This year has seen high interest in American Silver Eagle coins. These coins are available in one-ounce size and are 99.9% pure silver as guaranteed by the United States government. The 2009 version of this coin sold over 30,000,000 coins. This number has surpassed other years’ mintage numbers of this series, even setting a new record high in sales. In the year 1996, only 3,603,386 coins were sold. Talk about a jump in sales! With popularity, however, also come new threats. Before you buy American Silver Eagle coins, you need to be on the lookout for fakes and frauds.
With large numbers of fake coins coming out of countries like China, it is a good idea to learn how to spot forged coins. Knowledge is power when it comes to all aspects of coin collecting. Avoid becoming a coin fraud victim by using common sense tests. The first step, and the most basic one, is learning to trust your gut instinct. Does the coin look right to you? If you take the time to really get to know what silver looks and feels like, you can quickly spot a coin that doesn’t “look right.” Put trust into your instincts. If something seems too good to be true, or if something just feels “off” about a particular American Silver Eagle, then it may be best to skip it.
Another step to avoiding fraud is to simply check the coins weight. Many fake silver coins are created by the use of lightweight metal alloys. Sometimes lead that has been silver-plated is used, which results in a very heavy coin. If the scale says anything other than the certified weight of the coin (31.101 grams) then it might be best to just keep moving. Train your eye to spot silver’s distinctive slick shine. Many fake coin makers don’t even take the time to add silver plating to a coin.
Look carefully for any splits or bumps in a coin’s surface, as well as any coins that have a concave appearance. Also, be on the lookout for any bumps on the edge of an American Silver Eagle coin, as this might very well be a sign of a coin made by way of a casting sprue. An incorrect date is another obvious error. If you see a Silver Eagle coin with a 1910 date on it, you can instantly know it is a fake. Silver Eagle coins were not minted until 1986.
The best tip to avoiding fakes is to buy from a reputable dealer. A shady dealer on eBay with no feedback is a surefire red flag. Another less obvious deal to pass on is anyone claiming to be selling coins from an estate, with a no-return policy strictly enforced. A reputable coin dealer, with a happy clientele, is your safest choice when buying new coins.
Learning the basics of the American Silver Eagle coin, as well as heeding the simple steps above, might very well help you avoid the heartache of counterfeit coins.