With the proliferation of fake Chinese coins a problem in numismatics industry, it is a good idea to understand how to tell these fakes from the real coin. The following video from silveragecoins.com shows some of the basics that anyone can use to examine coins to determine if they are real or not:

I like the computer-generated voiceover!

If you are uncomfortable trying to detect whether a coin is counterfeit or not, you might consider the following:

  1. Buy from a reputable dealer who has return and/or buy back policies.
  2. If you buy raw coins and have questions, ask that the coin be examined by a third-party grading service (e.g., NGC or PCGS). You may be asked to pay the grading fees. Some dealers may charge a service fee for submitting coins on your behalf.
  3. If you own coins that you may have questions about, either bring it to a dealer for an opinion or submit the coin to the third-party grading service yourself. NGC and PCGS have membership services to allow you to directly submit coins for authentication and grading. Members of the American Numismatic Association can register to directly submit coins to NGC.
  4. If you are buying through an online auction and you have any question about the coin, you are better off not trying to purchase it than trying to deal with returns. While there are quite a few reputable dealers who sell on these sites, it may take more than a month for the process from purchase to refund to occur. During that time, you will not have access to this money.

Remember, caveat emptor (let the buyer beware): without a warranty, the buyer takes all of the risk.

For sellers, caveat venditor (let the seller beware): unless you expressly disclaim any responsibility, you will be held liable if the item is not true to its specification.

Now let’s go and have fun collecting!

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