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Fake Silver Coins: 14 Ways to Spot Counterfeits

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It is unfortunate that articles like this have to be written, Spot Fake Silver
but where there is money trading hands, there will always be fakes, frauds, and counterfeits.

If you have purchased some silver and can’t get rid of that little voice in your head that keeps saying what if they are fake silver coins …

Below are 14 ways on how to spot fake silver eagles, bars, and bullion. We’ve ranked them from the least to the most effective methods in detecting counterfeits. (Most of these tests can also be applied to gold as well).

1. Magnetic Test

While many fakes can easily pass this test, silver as well as gold bullion for that matter are both non-magnetic. If a bullion coin or bar sticks to a magnet you can easily throw this one out. Fakes that are produced with any iron or steel content in them will give off some magnetic attraction and identify itself as a fake. Metals that have a core of zinc, copper, lead or other non-magnetic metal will not be detected by this test.

The stronger the magnet the better, a neodymium magnet (grade N52) should be able to detect any iron or steel based metal. Be careful these magnets are extremely strong, fun to play with too! If it sticks it tricks. You can pick them up on amazon.

Neodymium Silver Test


2. Magnetic Slide Test

Continuing on with magnets, another test you can to spot counterfeit silver is using a magnetic slide. Simple and easy to build, this is a fun way to instantly spot fakes without any complicated testing.

How it works: even though silver is non-magnetic it has a property known as diamagnetism. This causes silver to repel when in contact with a magnetic field. So real silver moving down a magnetic slide will move slower than fake silver. A fake will move down the slide with no resistance. Check out the video below, it’s actually pretty cool:

Mini SlideWant one of these? Click here to grab yours!


3. The Ice Test

Cheap and easy to do, getting some ice from the freezer is a simple way to test both silver coins and bars for authenticity. All you need to do is place the ice on the silver and watch.

The ice should begin to melt immediately, this is because silver is the best conductor of heat for all the metals. Below is a chart on thermal conductivity amongst popular metals. You will see that silver tops them all even including copper which is the most popular metal to use. This makes it extremely useful in electronics and as an industrial metal, check out 101 uses of silver, and you will see how useful this metal really is!
Metal Conductivity Chart
Check out how fast silver will melt ice compared to a regular pan:


 


4. Dimensions Test

This type of test only applies to bullion coins from government mints. Since the most popular is the American Silver Eagle, we will take a look at that particular coin. You can view the specs of the Silver Eagle below:
American Silver Eagle Specs

The best way to take advantage of this is by using a good digital electronic scale. You will want to get a scale that measures at least to 2 decimal points in grams. Here is the one that I use, you can buy it on Amazon for about $11. American Weigh Scale
Silver Eagles have a minted weight of 1 Troy oz. ~ 31.103 grams. Another easy give away is the diameter of the coin, this should be pretty exact at ~40.6mm. To check this you will want a good set of calipers. A nice digital entry-level set is this one. If you want to get the top of the line calipers go with the brand Mitutoyo.

When weighing your coins, be sure to account for a certain tolerance or variance in the weight. There is no official guideline given, but anything from 31.1g – 31.8g should be OK. If you are getting readings of 30g or 32g+ that is reason for concern.

Another tool to test for the dimensions of the American Silver Eagle is The Fisch. It can correctly verify the weight, thickness, diameter, and shape of 4 different coins. It also can check for the Canadian Maple Leaf, the Austrian Vienna Philharmonic, and the US Silver Dollar (1840-1935). At $169 though, overpriced in my opinion, as a basic digital scale and good set of calipers will do the same. My magnetic slide at $45 is a much better deal 🙂
Silver Fisch Test


5. Visual Test

Silver has a distinctive look and feel to the coin not too shiny and not too cloudy. Grab an old magnifier, the one’s that jeweler’s use, and take a good look at the coin. It’s always best to have an authentic coin or bar next to the one you are examining. Mismatched surfaces, text spacing, crevices, or edges will stand out if it is a fake.

Your tool of choice for this test is a handy magnifying glass or a jeweler’s loupe. A loupe if a special magnifying glass without the handle with higher magnification due to its special lens. These are essential to the world of coin collecting & numismatics, making it easier to grade the quality as well as identify counterfeit coins such as fake silver dollars.

