Don’t Get Stuck with Counterfeit Gold Coins: How to Spot a Fake

Stack of shiny gold coins

In recent years, the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) has warned collectors of an increase in counterfeit coins entering the market. According to the PNG:

“It is clear there is an increase in the types of fakes sold by unscrupulous dealers. These sales of counterfeit coins are potentially a multi-million dollar problem for the public.”

Precious metals can offer a sense of security in terms of wealth preservation. This has inspired many people to purchase gold and silver bullion in order to secure their wealth despite economic volatility. Gold and silver coins are a popular way for buyers to access the precious metals market.

Unfortunately, criminals have caught onto this trend too and are now trying to sell fake bullion coins at or above spot price.

Expert coin dealers can easily distinguish real bullion coins from fakes. But young investors should be wary of buying gold or silver coins from unfamiliar entities.

Know the Tricks of Counterfeit Gold Coin Sellers

Most counterfeit criminals get their coins from China. For example, they might buy replica gold bullion coins—such as the American Gold Eagle—from for $2, then sell it to a collector or investor for upwards of $1,300. In China it’s legal for these coins to be produced as replicas, but what happens after that is up to the buyer.

Some of these gold and silver counterfeit coins are produced using the same process as a mint. Well-made fakes can weigh the same as the originals and even pass certain acid tests because of gold plating. This makes it very difficult for inexperienced coin buyers to spot the fakes.

In some cases, criminals put counterfeit coins into protective cases with fake barcodes and registration numbers to make the coins look more authentic.

Don’t be fooled by these tactics! Call the grading company and give them the registration number to verify the coin’s authenticity.

Real Gold Bullion Coins Come from Reliable and Reputable Dealers

For new buyers, the PNG offers a bit of advice, “There’s an old saying that can help buyers avoid problems: If you don’t know coins, you better know your dealer.”

For more information about avoiding counterfeit gold coins, check out our article: 7 Ways to Avoid Buying Fake Bullion Coins.