Fake silver

So I was given some fake ASE about 6 weeks ago to see how they compared to the real thing as ASE are the bulk of what I tend to buy, I normally stick to current year from well-known companies but I do occasionally like to buy from their circulated/random year inventory.

There are various ways to test suspect silver. A common way is with an acid testing kit if you are not worried about preserving numismatic value, you can use a strong magnet (however this only rules out magnetic fakes, every fake I’ve personally encountered is non-magnetic) or you can buy a more expensive testing device like the Precious Metal Verifier made by Sigma Metalytics.

PLEASE be vigilant when buying precious metals if you are buying from individuals or sources you haven't fully checked out. Your best bet is to stick to trusted merchants and mints, BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL buying from individuals on eBay/Craigslist or even from local coin dealers/pawnshops/antique stores.

Obvious issues I immediately see... fonts, lines on the shields, the fact the obverse and reverse both have the same 'north', the tilde is wrong, detail in face/dress/hair/eagle wings/eagle neck, he size of the bullet points.

All of the following are counterfeit, from this point on there are no more authentic coins.

I happen to have some liver of sulfur at home from 'antiquing' a sterling silver ring a few years ago to try and match the patina in the knotwork of an identical ring I had been wearing for a decade so lets see what it does to three counterfeit coins.

The following image is after five minutes of exposure to the liver of sulfur:


UPDATE 04/25/2015

h60, a user on /r/silverbugs has posted some images of a fake bar that they found in their collection, I asked if I could add them to this post and they said sure.

Here they do an acid test

In the next image it's had acid poured on it, and has been cut in half.

In the last image some of the 'silver' plating has been ground off to give a better look at the true composition

UPDATE 08/20/2015

/u/silverstack91, a user on /r/silverbugs has posted some images of a fake Chinese silver panda round that they received from an eBay auction.

As you can see, a quick test with acid clearly revealed it to be fake and if you look at it closely there are several red flags in the design compared against images of known authentic 2008 rounds.


/u/idratherbgardening a user on /r/silverbugs has posted some images of a fake Chinese silver panda round that they received at a coin show.





Normally when I see someone cut into fake silver it's brass, this thing remains a silver colour:

UPDATE January 24th, 2017

Here's a fake stagecoach bar from /u/PlanoSteve21

fake stagecoach bar

Here we have a fake and a real gold bar from the Perth Mint. The bar on the left with the packaging crease and serial A050325 is the fake gold, the uncreased with serial A011421 is the authentic gold. This image comes from user /u/agoracomm

fake perth gold bar

Here is a fake 1987 panda from /u/Cho_Zen    

fake 1987 silver panda

Here we have a fake 2016 Kookaburra that /u/ImmortalNaga  received. IN Naga's words:

The auction was for “(5) 2016 Australia 1 Oz.x5 Silver Kookaburra (Uncirculated) in Mint Capsule”. I opened the box and right away noticed the capsules were not the ones from the mint. The coins are all slightly underweight, and failed right away on the sigma verifier. :( I’ve already opened a claim with ebay.
— https://www.reddit.com/r/Silverbugs/comments/4s2ls5/got_my_first_fake_2016_kookaburras_in_the_mail/d55zt5t/
fake silver 2016 kookaburra 1
fake silver 2016 kookaburra 2

Here we have a fake 1968 25 Pesos from /u/JimmyRnj, as you can see in the 2nd photo it is magnetic

fake silver 1968 25 pesos
fake silver 1968 25 pesos fails magnet test

Here /u/Ryans_Rust shared a real and a fake RCM bar, the bar on the right is the fake. In his words:

Thanks to our friends over at CU for the pics. Here’s what one member said about the insides- “The center of the bar looks like a red ceramic with fine black metallic and gold powder (probably tungsten & gold)... When you clink the metal together it literally sounds like a ceramic “
— https://www.reddit.com/r/Silverbugs/comments/4dr66n/pop_quiz_guess_the_fake_rcm_bar/d1tiwvp/
Fake silver RCM bar

UPDATE June 3rd, 2017

Here we have a fake Kookaburra that /u/UncleZangief came across. In his words:

