Counterfeit Coins - how can I protect myself?
Every coin show I go to I get into a discussion about counterfeit coins. Collectors are always concerned about spending their hard money on a coin that later turns out to be a counterfeit. So they ask how can they defend against this? A Coin Scale is the first line of defense!
There are a number of scientific measurements that can be used by the average collector to protect themselves against acquiring a counterfeit coin. First and foremost, the weight of a coin is one of the determining factors in determining if a coin is authentic or counterfeit. A precision digital coin scale is a must for any intermediate or advanced coin collector. The coin scale is used to determine the exact weight of a coin. Additionally, a precision digital coin scale can be used to determine if the coin is an error coin. For example, if a modern U.S. clad coin is struck on a silver blank or it is struck on a planchet from another denomination.
Most digital coin scales allow you to select the unit of measure (grams, ounces, etc.). It is most important that the scale measures in grams and has accuracy to 0.01 (1/100) grams. But it also helpful to have it in troy ounces for gold, as well as pennyweight. These measurement standards are often referenced in coin books which is where you will need to go to validate the weight of the coin.
Additionally it is ideal for you to check the specific gravity and density of the coin to verify that it is the proper metal used as originally designed. This is done typically by simply using your digital coin scale as well as some other tools as shown in this picture at right.
Next time, we will talk about using a coin caliper for further validation of the coin.