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It might be real

Chinese fakes have gotten collectors wound up in the past year or so. Quite rightly, too.

However, I had a phone call about a good old-fashioned fake the other day.

The caller said he had a Blake and Company $20 gold piece that was shown in his copy of Coin Digest.

He wondered what he should do.

I grabbed my copy of Coin Digest and told him of the notation that said no original specimen is known and that most experts believe it to be a 1950 counterfeit and many modern copies exist.

I’ll say.

I have had enough phone calls on this one over the past 33 years.

The caller was not put off. His, after all, might be genuine. What should he do?

I said he needed to send it to a third-party grading service for authentication.

He didn’t like that idea.

I told him that I was pretty sure it was a fake and it wasn’t worth any more of his time.

He didn’t like that answer, either.

Then I suggested that he weigh the coin. These reproductions are all over and they are all far lighter than real gold.

Well, what does real gold weigh?

I suggested he take the weight of a standard $20 gold piece of the United States and compare it.

What’s that?

I read the weight out of Coin Digest, 33.436 grams.

I said his piece should be much lighter.

Well, what if it isn’t?

I told him it would very likely be much lighter.

If it isn’t, he can always call me back.

At least he didn’t ask me what a gram is.