You can pick one up pretty cheap on Amazon for about $5. Just be sure to get one at least 10x the magnification. Looking at enough real silver eagles, will give you a trained eye to easily spot the fakes.
Loupe A dead giveaway is the edges of the coin or reeding. If there are no grooves or reeds, there is a 99.9% chance it is a fake since minted coins non-reeded (errors) are extremely rare. Examine where the coin meets the rim and between the reeds, sometimes silver-plated coins will not fill these in and with a proper magnifying glass they will be detected.

Below we have a real vs. fake American silver eagle. By using the visual test, you can identify several red flags to weed out the counterfeit eagles. Having the same minted year will help with minor differences that may occur between each strike. You can see font differences alone on both the obverse and reverse should be enough to spot the fake. (Ignore the glossy and mirror finishes).
Real vs. Fake Silver Eagle
Here we have the reverse, again font differences stand out especially the tail on the “U”. The missing ‘veins’ on the feathers and leaves are another big giveaway on this fake.

For silver eagles, pay special attention to the fonts: letters, numbers, upper/lowercase. Note: the US mint changed the font in 2008 so 1987-2007 coins and 2008 – present have a different font. Also the ‘veins’ on the feathers and leaves on the back side.

This is by no means exhaustive and depending on the producer, different fakes will leave different red flags. You can only assume as time goes by, these counterfeit rings will get better and better, so be diligent.

Real vs. Fake SIlver Eagle





6. Bleach Test

Another cheap and simple way to test for real silver vs. fake is to use some household bleach. Silver will tarnish very fast when exposed to any sort of oxidizing chemical like bleach. All you will need is just 1 drop, place it on the silver and if it begins to turn black then you can check it is silver. If your coin has numismatic value of any sort, this test may reduce its premium and you may want to perform another test. (Silver-plated items will also pass this test)
Bleach


7. Ping Test

The great thing about silver is that it has a certain high-pitched ring to it when struck with another metal, many people refer to this as the ping test and it works fairly well. To do this, simply place one silver coin on your fingertip and take another between your thumb and forefinger and gently tap your coin. It should produce a nice high-pitched bell ring.

The neat thing about this test is that silver rings at a certain frequency of about 6145 Hz. Watch the video below to hear the difference between a real vs. fake American silver eagle.

Caveat: While the ping test is a great method to check for fake silver bars or coins, it is not foolproof. You will always want to combine this with the magnetic slide and dimensions test.

8. Buy From Reputable Dealers

If you are buying silver coins or bars on ebay or craigslist, there is a higher probability that you will encounter a fake. A little common sense will go a long ways! While there may be deals to snatch up there, it may be best to go with a licensed & reputable dealer even if the premium is slightly higher. If you are looking to buy junk silver from ebay, you can get their melt values using our US Coin Value Calculator.

Here are some silver scam identifiers on ebay, watch out for these fraud keywords:

Silver-Plated – Like it says, this is any base-metal with a silver plating on the outside to fool the naked eye.

100 mills – This word is deceptive, it is stating the measurement of the thickness of the silver plate. They can even state 99.9% silver since the plate is pure silver. Just another fancy word for silver or gold-plated.

Silver Clad – Just read the definition of clad: to bond a metal to (another metal), especially to provide with a protective coat. Yes, again silver-plated.

Replica or Copy – If this word is in the title or description you can be sure that it is not pure silver.

Nickel Silver – While this has a silver appearance, it has a composition of 60% copper, 20% nickel, and 20% zinc. You can read more about it here.

German Silver – Another term for nickel silver, see above.

Ebay Fake Silver

We recommend the following 3 online bullion dealers, just remember to do your own due diligence:


BGASC LogoSilverTowne Apmex

Be sure to read our gold and silver dealer user reviews, and please leave feedback if you have bought from any of these dealers!