The left is the fake one. It’s weight is right on the nose but the diameter and thickness are off a bit (although they’re a lot closer than I would’ve thought). The dead giveaway is the back of the coin where is says “2000” instead of “1 dollar”. Other than that, the coin just looks and feels off. Especially the lettering and the texture on the back around the queen’s face. Despite having perfect weight and nearly perfect dimensions I’d say it’s pretty lousy as far as counterfeits go. I paid like $3 for it on aliexpress because I was curious. Kooks are pretty much the only coin I buy from individual sellers on ebay (currently working on my 2nd set) so I wanted to know what I should be on the lookout for.
— https://www.reddit.com/r/Silverbugs/comments/6eyvv4/2000_kook_counterfeit_vs_real/die6pvn/

UPDATE June 5th, 2017

/u/ambermetals created a thread alleging that /u/Ryans_Rust (who reported fakes above) sold him hand poured bars that turned out to not be .999 silver as indicated. I'm posting the photos here to preserve them as well as the initial post, the entire thread can be found at https://www.reddit.com/r/Silverbugs/comments/6febph/fraudulent_bars_from_ryans_rust_mint/

Last year I purchased a unique bar with the Ryan’s Rust Mint mark on it. Having studied it first, it was a “prototype” bar that was created and on display on the Ryan’s Rust Mint website, which is now defunct.

Face of bar: http://imgur.com/QwQ7fJm Back of bar: http://imgur.com/9bEIw3z

Upon receipt, it was immediately suspicious due to its non interaction with a neodymium magnet (it barely held when slid down at any angle).

So I took the bar to Rutgers University and had a XRF workup performed on the surfaces of the bar. The results came back as the following:

Ag = 88% Zn = 4% Cu = 8%

XRF spectrum: http://imgur.com/KCQemBY

This of course was not surprising at this point, but far from the 999 stamp included on the bar. My guess is that a 1oz non-silver coin was included in the melt, whether by ignorance or intent (to pad profit margins, for instance).

I contacted the maker, who is also a member of this community, and he responded quickly. However, no reasonable explanation was given (blaming Apmex was the main one...) and when asked if he could exchange this bar so it could be returned and destroyed, giving him the benefit of the doubt, he flatly refused.

I am making no judgement on the maker, I however am providing this information to the community that this bar (shown in attached images) is fraudulent and that if you have a Ryan’s Rust Mint bar, you should also have it checked or read this post before purchasing or selling one.



Thanks to everyone for the feedback. I have drilled the bar and it is consistent throughout. There is no yellow core. It is likely 88% silver throughout. Thank you for the advice!

—-End UPDATE—-
— https://www.reddit.com/r/Silverbugs/comments/6febph/fraudulent_bars_from_ryans_rust_mint/

Here is the X-ray fluorescence test. The bar is Ag = 88% Zn = 4% Cu = 8%, clearly not .999 silver.

UPDATE 10/23/2017

We have an update to the Ryan's Rust silver, it can be found in this reddit thread https://www.reddit.com/r/Silverbugs/comments/784tjc/ryans_rust_bar_experiment_purity_test/ 

As well as this thread

UPDATE 10/24/2017

Reddit user /u/jajorda2 shared some fake specimens from their collection, the original thread can be found here. jajorda2 had to say about these specimens:

Fake Chinese panda 2017, Fake 1929 St. Gaudens, Fake 1888 CC Morgan, Fake Trade Dollar (reverse is NOT a trade dollar reverse), Fake 2015 Gold Maple.
These are all surprisingly well done although the trade dollar is magnetic and has the wrong reverse image. None of the rest are incorrect per se, however the St. Gaudens is a key date..
realistic fake coins 1.jpg
realistic fake coins 2.jpg
realistic fake coins 3.jpg
realistic fake coins 4.jpg
realistic fake coins 5.jpg
realistic fake coins 6.jpg
realistic fake coins 7.jpg
realistic fake coins 8.jpg
realistic fake coins 9.jpg
realistic fake coins 10.jpg

UPDATE 10/30/2018

/u/whineknot had a suspect one ounce bar, after cutting it in half they determined it was absolutely fake.

