Coins are one of the more popular items that collectors like to search for, always hoping for that one ancient coin that will bring them riches beyond their wildest dreams. When you put it that way, coin collecting sounds rather romantic, and for some collectors it is. But like anything that is potentially worth vast sums of money, coin collecting has a dark side, too.
In fact, just as some collectors base their lives on finding valuable coins, some counterfeiters base their lives on creating perfect fakes and selling them. Spotting counterfeit coins is challenging and even experts are fooled once in a while, but here are some tips that may help you on your search.
Some Common Signs
Even though a coin may seem genuine, look old and get you excited, look a little closer. Many experts end up concluding that a coin isn’t real just because it doesn’t “look right”, meaning it doesn’t look exactly how it is supposed to look. This includes:
- A seam around the edge of the coin where the sides of the coin mold were joined. Sometimes the seam is polished away, but that too may be visible under a microscope.
- Pits or bumps in the coin’s surface caused by air bubbles during the casting of the coin.
- Coins that are lighter or heavier than they should be, based on the weight of coins from that specific time.
- Surface cracks that have sharper-looking edges under the microscope. A genuine ancient coin may have cracks, but they will appear smoother.
- Coins that have been made with the wrong metal or material.
How to Protect Yourself
While there may not be 100 percent protection for coin collectors, you can make all your purchases from a reputable coin dealer or auction house. The good ones will offer certificates of authenticity and the ability to return the coin if it is ever deemed a forgery.
Make sure you look for lifetimes guarantees, and be wary of buying coins online. Obviously, it’s a lot more challenging to verify anything when it takes place in a virtual world.
Take the time to seek out expert advice whenever possible. Ask any coin collector friends about legitimate and reputable dealers, or look online for dealers and then go visit them in person or speak to them on the phone. Coin collecting can definitely be a fascinating and rewarding activity, just make sure you cover all your bases and do it properly, or you may end up spending a whole lot of money for something that’s worth nothing.