9. The Specific Gravity Test

These next 4 tests are highly accurate in determining real vs. fake. The specific gravity test of silver is basically a ratio of densities and due to its chemical & composition makeup should equal ~ 10.49, given by the formula below:
Specific Gravity of Silver
This test will weed out those silver-plated or clad coins if they have a composition of some other base metal. You cannot change the density of metal and pure silver will always give a reading close to 10.49. To calculate this perform the steps below:

  1. Obtain dry weight of the silver coin or bar with an accurate scale to .01g
  2. Use a cup of water enough to fully submerge the silver into and measure its weight or reset the scale with it on.
  3. Tie some string around the coin and setup an apparatus to hold the coin
  4. Submerge the silver into the water and record the submerged weight minus the weight of the water & cup.
  5. Divide the dry weight by the submerged weight to obtain the specific gravity of silver

Be warned: Sophisticated counterfeiters also have ways of combining certain metals together to get a similar specific gravity readout. Using this test together with the ring test & visual test should be able to detect these types of fakes.

Homemade specific gravity testing of silver below:

Specific Gravity of Silver


10. The Acid Test

Another test with high accuracy, this test uses acid solution usually of nitric acid and muriatic acid. You will have to purchase this from a dealer or on amazon. Just search for silver acid testing kit or puritest. You will also want to get a testing stone to use with the solution. Silver Acid Test
While this test can immediately verify pure silver, it will damage the coin. So it is best to use this is you bought a lot of coins or bars and want to test 1-2 for purity.

These are dangerous chemicals and should not be done by children. Always wear goggles and gloves when performing the test. Do not use on numismatics, this will lower the value of the coin.

If you suspect the outside is silver-plated, you may need to file through an edge to get to the center metal in order to test. Once the acid is placed, pure silver will stay a certain color, while fake silver will turn a different color depending on the metal used to counterfeit. This test is also really useful for testing sterling silver if you’re not sure that platter you bought at the goodwill is 925 🙂

Acid Test for Silver


11. XRF Analyzers

If you’re serious about silver or maybe ultra paranoid, you may consider investing in a portable or handheld XRF Analyzer. XRF is short for X-ray fluorescence, and is used not only in detecting precious metals but all sorts of metal alloys, mining samples, environmental assessments etc …

Niton XL@ - XRF Analyzer
These handheld device are just like scanners, point and shoot, and the device will give an accurate readout of the metal composition. If you’re interested in getting one of these cool little toys, 2 companies that make them are Niton and Bruker. Be warned these are extremely pricey can run over $10,000 and are usually carried only by gold/silver bullion or jeweler shops.

12. Ultrasonic Thickness Test

If XRF analyzers are out of your price range, but you still want a scientific tool to determine real vs. counterfeit silver, an ultrasonic thickness gauge may be for you.

What this test does is measure how long it takes for sound to travel through a metal object, in our case silver. If your bar is pure silver, it will give an accurate reading, if it is a mix of metals, the reading will be off. For different metals, you will get different readouts of thickness. This is also a great way to test for fake gold coins and bars.

The speed of sound for silver is 3650 meters/second at room temperature.
You can check the speed of sound of other metals here. Gold is 3240 m/s.

Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge
Here’s how this works:

  1. Set the device to a velocity of 3,650
  2. Measure the silver bar with a proper caliper
  3. Place a dab of glycerin on the bar where you will measure the thickness
  4. Measure the thickness with the sensor
  5. Readout thickness should match the actual thickness of the bar (in mm)

This works really well for large silver bars or ingots. If the bar is plated in silver/gold it will give an inaccurate thickness tipping you off that the silver is counterfeited with some other metal. From here you could perform a few other tests to confirm your suspicion.

If you are a regular buyer of silver bars this maybe the tester for you as you can buy an entry-level gauge for several hundred dollars unlike the expensive XRF analyzers. Here is one for less than $200 on Amazon. Perhaps a wise investment.

The video below shows a demonstration of how to properly perform this test:



13. Sigma Metalytics Precious Metals Verifier

A step up from an ultrasonic gauge but still less expensive than an XRF analyzer is the Sigma Metalytics Precious Metals Verifier. This ingenious product sends electromagnetic waves though the metal & confirms it with stored patterns.
sigma-metalytics

This is ideal for any coin shop, bullion dealer, or avid coin collector. Besides silver, also a fullproof way to spot fake gold coins & bars. Check out what it can do in the video below, really is a piece of work!