A few measurements confirm it (via calibrated instruments):

Genuine Weight (g):31.26

Counterfeit Weight (g):31.73

My Bar Weight: (g):31.67

Genuine Width (mm):29.57

Counterfeit Width (mm):28.09

My Bar Width (mm): 28.23

Genuine Thickness (mm):2.34

Counterfeit Thickness (mm):2.91

My Bar Thickness (mm):2.95

Purchased in July of 2014 on Ebay, I bought 15 of them for $327 (spot was around $21). What a deal ! Not...
— https://www.reddit.com/r/Silverbugs/comments/9sct0y/update_so_i_cut_my_pan_american_1_oz_bar_in_half/

UPDATE 03/12/2019

Here’s a really cool specimen that Reddit user /u/55_grain received, the original thread can be found here. It’s a fake standing liberty quarter that appears to be made out of pot metal (probably some zinc alloy), the texture is pretty indicative of casting and it definitely has the pot metal appearance. The specimen weighs in at 4.17 grams, as the user indicates approximately 70% the weight of a natural one which lines up with some sort of zinc alloy. In the first photo we see the weight at 64.4 grains (4.17305 grams).

counterfeit zinc standing liberty quarter.jpg

In the following 2 images the specimen, if not obvious, is in the bottom middle position.

counterfeit standing liberty quarter bottom middle.jpg
fake standing liberty quarter bottom middle-2.jpg

The above specimen might actually be a considerably older counterfeit and not a recent production, possibly a Depression-era counterfeit. A (probable) example of a Depression-era counterfeit can be found documented in a Numismatic Guaranty Corporation article https://www.ngccoin.com/news/article/1674/ documenting a counterfeit 1924-S Standing Liberty Quarter that also has a very distinct, although more warn, pot metal appearance.

UPDATE 04/2/2019

More fake silver bars have been brought to light by /u/Thatsgemmy, you can find the original thread HERE. What initially makes me suspect about these is the mirror-like finish as it is a bit over the top for a generic bar, especially with the frosted/textured lettering.

Counterfeit Northwestern Territorial Mint silver bars.

Counterfeit Northwestern Territorial Mint silver bars.

UPDATE 06/27/2019

Hahaha /u/genetixJ got this fake from eBay, find the original thread here.

Finally happened- purchased fake silver on eBay. Weighs half the expected weight

Here we find an absolutely hideous fake 1882 2 Pesetas, I mean… I’ve heard of cauliflower ear but wow, that nose, immediately Bloodhound Gang lyrics come to mind “I got a schnoz like the Cos' but there's a lot more wrong with you, so back me up Bill - yea and you're ugly too -”

Pay attention to the lettering, as someone pointed out in the original post it looks glued on, or to me it almost looks like dies or even the heads of type bars on a typewriter. The font is also wrong. A really big giveaway here is how tall they are given how much the face appears to have experienced wear.

Also, pretty much all of the proportions are off for the entire bust.

Fake 2 Pesetas ‘beard bust’ from 1882

Fake 2 Pesetas ‘beard bust’ from 1882

Now let’s look at a real specimen, it does not look like a freakshow.

Real 1882 2 Pesetas beard bust

UPDATE 07/03/2019

/u/spockdad got this fake from eBay, find the original thread here.

The fake is on the right in each photo.

On the obverse, *ahem*, the stars below her hand is of IMMEDIATE concern... where are they? On the reverse is an immediate dead giveaway to me - most of the surfaces look stippled, the shield especially. There are also some detail issues like her hand, the ankle/heel of the sandal, etc.


UPDATE 09/08/2019

/u/realgalahad received a potentially fake gold panda from eBay, the original thread can be found here.

Potentially fake specimen

Potentially fake specimen

Potentially fake specimen

Potentially fake specimen

Potentially fake specimen

Potentially fake specimen

Potentially fake specimen

Potentially fake specimen

Potentially fake specimen

Potentially fake specimen

Potentially fake specimen

Potentially fake specimen

As you can see on their Sigma Metalytics tester, this definitely falls outside of the range of pure gold however devices like the Sigma aren’t 100% accurate. Here’s a known real example and for starters the ‘9’ seems different between the two as does the length of the sorta horizontal bar on the character to the left, the obverse also has some potential variation - like the 1/2. Something about the panda itself feels a bit off too, I can best describe it as “it looks derpier”.

Known real specimen

Known real specimen

Known real specimen

Known real specimen