered coin made by joining two halves of genuine coin together. Contact your local police department OR call your local U.S. Secret Service Office. Counterfeit 1913 Great Britain Sovereign No. I have a penny what numbers on the shoulder but you can barely see them is that worth something. The measured value is 30.5mm—close enough. One way to turn a genuine common coin into a valuable rarity is by altering the coin in a specific way. Counterfeit Coin Diagnostics Several scientific methods may give you a clue if a coin is counterfeit or not. If the surfaces of the devices are course and lacking in detail, this may be another indication of a counterfeit coin. Cast counterfeit coins are the most easily detective counterfeit coins of all. Thank you for the information. By checking these four, retail bullion coin buyers can detect all common metal counterfeits. Creating the mold is fairly simple and straightforward. The 1914 Gold Quarter Eagle has the second lowest mintage in the Indian Head … Finally, look carefully at the coin with a high-powered magnifying glass or stereo microscope. Using a strong Alnico magnet to see if a coin sticks to the magnet. Use a scale that is accurate to within 0.01 grams to measure the weight of the coin. I will try to get photos. PCGS reviews the common diagnostics found on counterfeit silver and nickel coin in this short video. (editor). You asked me for photos. A counterfeit note cannot be exchanged for a genuine one, and it is illegal to knowingly pass counterfeit currency. A skilled counterfeiter can split the two coins in half and use the obverse of the 1926 nickel with the reverse of the 1929 nickel from San Francisco and create a 1926-S Buffalo nickel that is worth close to $10,000. Therefore, if a 1943 copper colored Lincoln penny sticks to a magnet, it is an altered coin that is now counterfeit. Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on May 19, 2019: Fine service to those of us interested, and good trivia for those who didn't think they would be interested until they read the article. Doug West (author) from Missouri on November 08, 2019: War Nickels should not be magnetic. Use … The higher the silver content, the longer the ring will last. Doug West (author) from Missouri on May 28, 2020: Scratches probably won't be much of a diagnostic tool unless you can compare it to known genuine coins. Counterfeit Detection: A Reprint from The Numismatist, American Numismatic Association. A special machine does the stamping of coins to make them genuine. If you're going to be spending a substantial amount of money on a coin, it is a good idea to protect yourself by adhering to these four principles: Counterfeit coins can be grouped into three different categories: struck counterfeits, cast counterfeits, and altered coins. Whitman Publishing. If you live in the United States and you think you've received a counterfeit note, immediately notify the local police. Be cautious with the magnet when you place it near a coin or object that has iron in it; the object will literally leap at the powerful Alnico magnet, and you don’t want to be in the way. Dishonest people are always developing new methods of counterfeiting coins. 1943 Copper Penny - Is Yours Genuine or Fake? Originally, people counterfeited coins with the intention of deceiving merchants and citizens with the fake currently circulating coins. Coins that have soft, mushy letters and devices are an indication the coin might be counterfeit. The methods presented in the guide will help you identify most of the more obvious counterfeit coins. For example, a counterfeiter will start with a common 1944-D Lincoln cent, worth a few cents, and alter the first “4” in the date to make it look like a “1.” This turns a 1944-D into a rare 1914-D cent worth a hundred dollars or more. The first is to have access to detailed specifications of a genuine coin. How NGC Determines Authenticity NGC uses X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, an extensive research catalog and other tools to determine a coin’s authenticity. January 6, 2020 KMFranck 0 Comments articles, Coins, Counterfeit Coins, Fake Coins, How to Spot Fakes, News. Studying genuine coins alongside known counterfeit coins is the best teacher on your road to becoming an expert counterfeit coin detector. The number of fakes on the market is dwarfed by the number of genuine coins. Detecting Counterfeit Coins Book 1, Heigh Ho Printing Company. NGC offers numerous educational resources to help collectors and dealers avoid counterfeit or altered coins. But what has changed is counterfeiters are getting better and their products are harder to detect. Ferrous materials, such as iron and steel, will attach to a magnet and are not part of nearly any United States coins. The coin shown is a genuine and has a mint specified weight of 12.5 grams. 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