Counterfeit coins are a big headache for the coin collectors and investors. With thousands of counterfeit coins entering the market at an astonishing rate, it is a serious threat to the economy. Identifying fakes is a daunting task especially if you’re new to this business.
New technology and better resources are making the situation worse as the fakes are getting harder to authenticate through appearance alone. Whether you’re a veteran bullion dealer or a newbie, spotting a counterfeit gold or silver coin has become difficult.
This serious issue draws our attention towards the importance of spotting fake coins, especially silver ones circulating in the economy. Here are 5 tests that you can apply to identify counterfeit silver coins.
1) Size & Weight Test
Silver is a dense metal and holds weight. That’s why the silver coins are heavier than the ones made of any base metal. As a result, counterfeit coins increase their thickness or diameter to match the weight of authentic silver coins. Size and weight tests are a great way of identifying the fake coins as you can simply compare the diameter and thickness of the coins to find out the results. Use calipers or jeweler’s scale for calculating the accurate dimensions.
2) Magnet Test
The magnet test involves identifying fake coins made of magnetic metals (iron and steel) with the help of a strong magnet such as neodymium magnet (grade N52). If the coin is made of silver, it will not stick to the magnet. But, if it does, then it’s likely that it’s fake. However, this test is not helpful if the counterfeits are made of non-magnetic metals such as lead, copper and zinc.
3) Magnetic Slide Test
Another test with a magnet is the Magnetic Slide Test. Silver has diamagnetic properties that make it repel when exposed to a magnetic field. In this test, a slide is constructed out of magnets and silver coins are made to slide through it. Due to silver’s diamagnetism, it slides downs slowly whereas the counterfeit coins fall down the slide without any resistance.
4) Ice Test
This is the easiest test of them all as ice is readily available from your freezer for this test. The concept behind this test is the thermal conductivity of silver. This metal has the highest thermal conductivity (406 Watts per square metre) making it the best conductor of heat among all the metals. To perform this test, place ice cubes directly on the silver coin or bar (to be tested) and keep watching. If the ice starts melting immediately, as if placed on a hot pan, then the coin or bar is authentic.
If you think that the silver coins or bars you are holding are fake, then apply these tests on them to clarify your doubts. They are easy to perform at home and provide reliable results. Next time you buy a silver coin or jewelry, don’t forget to cross-check its authenticity from your end.