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My silver coins amazing story

Silver Passion

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I;m 19 years old and I started collecting silver coins at the beginning of this year.


I never expected that the market is actually based only on "seller reputation"

and most people I talk to, or I buy from, they always say

"there is no way that someone will guarantee that this coin is original or real,

all are empty promises backed by nothing else than just wanting your money"


I bought so far 39 silver coins, half of them from ebay and half of them from numismatic

shops in Europe, which also don't guarantee anything written, but you just get

their promise that "as far as their knowledge, they seem original".


Of course that some of them do not have the weight from the catalogue,

because the numismat shop sellers said: well many coins do not have the weight

from the catalog, but of course they are original because we say so.




I feel I was throwing a lot of money on coins that in 10 years from now,

probably I will not be able to resell because maybe they are fake...


Yesterday I bought my newest coin, a 1890 silver dollar.


I was very enthusiastic about it, until I found

out that it is very faked coin usually. And I realized that I have no clue

what are the top methods to surely spot the fakes.


I feel blind... and I need your help guys.


What should I do?


Are there easy ways to test if a coin is really original and made of silver,

without destroying the coin?


Who can help me?


Thank you very much,

I count on your help




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Where did you buy the coin (1890 dollar) from? Any reputable dealer should have a return policy. Ebay too allows you to make a claim, usually within 45 days if paying through paypal.


Some easy tests to try on your dollar:


1) magnet test - if it's magnetic, it isn't silver


2) Weigh it. The weight should generally be within 1% of the published weight. Even very worn coins should not be very much underweight. If the weight is off, chances are it's a fake. Nearly ALL coins have a published and accepted weight. I would not trust a dealer who told me otherwise.


3) compare it to other pictures of legitimate coins of the same date/type (such as heritage auctions archives)


4) post a picture and let the community help

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There are really three different options here:


1. Only buy certified coins from reputable dealers. PCGS and NGC are generally accepted to be the standard in coin grading; fakes seldom make it past them. Before you buy a coin, get the serial number on its slab, look it up in their databases, and make sure the numbers match. If they match and the price seems fair, it's probably a safe buy.


2. For about $10, you can buy either the Red Book or Black Book at most bookstores. These are updated every year, and give figures for the total mintage figures and average realized sale price of every coin made in America since 1793/1794.


3. Do a little research before a purchase and use common sense. While it is true that exceptionally rare coins have been found in junk bins or even in circulation, the odds of this happening to you are essentially as likely as winning the lottery twice in a row. For example, if you find a VG 1921 Morgan for about $25-30, you got a fair deal. If you got an XF 1890 Morgan for $50, odds are probably 99.9999% that you bought a counterfeit.


Also, the best way to tell if a coin is real silver or fake silver is the old fashioned magnet test. Most counterfeits are a high-quality silver shell over a core of cheaper metal, usually steel. Higher quality counterfeits of rare dates will be made of the same metal as the original, but careful inspection of several key features of that coin should be able to distinguish a genuine piece from a counterfeit.


Good luck and have fun!

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BTW, just to help you out if you decide to post a picture. Take several shots of both sides. Pick the cleanest and best two. Crop them to just show the coin and post them to an off site photo storage. (Such as photobucket its free.)


Another suggestion. Anton, (AKA akdrv owner of this site) has an other really neat site. Omnicoin start account there. It is really convenient to have them organized there. It's nice having them stored on line with a search-able description. I do a fair amount of traveling and being able to get on line and check if I have a particular coin if I spot something is great. Plus it made it easy to have a "off site" organized record of my coins.

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You don't tell us where you are from. If you are in the US, I would recommend visiting coin shops and coins shows. Look at lots of coins for sale. Ask questions. Ask the dealer to explain why a coin is real. What are the attributes the dealer uses. Some probably won't take the time to help you. Move on, they really don't want your business. Join a local coin club and go to the meetings. Take pieces you have bought and ask their opinion. The underweight coins are likely counterfeit. If so, learn why they are different from those you bought that are real.


Consider joining the American Numismatic Association. They have a correspondence course that can help you learn the basics. They also have a summer seminar and sponsor seminars at some regional coin shows where you can learn more.


Ours is a great hobby, but you do need to learn the basics. Most fellow collectors will be more than willing to help.

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