  • Can verify any metal including gold & silver
  • Determines metal from bulk not the coating or plating
  • Very fast reading times, only seconds
  • No dangerous or wet chemicals
  • Can read through packaging, good especially for numismatic coins
  • Comes with 3 wands to read 1/10 oz. up to 100 oz. bars

I’ve worked out a special deal with the company if you use promo code Pyrite87, you can get $40 off any product on their site. Check them out Sigma Metalytics.


14. Fire Assay

If you are still testing for purity here, you probably shouldn’t be in the industry buying silver 🙂 With that said, probably the most sure-fire way on how to test for silver purity and avoid fake silver bullion is through fire assay. With one caveat, this is also the most destructive test as well.

Unfortunately for this test you will need a melting furnace, special cupels, pinchers, etc … The degree of accuracy is uncanny, as when testing bullion products you can have accurate parts of 1 in 10,000! If you fancy to learn more about this procedure you can read about it here.

Fire Assay Silver

If you have other ways to test for silver, please let us know or leave us a comment and we will be sure to include them!


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37 comments

  1. Jerry B. says:

    Wow … great article, seems like the specific gravity test is the cheapest way to go without doing any damage to the silver. Does anyone know if there can be false positives?

    • Cole says:

      The density (specific gravity) of the bulk material (whole object) is the weighted average of all the materials that compose the object. Therefore, as the article pointed out, by alloying (combining) metals with densities above and below silver in the correct ratio, the resulting density of the alloy (bulk object) can be made to exactly match that of silver. If such an alloy were made and then plated in pure silver, it would pass all surface tests and the density test. That said, the speed of sound in any material is a function of the material (and condition – thickness, temperature, boundary conditions etc.). Unless the forger really knew his business and went to extreme efforts, he would not be able to get sound to behave in the alloy as it would behave in pure solid silver. The speed of sound and, for those who want to go the extra mile, presence and properties of various acoustic wave modes would change. Anyone capable of creating an alloy with the same density of silver as well as the same acoustic properties could make far more money at far less risk doing legal work.

      My Ph.D. dissertation is on flaw detection using guided ultrasound. So I feel confident that even a basic setup (basic price, not necessarily basic understanding) could identify pure silver vs an alloy every time.

  2. Adam says:

    I never get tired of doing the Ping test, it’s like music to my ears! BTW, can anyone recommend a solid set of calipers to test your silver?

    • Cole says:

      Mitutoyo makes a range of excellent precision measurement tools including calipers. Other brands are cheaper, and potentially just as good, but if you want to be sure you are buying quality rather than gamble, go with mitutoyo.

  3. Pete says:

    Great article, and a definite MUST READ for anyone new to precious metals.

    There are also a lot of counterfeit bullion products on Amazon. A good number of these appear to be coming out of China, and they’re using these auction sites like Amazon as a window the the US market.

    Although you may see well known brands like Engelhard, APMEX, JM, NORTHWEST TERRITORIAL MINT, SILVERTOWNE that are near exact replicas, don’t be fooled.

    Legit dealers will not sell these items as they appear on Amazon – with a poorly done listing. Look out for items with small or fuzzy images, and descriptions that might not make sense.

    Sad to say, but it is kind of like buyer beware these days when you buy bullion at places like eBay and Amazon. In some ways it is like a flea market, sifting through all of the listings.

    It is probably safest to buy from an established trusted dealer rather than these difficult to police secondary auction markets.

    • Dave says:

      Yes, if you educate yourself and buy from reputable dealers you can usually steer clear of counterfeits .

      The more you handle silver coins/bars etc… the easier it is to spot the fakes.

  4. Geno R. says:

    Recently purchased 2014 Silver Eagle on the web and 1986 Silver Eagle from local dealer whom I’ve used since I started collecting about a year ago or two. The font’s are different as you show in your example “Fake vs Real Silver Eagles”. The “O’s” are round on the 2014 and more of an Oval shape on the 1986. And the “U” is missing the tail on the 1986 just as you show. I looked at the web-site which I purchased the 2014 and their 1986 S.E. has a tail as well. The ones I purchased do not! Is it possible that both the coins I have are real? Spoke with the dealer and he stands by his coin’s. Should I return them? I honestly don’t believe this gentleman would rip me off! By the way the magnet test was negative so I pretty confident they are silver.

