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Gold plated platinum coins


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I've looked at the history of platinum usage for research a few years ago and came across very interesting articles. While I can go and start writing about how scarce it is to where it's currently being mined - I'll leave that to google.


The only officially struck platinum coins that did circulate was from 1828 - 1845 in Russia. What I am more interested is when exactly did gold plated platinum coins started to circulate and when it ended. From my understanding, during the Spanish conquest of South America, platinum was usually found with gold and it was an undesirable metal. It was difficult to melt down with the technology back then. Therefore platinum was cheaper than gold.


Counterfeiters like in any other era will find the best way to make profit. As platinum is denser than gold and much cheaper than gold, it is not too difficult to match the weigh unlike using cheap base metals. By gold plating platinum coins, the weight could be around the same or slightly heavier.


Now comes the questions which I struggled to find.


1) What is the earliest event of gold plating platinum and when did it end? Can we put an year of when is the first known gold platinum coin and last dated gold plated platinum coin? (obviously not the modern gold-platinum plated state quarter coins...)

2) Were gold plating platinum coins manufactured by counterfeiters only or some were officially struck by mints? Reason why I asked is the details of some coins just look too good to be counterfeit.

3) What countries were involved in this? As far as I know, Spain, France and England had such coins. Are there more to this list? I think I remember seeing a Russian gold coin that is plated platinum however this is a unique example.

4) When the plating eventually wear off, did such coins continue to circulate or were they immediately removed and culled as counterfeit? Or did they continued to circulate until platinum prices rose and that caused their downfall?


There is a book that I wanted to get hold of, which is a book that describes the technology St. Petersburg used to strike the first Ural platinum coins and how they managed to get around various challenges. There could be more books that I am unaware of.


Finally, to end this, this is an example that I obtained a while ago. Just never got around to catalog what I have.




As you can see, there are signs of wearing and some silvery parts show up. I know some would ask if this was actually plated silver but this coin is actually slightly heavier than a genuine example. There are also scratch marks and I'm certain this was done back in the days to find out if this was real gold or gold plated platinum. I personally find it quite neat considering how many questions this coin made me think.


If you have any gold plated platinum coins, please feel free to post!

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  • 3 months later...

It'd be very neat to run an XRF test or assay on that to see what the composition turns out to be - it seems quite interesting indeed.


Not to derail the topic, but something related would be 19th C. counterfeits of silver coins (i.e. US silver dollar) in PT.

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