Chapter thirty-seven. Counterfeits - How to know

Sometimes, you simply can't!

Do not dismay. This statement is also true about the currency in your wallet right now. Counterfeiters are artists. They earn (sic.) a living by making fake money. And, they are really good at what they do. Even other nations make counterfeit US money. It is simply too expensive for an individual to obtain the equipment needed to make a counterfeit; therefore much of the time they are produced by other nations who can afford that initial expense.

However, there are certain safeguards which you can take to avoid getting stuck with fakes. For that paper in your wallet, you need to simply know what a real dollar looks and feels like. Look for the security watermark for example. Look for that tiny security line embedded in it. And  the best is to compare it to a dollar which you know to be real. Don't bother using that pen with iodine in it which makes a color change to dark black if it is "supposed" to be fake. Most banks have discontinued using that now because all it does is make the iodine react with the starch contained in the cheap paper often used in a counterfeit. So, if they bleached out a one dollar bill and printed a twenty on that paper, you accomplish nothing with that pen. Take some spray starch and treat any paper money with it and that pen it will say it is a counterfeit!

Remember this, if you take a counterfeit dollar - or coin, YOU loose. The banks will not reimburse you. The government will confiscate it and leave you with nothing. If you try to pass it on to the next guy, that is a crime. Once you possess a counterfeit you are simply screwed. End of story.

For collector's coins these things are all the same as with paper "money".

Here is a short video regarding counterfeit American Eagle silver dollars By Mike Maloney:

UPDATED - 2015.

Here is a great page regarding detection of counterfeits:


Just as the cruds who counterfeit our coins keep getting better - we  must keep pace!

Here is information on counterfeits of all types from the United States Secret Service: 

Excerpt from the above cited SS page about coins:

"Genuine coins are struck (stamped out) by special machinery. Most counterfeit coins are made by pouring liquid metal into molds or dies. This procedure often leaves die marks, such as cracks or pimples of metal on the counterfeit coin.

Today counterfeit coins are made primarily to simulate rare coins which are of value to collectors. Sometimes this is done by altering genuine coins to increase their numismatic value. The most common changes are the removal, addition or alteration of the coin's date or mint marks.

If you suspect you are in possession of a counterfeit or altered coin, compare it with a genuine one of the same design and value.

If it is above five-cents in face value, it should have corrugated outer edges, referred to as "reeding." Reeding on genuine coins is even and distinct. The counterfeit coin's reeding may be uneven, crooked or missing altogether."

End of excerpt.

Steps you may take to invest in REAL coins (bullion):
  1. Buy only from reputable dealers. Once you can better tell real from fake, you may want to go with individuals, but always be careful! They themselves may not know what they are selling you. Then, once you find out it is a fake - what will you do?
  2. Buy certified coins. This is not 100% foolproof, but close. Closer than anything else you can do. This doesn't apply to bullion of course.
  3. Befriend an expert. This was my original method. My friend was even employed as a "counterfeit detection" expert at a major dealer at the time. I was safe - for the time being. If you are lucky enough to know someone who can help, let them.
  4. Study. Then when you know everything - let me know! Trust me - you will never know it all. I am an amateur and I have been involved since the early 1960s. Today there is a wealth of information online. Search around, read and look. Preserve your wealth by increasing your knowledge. You need to become knowledgeable in this field or you will suffer financially! You need to know enough to buy now - and to sell later.
Always be on the lookout for a good deal. And, always beware if that "good deal" seems too good to be true, it will bite you in the arse!

Blog about fake silver.

Real for sure - plus you know the condition.
OK, if you are at all serious about investing - buy a scale. One ounce of silver will be 31.1 grams - never more - never less.

FINAL WORDS: Be careful. Be informed. No investment is 100% safe. Silver and gold aren't. It's your investment in your future. Know what you are buying.

I do not sell anything. I am not a dealer. I am not a shill for any dealer. Make your own choices. Don't come complaining to me if you get stuck.