    Thanks for the info.

    • Dave says:

      Hello,

      When comparing coins you will always want to compare the same years, in my example both coins are from 2013. Different years may vary with things such as the font, I was just trying to give an idea. Missing ‘veins’ maybe a more telling sign.

      Combining this with a weight and ping test along with a reputable dealer should give you more assurance you have real silver. You should be in the clear, I wouldn’t worry…

      (I just looked at my proof 1986 silver eagle and the U has no tail)

  5. Geno R. says:

    Thanks for a very informative article.

    A must read for beginners!

    Thanks again.

  6. Brian D says:

    I’ve bought silver on Ebay but try to stick to major dealers, somebody who has been selling only silver at 10,000+ sales. I don’t put much faith in feedback, a lot of people are fooled. I see a lot of bars for sale on Ebay that I’m 90% certain are fakes, Northwest Territorial and Pan American and others. First clue is is that nobody buys a hard plastic case just to sell a generic bar in,. When they come from the mint they are usually vacuum sealed in sheets 5 or 6 wide then cut apart when reselling individual bars. Hard case=fake. Second clue are fakes seem to have sharper corners-a smaller radius. Just compare pictures of different auctions and you can pick them out.
    Last year I bought a barber half dollar that I recently tested using whats called a sliding magnet test and it failed. Oh well.
    The sliding magnet test is simply using a small rare earth magnet(others don’t work), hold the coin/bar at a 45degree angle and let the magnet slide down the coin. If it slides fast its fake, slow well its either silver or plated copper. I know silver isn’t magnetic but its paramagnetic and resist a moving magnet. There are videos on utube demonstrating this. With practice and the right magnet you will be able to tell silver from copper also.

  7. Roman says:

    Very good information for all newbies!

  8. Eli says:

    Great read. Can you suggest a digital caliper? I would like one to measure also my rounds/coins for capsules

  9. Cole says:

    Every material has a set of physical and chemical properties associated with it. Any material identification will be based on one or more of these properties. This article covered the easiest to make use of. However, every property adds confidence to the identity of the material especially if someone is trying to duplicate any one property. Duplicating multiple properties is non-linearly more difficult than duplicating just one. Some material properties not covered in the above article include, but are not limited to: electrical properties (there are many, don’t limit yourself to resistance), hardness, tensile strength, compression set, thermal expansion rate… the list is massive. For those that really want to be sure without paying for a gas chromatograph and/or mass spectrometer, measure several properties at a given temperature (and pressure) then measure the same properties at multiple temperatures – ideally a large temperature range. The more properties tested the more confidence you can have in the identity of the material; the more conditions under which the properties are tested (i.e. temperature) additional confidence may be achieved.

    Keep in mind that to reproduce just the density and acoustic properties would be very difficult. Reproducing them at multiple temperatures would be even more difficult. At this point, the forger would need to be operating on a massive scale to be profitable, they would need a lot of skill and equipment and in the case of coins they would have the attention of the secret service (for US coins) as soon as one was identified. For silver bars not issued by any government, they would have the FBI and/or any relevant international agencies to worry about. So again, anyone that could produce such a perfect forgery would never be a forger to begin with; they would make a generous salary working in a wide range of legal capacities. The largest precious metal fraud I know of was the incident were tungsten bars were plated in gold and introduced to national gold stockpiles. The tests outlined on this page would have identified those fake bars, its (temporary) success depended on getting the fake bars into the trusted stockpile and thus avoid having to pass all but the most cursory tests. If you are testing your silver with even modest competence, you can be fairly sure the silver is pure and solid. For coin collectors this is all but useless since it only applies to identifying the material the object is made of, not who made the object or when.

  10. Cole says:

    Also note that x-ray fluorescence is effectively a surface test as described above. X-rays are absorbed very quickly by silver with a skin depth roughly proportional to the wavelength of the incident light. In the case of x-rays the depth of material being tested is on the order of nanometers. A good plating will fool the x-rays. Therefore in order to test the interior you would need to damage the object. A full explanation is beyond the scope of this site and involves the electromagnetic properties of silver, the wavelength of light (x-rays) and the intensity of the light. Look up extinction coefficient of light, skin depth, and complex index of refraction and you’ll get pointed in the right direction to understand more fully.

  11. Oro Perugia says:

    I have a shop that also buys gold and silver. The methods we use are the numbers:
    1. 4. 5. 7. 9. 10.
    The number 13 unfortunately when the fund is too late.

    In any case, using the above methods can to have a safety almost 100%.
    For Magnetic Slide Test, use the test in reverse. By sliding the magnet above the bar or trays of silver.

    Excellent article.

  12. jacques says:

    On Silver Maple Leaf: official dimensions are: diameter 37.97 mm; thickness 3.29 mm; this gives a volume of 3.72535 cm3; with an official weight of 31.103 g (tr.oz), we obtain a densiy of 8.35 g / cm3 far from 10.5 g/cm3 of silver. I am confused: is there something wrong in my way of thinking or calculation?

    • Dave says:

      For specific gravity of silver you need to weigh the coin underwater, and divide the total dry weight by this amount?

      • jacques says:

        Hello Dave,
        Thank you for your answer.
        I agree with you, but right I do not have the means to perform the underwater test. That is the reason why I wanted to make that too quick calculation. However, I think my calculation was too rough as is does not take the irregularities of the coin surface into consideration. Assuming a constant radius (official and easier to measure than the thickness) of 37,97 mm, (for a weight of 31,103g we have a volume of fine silver of 2,96 cm3) we obtain an average thickness of approximately 2,6 mm (versus 3,2 mm official, also average). I have difficulties to measure it because of the irregularities on the head and on the leaf. But I think it might be the explanation. I shall perform the underwater test later on.

    • Wyle says:

      Thickness is measured at the rim. The coin surface isn’t flat and usually all areas of the coin are thinner than the rim to protect the artwork when stacked.
      Your volume and density calculations are for a solid slug.

    • Dave Vincent says:

      Your calculation probably assumes that the coin is a simple cylinder – so volume = pi r^2 x thickness – but the thickness is not uniform – and it is not clear what thickness we should use.

      Even so I am surprised that the difference is so large – 8.35 vs 10.5 is a difference of 2.15 g/cu cm – 25% of the 8.35 value; 20% of the 10.5 value.

  13. JJ says:

    hello. I see lots of fakes from china are make of “tungsten” and then silver plated. If tungsten is not magnetic (which its not) , does it react the same to a magnet as silver does?

    Thanks, JJ

  14. Jack says:

    Interesting article and correct as far as weeding out fakes as silver and other metals or substances have specific properties which can perhaps be counterfeited, but only to a point, because it becomes more complex and expensive to produce such counterfeits vs the worth of the actual article. Interesting that tungsten is being used to produce counterfeits as it is not that cheap either because of it’s utilization in many different industries as well as being a strategic material for weaponry etc? Not to mention having to use some silver/gold to plate the fakes?

  15. Me says:

    I am currently employed with the worlds highest renowned x-ray fluorescence analyzer company used throughout the world for everything from chlorine/sulfur content in crude oil used at refineries to the sector charged with U.S.customs agents testing for lead in toys imported from our most favored nation for trade RED CHINA . I will be bookmarking this page and bringing my silver rounds purchased from JM, Provident, and Scottsdale to my place of employment to asked one of our Maxene analyzer assembler/testing techs to analyze what the actual purity content is. The advanced X-ray Fluorescence in Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) will confirm the purity of .999 silver sample because this unlike other competing technologies provide the ability to detect (through software advances) variable substrate depths thereby confirming purity through an actual mean depth analysis and may be how the current large silver vendors are verifying there purity standards. I am not sure these silver vendors are aware of this recent technology but it should be a consideration considering our analyzers run sample test in 10 minutes as opposed to one week chemical testing, maybe the deterrent is the cost, one bench top unit is $60,000 .. I am not allowed to see a customer lists however I do know that we manufacture optics components for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the western part of this infiltrated country. JM Bullion, Scottsdale, and Provident may want to take notice. I will post the results in the coming week.

