Identifying counterfeit coins: an introduction for rare coin collectors


By Michael McConnell

According to

CBS News

, inexperienced

rare coin collectors

who mistake counterfeit coins for the real deal stand to loose a pretty penny. A recent report notes that over one million counterfeit coins have been made overseas and sold to unsuspecting collectors throughout the U.S. – some as “replicas,” others as authentic originals. The price difference between authentic coins and cheap copies can be astronomical: for example, an original 1916-D dime can fetch a price of about $700, while a replica is worth only a few dollars if that. If you are a novice coin collector, consider the following tips for identifying counterfeit coins.

As noted in past columns, research and education are key components for success as a rare coin collector. While experienced coin dealers are reliable sources of information about rare coins, those with integrity and a truly honest approach will encourage their customers to learn for themselves as well. Enrich your collecting experience by reading up on the series you wish to collect, and getting a good sense of coin values before buying or selling coins.

When it comes time to make a purchase,

Numismatist Guide

urges collectors to remember the following tips:
  • Compare the sale coin with an authentic coin. Fake coins will usually exhibit slight differences in color, texture, thickness or weight when compared side-by-side to originals.
  • Zero in on design details. Get to know the piece you are looking to purchase as intimately as possible. Remember unique die characteristics of an authentic coin when considering the piece in question.
  • If you have any question at all on the piece you wish to purchase, consider buying a certified coin that has already been authenticated by a third party.
Most coin collectors will never encounter counterfeit pieces. However, it is important to be prepared. That said, the more you learn about the coins in a series, the less likely you will be to fall victim to unscrupulous sellers. Learn more from an expert

San Diego coin dealer

by visiting us at the

Coin Shop

in La Jolla or getting in touch online today: