The market is being flooded to fake Gold and Silver US Eagle coins from counterfeiters in China. They are starting to show up almost everywhere, including some gold and silver dealers, and of course in the top markets for selling counterfeit products, such as eBay. We did some research to find out how to detect these counterfeits and the following is what we discovered. Unless you know what to look for, the phoney coins are hard to detect.
In the past it was not considered economically feasible to counterfeit Silver Eagle coins because the price of the coin did not justify the cost to produce good fakes. Counterfeiters therefore traditionally focused on gold coins. However, the surge in precious metals prices in the marketplace as well as the current popularity for silver coins has changed those dynamics.
The new counterfeit Silver Eagles are fairly good replicas and they do weigh exactly 1 ounce, so a digital scale cannot be used to detect the fakes. The base metal is mostly copper with some nickel, so magnets cannot be used to detect fakes. The replication, however, is not perfect. The placement of the date is off slightly, and the rays on obverse side of the coin tend to be more square rather than tapered.
The following video demonstrates a ping test that is the simplest way to detect these coins. The video also points out the physical differences between the fake and real coins.
Genuine Silver Eagles will produce a clearer ping sound that resonates longer than the fakes. You may have to turn up the volume in order to clearly hear the differences, but the differences are there.
There is no sure way to guarantee that you are purchasing genuine coins other than when they are purchased through reputable dealers. Coin dealers should all be using detection devices to weed bad coins from their inventory, but simply buying from a dealer does not assure that the coins are genuine. There are scoundrels in the coin and precious metals industry just like any other type of business.
I have purchased coins through eBay and thus far have not found any fakes, but I only buy from the large coin dealers and I scour their feedbacks looking for any negative feedback information. Personally, I would never buy Silver or Gold Eagles from private parties on eBay. I have purchased several counterfeit products in the past on eBay that were sold as genuine brand names. Some of those fakes were such poor quality that it obvious that they were cheap imitations.
The cost for purchasing the fake Silver Eagles from China is estimated at less than one dollar. Even with the current decline in precious metals prices, there is still plenty of incentive for crooks to sell these bogus coins.
There are undoubtedly several fly-by-night online shops selling the replicas. Never trust the claims for A+ ratings from the Better Business Bureau and other rating services unless you check them out yourself on the rating service’s web site. Anyone anywhere in the world can set up an online store and locate it on a server in the USA and pretend to be a reputable USA business.