Investing in physical gold and silver is your best option if you want something you can hold on to instead of trusting a ﬁnancial institution with your assets. Buying and selling coins and bullion is easy to do, which makes this investment liquid. However, identifying real gold and silver can be difﬁcult if you are new to investing in precious metals.
Following this checklist will help ensure that you are getting genuine gold or silver:
- Look for distinctive mint markings on gold and silver bullion. Genuine bullion should bear ofﬁcial markings from the mint that issued it, as well as a number that indicates the purity of the bullion.
- Look for a denomination and a year on gold and silver coins. A coin without a denomination or a mintage year is likely to be a fake.
- Check the edges of silver and gold coins. Coins have distinctive edges that can be smooth, have small ridges, or contain some letters. The edge ﬁnish should match the design and mintage year of the coin.
- Stack gold or silver coins on top of each other to ensure the relief is genuine. Coins are designed so that the relief of the design allows for the coins to be perfectly stacked. Fake coins often have uneven relief that makes stacking difﬁcult.
- Weigh your bullion to ensure the weight corresponds to the markings. The weight of bullion issued by a mint will match its marking exactly, since misrepresenting the weight of a
- piece of precious metal is a criminal offense.
- Use a caliper to measure coins and bullion. Measure the height and width of your coins or bullion and make sure they match the speciﬁed measurements. Coins and bullion are made with molds, so genuine pieces will all have the exact same measurements.
- Use a magnet to detect fake gold or silver. Gold and silver are not magnetic, which means a magnetic coin or bullion cannot be genuine. However, some fakes are made with non-magnetic metals or alloys and will pass this test.
- Strike your bullion or coin with another piece of nonabrasive metal. Real gold or silver will yield a ringing sound. If you hear a dull sound, your coin or bullion is a fake.
- Always buy gold and silver coins or bullion from trustworthy sellers. If possible, order bullion directly from the mint and get your coins from dealers who have an excellent reputation