A warning posted recently on Silver Stackers is worth sharing. You can read it in full here. Goldpelican writes:
It has come to my attention that a Chinese website is advertising counterfeit Perth Mint 2012 Year of the Dragon 1oz silver coins, and is currently shipping to Australia. It has been disclosed that at least one shipment of 500+ coins is on its way to Australia, presumably intended for resale.
No photos of the Dragon coin were available, but a photo of a replica Perth Mint 2011 Gold Kangaroo was shared:
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Members on Silver Stackers picked some discrepancies between the above fake and the real coin:
- Background on Queen side doesn't have proof like finish
- No earring on the Queen's ear
- Lettering under the Queen's neck differs
- Kangaroo's mouth appears different
Of course there's no guarantees that other Kangaroos aren't circulating without these differences.
Here is another photo of some Silver 1 ounce Ingots being sold as Silver when they are only a plated Zinc alloy:
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Here's a video shared by ozcopper showing some fake Silver bars:
Unfortunately there are many items sold (particularly on auction sites like eBay) which are not real Gold/Silver and should be avoided at all costs. Some examples include:
German (Nickel) Silver: This is a copper alloy with nickel and often zinc. The usual formulation is 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc.
100 Mills/Mils: Refers to a Silver (or Gold) plated product. While the very thin exterior layer *might* be real Silver or Gold, the inside will be something else (usually copper).
HGE Gold: Stands for Heavy Gold Electroplate and consists of a base metal that has been plated in Gold.
Gold Flakes: Often sold in vials this alloy is unlikely to contain significant amounts of (if ANY) real Gold.
Columbiam (Niobium) / Molybdenum Bullion: Other metals may be manufactured into bars and coins and sold as a “precious” metal, but ultimately they are of little value to the investor.
Other keywords to look out for when avoiding products which are likely to be fake and contain little or no real Gold/Silver: Copy, Replica, Plated, Layered
However not all fake products will be labelled as such. The easiest way to avoid fake, replica or otherwise worthless metals is to buy from a reputable source (such as a well known and respected dealer, one that sources their bullion direct from the distributor and/or one that appropriately checks/tests products when buying back).