Counterfeit, or “fake”, coins are pesky inevitables in the world of coin collecting but there are a number of tips suggested by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS).


  1. Look for the seam

Counterfeit coins typically have casting seams, which can be very apparent to the naked eye. Fake coins often times will contain hole markings. Additionally, many coins have intricate designs or textures that are associated with that particular coin and its series. If anything seems inconsistent, it’s best to inquire elsewhere.

  1. Pay close attention to markings

Many times, fake coins do not contain all the same mintmarks consistent with a certified authentic coin. In a situation such as this, be sure to do as much research as possible about the common marks and designs that are consistent with the piece you are considering buying. Upon inspection of the gold or silver coin you are about to purchase, if certain marks do not add up, ask if the seller has the paperwork to back up their claim of said coin being real.

  1. Find the relief

Counterfeiters have a hard time getting the relief of a coin just right. Typically they are too high or much too low. A prospective buyer can test the authenticity of a coin by stacking it up with coins from the same series. If the stack topples over, you have a reason to become more cautious with the transaction.

  1. Opposites attract

Magnets are not attracted to elements such as gold and silver. Therefore, if a magnet is cozying up to the newest addition in your coin collection, its more than likely a fraud.

  1. I’m melting!!

Silver is a conductor of heat and as such, will continue to emit enough thermal energy to immediately begin melting an ice cube without assistance. If you place an ice cube on your new “authentic” silver coin and it does not immediately begin the melting process, odds are you have a fake on your hands.



The NGC and PCGS also recommend purchasing from reputable sellers and buying coins that have already been authenticated through their organizations.


If you like this article, then you might enjoy other articles in our archives, such as 5 Must Have Books For All Coin Collectors


Liberty Coin & Currency specializes in rare coins and currency. We are a family-owned business located in Portland and Vancouver. We are also gold, silver, diamond, currency and jewelry buyers. Visit us first for a free evaluation.


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