The Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) is the top-most respected coin grading service in America, along with the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC). Refuse investing in gold and silver coins that lack certification from one of these entities. All coins sold by ITM Trading are certified by either of these professional organizations composed of the world’s most intelligible coin aficionados.

Both the PCGS and the NGC employ expert numismatists to accurately grade every incoming coin. Each organization has a group of roughly 25 ultra-experienced graders who each specialize in a certain area of numismatics. Common specialties include U.S. rare coins and rarities and high-quality examples. The grading process is thorough and extensive. Millions of coins enter these facilities, including the rarest and most sought-after coins in existence. Sending coins to either of these companies for grading is a wise decision, although some coins are returned to their senders without encapsulation for a variety of reasons.

Not every coin that leaves these facilities receives a certification and genuine PCGS or NGC holder. Many coin collectors send coins for grading to receive peace of mind in regards to their authenticity. If your idea of investing in precious metals involves the collection of rare and valuable gold and silver coins, be aware of the problem of illegal counterfeit coin trading. Ensure that your soon-to-be investment is not a fake! Thousands of meticulously counterfeited coins enter the US from China alone every month. Coins with questionable authenticity will not receive grades by any of the top grading services, including the NCI, NGC, ANACS, Hallmark, and PCGS.

It takes a highly-skilled numismatic grader to detect a fake coin, but there are some key irregularities to look for when in doubt. To determine if a “raw coin,” or one that has not received its certification from the PCGS or the NGC, is genuine, use a basic method at home ideal for detecting fake U.S. gold coins, but usable for any historic gold coin (except Canadian coins which commonly consist of steel). This experiment requires five simple tools: a magnet, a gram scale accurate to one-tenth of a gram, a caliper accurate to one hundredth of an inch, a high-powered magnifying glass or loupe with a minimum of 8 times magnification (8x), and a reference book by which you can compare the measurements of your coin to those of the real deal.

A significant problem in the coin industry lately involves heaps of fake coins arriving in the US from China. A magnet detects iron and nickel content. This is what composes most scrap metal, from which Chinese counterfeiters make their supply of realistic coins. If the magnet picks up your US coin, it is highly likely the coin is a fraud.

Use the gram scale to weigh the coin. Chinese counterfeiters use scrap metal to create coin blanks, causing their coins to be underweight. The US Mint follows strict guidelines for coins and very narrow tolerances for error in weight and diameter exist. If the coin is off by more than 1% of what it states in the book, you hold a suspicious coin. To use the scale, make sure it can weigh to the tenth of a gram. Place the coin on the scale and compare your measurement to its known weight standard. If it is off by more than 1%, the coin is deemed suspicious and likely counterfeit.

A caliper is a precise measuring tool used to determine the diameter of coins. The US Mint was extremely precise in ensuring all coins met a designated diameter for their kind, so any coin that is slightly over or under the diameter listed in the reference book is likely a reproduction. To use a caliper, slide the jaws to the closed position and press a “set” or “zero” button to calibrate it to zero. Slowly slide the jaws open until they touch the edges of the coin exactly across from each other. Ensure the coin fits snugly between the jaws and read the results.

Powerful magnifiers are excellent resources for everyday coin grading. Whether a coin is real or not, this is an invaluable device to own if you’re fond of collecting rare coins. A loupe capable of 10x magnification is the preferred device, but 8x works well for this experiment as it zooms in on a coin’s surface details invisible to the naked eye.

Now you have some guidelines to follow when considering coins from any dealer. At ITM Trading, the work has been done for you. We specialize in authentic rare US gold coins. Call 88-OWN-GOLD today to begin your collection!