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 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.
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.