Everyone wants to own a piece of history. What makes that piece of history even better is when it’s worth some money. We’ve all heard the stories of the lucky few who have discovered priceless memorabilia in thrift shops or valuable coins mingled with other change in a relative’s collection. Conversely, what if you want to be the only one to own that rookie baseball card of a now Hall of Famer? How can you make sure what you find or purchase is the real deal?
The only way to know for sure is to buy from a reputable professional. But if you’re out shopping at an estate sale or antique mall, here are some tips to help you spot a fake.
How to Spot Counterfeit Coins
1. The magnet test. Using a super magnet (you can find them online or at a hobby store), place the magnet on the coin at an angle. It should slide off gold or silver, but will stick to fake metals.
2. Look at the seam. Many fakes have seams or holes around the edges from being cast quickly and cheaply. Take a look around the edges of the coin and note any inconsistencies. If you notice anything strange, it’s probably a fake.
3. Check the relief. Counterfeit coins reliefs are often made too high or too low. If you stack them up and they don’t lay in a nice, flat stack, pass on that purchase.
4. Listen to it. Drop the coin. Does it make a “pinging” sound when it hits a hard surface? Then it’s made of real silver. If it thuds, it’s a dud.
5. Trust your gut. While not the most scientifically sound advice, you’d be surprised how well this works. Is the price too good to be true? Is the seller trying to rush you or is he or she evasive about providing details? Then it’s probably an offer that’s too good to be true and you should pass.
How to Spot Fake Memorabilia
1. Do your research. Ask for the history of your memorabilia. Are there papers of authenticity? Is the price too good to be true? These questions should raise red flags for you.
2. Check your seller’s inventory. If you notice the seller has a lot of autographed copies of a certain baseball card or picture, then they are probably all counterfeit.
3. Inspect any signatures. See if you can inspect the signatures in person. Is the ink raised or are there indentations in the item to show it was written on? If not, it’s probably printed on there. Is the signature too even or does it look exactly like other autographs of the same person? Then it was probably forged by a machine or a stamp and not a human hand.
The best way to avoid being scammed is to buy from a dealer you can trust. At Common Cents Coins and Collectibles, we possess more than 50 years of combined experience in coins and collectibles. We invite you to stop in, or call and ask us questions about your merchandise. We can also conduct an appraisal for you if you want an expert set of eyes on a piece before you purchase. We invite you to stop by and visit us today! We’re located at 402 Main St., Milford, Ohio 45103, and online at Common Cents Coins Cincinnati.