Sunday, January 8, 2012

Warning: Fake/Counterfeit Silver & Gold

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:

Click Image to Enlarge
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:

Click Image to Enlarge
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).


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  1. well ... I guess that my habit of only buying from a licensed dealer should reduce this issue for me.

    I've often found that when its a bargain it often isn't. The advice of "when you come across a "gift horse" have a good long look into its mouth.

    Which reminds me, some years ago (2007?) I recall reading in the BBC that cracks were appearing in the gold holdings of the Bank of England. The article went on to identify that as being sourced from the (then) Colony of America. Can't find a reliable source for that again now

  2. Definitely recommend buying through a dealer, however still pays to be careful. A little while back I sold some Silver rounds to a dealer, the clerk said "oh wow, I haven't seen these before, very nice" and took them off my hands without even having weighed or tested them in any fashion and I imagine sold them to the next customer without a second thought... they were real of course, but I wonder how much goes through their hands like this which isn't!

  3. I think it's funny that they can't even get the details right. Why don't they just make a cast of an original, instead of copying it by hand, or whatever process they use that leaves off the queen's earring?

  4. I have been Purchasing some 2 Troy ozs of 100 mills. 999 fine Silver from Australia on Ebay much to my surprise the Silver was tested by a Jeweler using Nitric Acid a cut was made into the Silver and when poured onto the cut it turned Green meaning that it was fake why use a Forum Like Ebay to sell Fake Silver this should not be allowed and there should be some strict standards in place as a Dealer of Bullion especially when you have to absorb the shipping cost as well. So Please be aware I wish I could Post a Picture of this Fake bullion with a Bison Buffalo on the front it and on the back of it indicating that it is 100 Mills .999 Fine Silver it should say in the listing this is Plated Silver and not solid silver please buyers beware lets shut this Guy Down !!!!

  5. You get what you pay for with precious metals. Let me guess, you thought you were getting a GREAT deal right? lol,,,