Is your coin real? If you purchased from us then you can rest assured that your collectible coin or coin necklace is authentic. To help you determine the authenticity of silver coin purchases you make elsewhere, Charles wrote this guide.
Welcome to the first entry in Pendant and Ring’s new series called Notes From Charles.
We make it a point to offer only the best items in our stores. No copies or reproductions of any kind are listed, nor are they allowed in any of our shops.
As long-time owners of a family coin shop we prize legitimate goods, authenticity is important to us and we work hard to do our part and help fight the pervasive counterfeit industry. There are many mail-order sites that sell counterfeit coinage and some of those companies are even well-known household names.
One of the better consumer protection bureaus in the United States is the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has no jurisdiction in overseas markets and they cannot prosecute people who sell counterfeit coins without testing the products. One way that overseas counterfeiters market fake coins is to call them copies, reproductions, or replicas. These copies are almost always found to have none of the required copy stamps that are required by U.S. Federal law.
There is also added confusion in the last few years with the US Mint’s production of 2022 Morgan and Peace dollar official Anniversary coins. With these genuine American coins being in high demand, foreign counterfeiters with high-grade machine shops have swooped in to muddy the waters with clever modern fakes that look the part, and take advantage of the unsuspecting consumer.
By our estimation, there are three fake Morgan Silver Dollars for every real Morgan Silver Dollar on the market today. When purchasing these types of coinage we would like to advise consumers to beware of words like replica or reproduction. Those are not real coins.
Whenever comparing a real American silver dollar, including Morgan silver dollars to fake ones, it is important to compare weights with a scale. We also recommend using a digital caliper to find the exact size to help determine a coin’s authenticity. 10 karat acid can test both silver and gold, specifically, it is very useful for testing low karat gold items but it also works to test silver.
One other way that we determine if a coin is authentic is to look at known listed NGC and PCGS die varieties versus known fakes that find their way into the marketplace throughout the world. There are several large coin dealers in the United States that have genuine nearly Flawless types of graded uncirculated coins in their inventories. Those serve as great examples of coins and high-definition images of these authentic coins are available with a quick search.
The easiest way to spot plated silver is either with a sharp knife or with traditional silver polish. However, it can be devastating to polish or gouge a coin only to find that it really is silver. A less destructive way is to look for silver qualities.
Authentic silver transfers heat and cold quickly. For example, a sterling silver spoon quickly changes temperature in a cup of hot liquid. The same is true of any silver coin.
There is also a ring-sound-test that can be achieved by bouncing a coin in a cash register or on a table and listening to the sound. The debased cupro-nickel coinage that circulates in most countries today doesn’t have the same sound that a Silver Mercury Dime has when it hits the table.
The ironic part about the value of a silver dime is that a real American silver dime still retains its purchasing power in silver. Even today a couple of silver dimes will buy you a hamburger if you can find an educated clerk.
When talking about the market price of silver or gold, keep in mind the industry’s open secret. The actual purchase price of the metals is always higher than the listed public trading price per ounce or kilogram of any given metal.
Today, silver is used in many industrial applications. To be fair, gold has seen some increased use in computing technologies as well, but not at the same rate as silver. The industrial-use ratio of gold to silver has affected the exchange ratio. The gold to silver exchange ratio historically hovered around 7:1. Today, however, the exchange ratio artificially depresses the value of silver to promote the industrial application of the metal. That has altered the ratio to about 70:1.
It’s well known in the industry, by silver traders, coin collectors, and silverbugs that market manipulation created this comically exaggerated ratio. We also understand that one day gold and silver valuation will return to historical levels, restoring the 7 to 1 ratio.
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