    X-RAY OPTICAL SYSTEMS

  16. Scott says:

    You’re wrong on the letter O and U.
    Real Silver Eagles have the oval O and no tail on the U.
    Look at these ones that APMEX is selling: http://www.apmex.com/product/1083/1987-1-oz-silver-american-eagle-bu

    • Dave says:

      Hi Scott,

      We’re both right, in 2007 the US Mint made changes to the fonts on the silver eagle. From 1987 – 2007 the O’s were oval and the U had no tail. APMEX image is a 1987 coin which explains the difference. The 2 coins I reference are 2013, which the fake lists, so i made sure to have the same year real coin. After 2007 the design changed … that’s why I suggested having the same minted year of an authentic silver eagle coin when doing a visual test.

      I’ll try to clarify that more in the post above.

      Thanks for your comments.

  17. Roy says:

    Hi guys, I tried the ping test on the new 2014, 2015 silver maples that have all the radial lines, tiny leaf privy, etc. The ping test didn’t work on the coins I have, but I’ve seen other collectors (on Kitco boards) remark that silver maples don’t ping. Has anyone come across fake 2014, 2015 silver maples or is it much harder to fake these because of the new features?

  18. Monte says:

    Im assuming JM bullion is reputable dealer? Does anyone have info to refute that?

  19. Leo Sullivan says:

    I just now received 3 coins purchased on Ebay. 2011(s) Silver Eagle, 2012(s), and 2013(s) All are ANACS MS 70 in slabs. They all appear slightly different in degrees of “shininess,” which is probably normal. I inspected them with a cheap LED flashlight and magnifying glass and found no scratches or spots. What appears to be unusual is that when light lands on the 2013, Ms Liberty’s chest (breasts) take on a dark color that looks like a stain. As soon as the coin is removed from sunlight or flashlight illumination, this “stain” disappears. I noticed this in the seller’s listing photographs and questioned them about it. I did not receive a reply. They offer “Hassle Free Returns,” which is the best program on Ebay. I like the coins and they passed all visual inspections you explained. Thank you for that! As they are in sealed holders, other tests are not applicable. This is the Ebay listing and you can view it on that site, I believe. ( 131578258088 ). Obviously I am very new to coin collecting and trying to earn my education as inexpensively as possible. Again, thanks for sharing your knowledge. And I purchased 40 oz of silver bullion from APMEX two weeks ago at $16.47 and free shipping. I had it in one week with one of the round coin holders cracked. I called them and today I received a professionally packaged box with one new coin tube. I had to cost them at least $2.50. in postage. Thanks APMEX for the cheaply priced bullion and great customer service.

  20. Leo Sullivan says:

    My error, I posted the wrong listing. This is the correct Ebay number: 151761203045
    Also, I did’nt realize my whole name would come out on the post. I’ts not really me, pseudonym! Ahhhhh.

  21. Remo says:

    Personally I’m hooked on the sigma metalytics tester. Works for silver and gold at various grades and tests the resistivity of the metal (i.e. it runs a small amount of electricity through it and tests how conductive the metal is). Conductivity cannot be faked and silver is the best conductor on Earth. Works real fast and through plastic which is nice.

    Quality silver bullion sells this device. It is a bit pricey BUT is much less than the point and shoot metal verifier you have listed above.

  22. Dave says:

    When doing acid testing for silver, use the 18 kt gold acid. Make a streak of your silver .925 / sterling / or 90% Silver, put a drop of acid on your streak. If it turns a nice blue color, you have real silver!

  23. James says:

    Truly great article thank you!

  24. TradingBeast says:

    That was one hell of a long article 😀 Anyway great post as always, love reading your stuffs.

  25. David says:

    Have you checked this silver slide out on lead based fakes? While less than silver, lead is more diamagnetic than copper.

  26. Brian Marshall says:

    A very cheap, and simple test for spotting non-silver fakes [ doesn’t work for pure silver plated] is the ‘tracing paper’ test. This works because silver is the most reflective metal.
    Steps
    1] Get a genuine silver coin for comparison, and the coin for testing.
    2] Set both on a piece of dark/black cloth, or black paper, on a flat surface in a dark room.
    3] Spread out tracing paper, or a cloth handkerchief, over both coins.
    4] Shine a LED torch / bulb onto both.

    Both coins should appear the same through the paper/cloth, as both should reflect the same amount of light back. If the “for testing” coin appears darker, it’s because it’s not reflecting the same amount of light, and it’s not silver.

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