Whether you collect for fun or you are hoping to resell for profit, coins are a valuable and interesting item to collect. Unfortunately, purchasing collectible coins can be difficult, especially for beginners who are not sure what to look for in value an authenticity. In the United States, bills are the most common form of currency counterfeited, but there are counterfeiters who focus on creating fake collectible coins. If you are new to the world of collecting, here are a few tips to help prevent the purchase of counterfeited coins.
Research Before Buying
Before making a deal, research the exact coin online. If the coin is one of the common collectibles being counterfeited, there will be some information found online.
In many forums and groups, there are buyers, sellers, and professional collectors who have found counterfeit coins in the past. These professionals will post in these public forums, giving information on their experience and the signs/details that will signal the coin is a fake.
Ask for an Appraisal Before Buying
If you have not found any information online that signals the coin may be a fake, visit an appraisal service. Sellers should have a coin appraised before they attempt to sell because the appraisal will not only be able to tell if the coin is authentic, but will also be able to value the coin in a professional manner.
If you are interested in a coin, ask the seller if they would be willing to have it appraised and graded by a company like American Precious Metals Inc. The appraisal will authenticate and value it while the grader rates the coin using a number scale.
A low grade refers to a coin that is not in good condition while a higher grade represents a coin that is in excellent or mint condition. Obviously, the higher the grade, the higher the value. After grading, the seller may have the coin slabbed, or placed into a protective case.
Buying a coin that has not been appraised or graded is risky, but possible. Many sellers do not want to invest the time or money into this extra detail, but it is a worthwhile investment for both sellers and buyers.
Test the Metals
If the coin has been appraised and graded, you will know that it is not counterfeit. However, without this documentation and proof, you should test the metal of the coin before purchasing.
Silver coins minted in 1964 or earlier are made primarily of silver. Silver is not magnetic, so if a collectible coin sticks to a magnet, you will know that it is fake. You can also ask a seller to meet you at a local jewelry store to test metals in more detail, which can help you determine whether the coin is real or counterfeit.