How To Avoid Buying Counterfeit Coins

It is important for the new or novice coin collector to be aware of the possibility of mistakenly buying a counterfeit coin.  There are always counterfeit coins posing as the real thing that are being sold all over the world to unsuspecting coin collectors who mistake them for the genuine rare coins that they presume they are buying.

Recent reports say that there are over a million different types of counterfeit coins that have been sold that are made overseas.  Some of these are sold as “replicas” and others are just passed off to customers as authentic rare coins they are supposed to be.  It is very important that any coin buyer become a quick study of coin collecting as the price difference between a fake and an original can be huge and quite costly to the poor collector who gets suckered into the purchase of a fake rare coin.

Hobby periodicals report that more than a million counterfeit coins manufactured in China have been fraudulently sold in the United States posing a significant financial risk for unsuspecting consumers. Buyer beware! Consumers who buy an item based only on its perceived rarity and who have no knowledge as to how to determine whether the coin is genuine subject themselves to great risk of losing their money.
The American Numismatic Association (ANA), the Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA), Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), Professional Coin Grading Service ( and the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) urge consumers to educate themselves before making purchases: know what you are buying and purchase only from reputable, experienced rare coin dealers (professional numismatists).
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The sale of coins that are replicas and are unmarked, as such, is illegal in the U.S. and is a violation of federal law in America.  The U.S. Hobby Protection Act requires that all manufacturers and importers of imitation numismatic coins be clearly marked with the word “copy” in accordance with the Code Of Federal Regulations.  Unfortunately, there are still hundreds, if not, thousands of such coins being passed off as originals, many of them coming from China and elsewhere.

We urge all of those who are interested in purchasing numismatic coins and rare coins to educate themselves and to use some common sense when making a purchase.  Beware of online auctions, as they are good places to be ripped off.  It’s better to go into a coin store and visit a local rare coin dealer in your area and to do business with a reputable business who has been around for a while.  In New Jersey, one such place is American Coin & Stamp Co., which has been around since the 1950s and has an excellent reputation for good and honest service, fair pricing and good customer relations.

Here are some additional tips concerning making a purchase of a collectible coin and avoiding buying a counterfeit rare coin from

•    Compare the sale coin with an authentic coin. Fake coins will usually exhibit slight differences in color, texture, thickness or weight when compared side-by-side to originals.
•    Zero in on design details. Get to know the piece you are looking to purchase as intimately as possible. Remember unique die characteristics of an authentic coin when considering the piece in question.
•    If you have any question at all on the piece you wish to purchase, consider buying a certified coin that has already been authenticated by a third party.

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So, just be aware of the risks and act accordingly with some common sense and some understanding of the risks associated with dealing with unknown sellers and online sales and auctions.  Do a little research and purchase wisely.  A little knowledge goes a long way, when buying rare coins.

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