Author Topic: Help! They say my coin is a fake.  (Read 4990 times)

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Offline Figleaf

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Help! They say my coin is a fake.
« on: March 27, 2013, 11:33:45 AM »
It is hard to think of anything more frustrating in coin collecting than someone calling your expensive, pride of the collection coin a fake. It's not just the financial loss. You have been betrayed by a seller you trusted. You have been duped. Your pride is at stake. They must be wrong. You have bought it from a respectable dealer or auction house.

In some cases, the coin in question is an obvious fake. You bought it out of ignorance. My advice: smile and bear it. Don't sell it but keep it around to keep you modest and remind you what the cost of ignorance is.

In some cases, there are reasons to doubt the authenticity of the coin, but it looks good. My advice: hear out the people who claim it is a fake. Take their arguments on board. Don't say "I don't think it's a fake". Your judgement is coloured by the fact that you bought it. If you can test the arguments (it's too heavy, the edge is wrong, the piece is cast etc.) do so. If you can't (it looks wrong, the letters look clumsy, funny weak areas) get the advice of a third party. And a fourth if you can...

Most claims of a coin being a fake can be solved quickly. Fortunately, fakers still make a lot of mistakes. However, there is a category where the experts will continue to differ of opinion. This is a frustrating situation. You would like to believe your coin is genuine, yet, whatever you do, doubt will persist. My advice: sell the coin and buy another specimen. You will gain peace of mind.

Since the above is so painful and frustrating, it should be handled by all parties involved with all the diplomacy and tact they can muster. In particular, slight doubts, severe doubts and certainties should be clearly separated. However, ignoring fakes is definitely not the answer. World of Coins is not a site where members cheer each other on so that everyone can feel good. Its mission includes learning and education. It is quoted by third parties, so that ignoring a fake confers respectability on it.

What to do when you are convinced that your coin is in fact a fake? If you have bought it recently, try to get your money back. If not, label it carefully and very clearly as a fake. If you must sell it, sell it as a fake (some jurisdictions may demand that the item itself is marked as a copy.) If you decide that it fits in your collection, FINE! Contemporary counterfeits are very interesting. Modern counterfeits are reference material to help others avoid the trap you fell into.

And what about your pride? Well, consider that you are neither the first, nor the only one who ever bought a fake. I have two expensive pieces in my collection that were determined to be fakes on this site. I can't imagine a serious, advanced collector who has never bought a fake. Let the object of your anger not be the people who claim it's a fake, but the people whose greed has sunk so low that they will produce or knowingly sell fakes.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.


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Re: Help! They say my coin is a fake.
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2013, 12:24:30 PM »
I remember not so many years ago being invited to look at a collection of Roman silver and gold. The collection was said to be of great importance and had been built up by a private collector over a number of years.

I sat down and the coins were brought out. Impressive to say the least but then I noticed something on a series of quite rare silver and gold. Rare coins from rare emperors. I inquired the provenance of the series of coins and was told they were from a trusted source. I put aside some 40 coins and loked at them again. I asked for them to be weighed but the weight was correct but yet something. Then I measured the thickness and consulted some of my memory banks. The problem was that the coins were thicker than they should have been. Thickness is often not a part of the equation when coins are recorded. I did a little calculation. I had shown the formula on here quite some time ago and it was used a few days ago by someone to estimate a weight. The figures are a little rough but given the quality of these coins close enough. The coins, for their size, were 15% (give or take depending on gold or silver) under weight. But of course perfectly weighted according to the records.

So who conned who here? Was the seller being conned and just passing what he thought was correct or was the buyer being conned? The coins were worth somewhere in the order of $200K US. Leagl proceedings are still happening.

Fakes abound and it is our own experience that should get us through. But all new collectors fall for fakes. There is no shame in this, it may hurt your pride and your pocket but it happens.

Some months ago I purchased, as is my habit, a series of contemporary Mughal rupee fakes for very little money. Two were badly fire damaged. They weren't fake rupees they were fake Mohurs and had a considerable gold content. I was happy.

Offline Md. Shariful Islam

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Re: Help! They say my coin is a fake.
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2013, 03:52:10 PM »
I would like to add a few comments. As a beginner I always accepted experts' advices on Fakes. At the same time due to accepting mentality I gained knowledge. I picked more than three fakes and now know how to differentiate between a genuine and a fake. Bitter experience of picking a fake is positive if it can add knowledge and for that acceptance to reality is Needed.

Offline Prosit

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Re: Help! They say my coin is a fake.
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2013, 04:49:58 PM »
I have two Roman Denari that I suspect due to the way they look and the provonance...however they cost me very little and I am happy with them and will study them more in the future to see what I can learn.  I have a nice looking Parma coin that I have been told was fake...looks perfectly ok to me but I was told it is under weight.
This was given to me as a fake so I am happy with it as well.  Any other fakes in my collection that is a fake is undetected as of yet.  I do suspect one of my Colombia 1810-1960 circulating commem as a fake but still gathering evidence.  Strage to think such a modest costing coin being faked but it happens.


Offline THCoins

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Re: Help! They say my coin is a fake.
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2013, 05:42:35 PM »
Being mostly focussed on ancient coins you have to live with the fact that there are no certainties. You can't simply compare a coin with a single known reference. That has meant for me that i only slowly have developed some skills in distinguishing good coins from questionable after seeing a whole lot of coins. I have a small advantage that my daytime job also involves interpretation of complex visual representations of various data.
By conciously observing i think most people are able to develop some level of visual memory. This has sometimes been called the "aunt Mina" effect. Often you see something, you can't define directly what it was that caught your attention. But it reminds you immediately of your aunt Mina (or something else ofcourse).
I think this forum has an important function in providing a platform where we can discuss both the positive and the negative views people have on coins presented. In the past i have learned a lot from such discussions. And i hope i and others will continue to do so. I myself have no problem with exposing my coins i find interesting publicly to critique. I hope others feel the same about some critiques i have given, in i hope a respectfull manner.
And for the statistics: I have a dozen or so fake or highly questionable coins. About half of these i only found out after i bought them. Some where to cheap to be true, and thus weren't. The most expensive one cost a few hundred euro's . But that caught my eye just because it was out of the ordinary. So i willingly took a risk, and do not regret it.

Offline coin_lover

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Re: Help! They say my coin is a fake.
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2014, 10:36:55 PM »
just had one bad experience  :-X