If you are exploring ways to reduce risks in your investment portfolio, bullion coins come up as an excellent option. Cast from precious metals like gold, silver and even platinum, these coins are purchased solely for investment purposes. As opposed to numismatic coins, which are considered collectibles, and valued by their rarity, the price of bullion coins directly depends on their metal contents. The bullion prices may frequently fluctuate in tandem with the ups and downs in the international metal markets. Investing in bullions is an expensive affair, and as a newbie in this field, you should learn how to avoid buying fake pieces. As a new entrant in the bullion investment landscape,you should start with silver coins which are on the lower side as compared to gold. And here we tell you about seven ways how to spot counterfeits while buying silver bullion coins on sale:
Go for a Magnetic Test – Since both silver and gold are non-magnetic, it’s one of the smartest ways to spot a coin that is not genuine. If a coin sticks to a bar of a magnet, you can easily cancel that out. Why? Fake silver coins usually contain a certain percentage of steel or iron in them, a fact that makes it easy for you to identify phony coins using a magnetic strip. However, this test will not work for coins that include zinc, lead, copper or any other non-magnetic metals in their chemical compositions.
Perform an Ice Test – This is a simple and easy way to tell an authentic coin from a fake. All that you need are some ice, and you are good to go! Place the ice cubes on the silver bullion and observe minutely. As silver is known to be an effective conductor of heat, the ice should begin to melt immediately. In case it takes longer than usual, you should refrain from purchasing that bullion.
Conduct Visual Test – Silver is a widely available metal and therefore, you must have a basic idea regarding the physical properties of silver. It has a distinctive look – it is neither too cloudy nor too shiny. Use a professional-class magnifier the ones that are used by jewelers to examine the coin thoroughly. It would be even better if you can keep an authentic bar or coin next to the one that you are studying. If you see any text spacing, mismatched surface, edges or crevices, you will be easily able to figure out the difference.
Take a Dimensions Test – This process of evaluation is applicable only to the bullions that come from the government mints. Consider using a good quality digital electronic scale that measures at least two decimal points in grams. Also consider checking the diameter of the bullion using a good set of calipers.
Run Bleach Tests – Another effective, yet simple way to figure out the authenticity of silver bullion is to run a bleach test. Real silver coins will get discolored as soon as it is exposed to any oxidizing chemical like a bleaching agent. All you need to do is place one drop of bleach on a silver coin, and if it starts to turn black, you can rest assured of its purity. However, if the coin has a numismatic specialty in addition to its bullion value, you can avoid conducting this test as it will reduce its premium.
Opt for Sound Test – This is quite a simple yet methodical test to check the purity of silver bullions. Tap the piece under consideration against another coin or bar gently. If the coin is pure, it will produce a high-pitch and ringing sound. If the silver content is less in the coin, the high pitch sound will change to a dull sound. You can also drop the coin on a flat surface from a certain height. If you hear a ringing sound, you can be sure that the coin is made of pure silver.
Check the Stamp – If you prefer to follow the conventional norms, consider looking for stamps. According to international standards, all sellable silver items should be stamped, indicating the mark of the manufacturer as well as the authenticity of the metal. Usually, silver bullions have a marking of 999 or .999. Don’t forget to look for this sign while you are looking for silver coins to add to your portfolio.
While these are some of the most reliable methods to check the purity of silver bullions, make sure you follow the basic rules of investing. Be sure to compare the prices, offered by the different dealers. As an investor, this is the most important thing that you need to do. Doing a comparative study is pretty easy as all you need to do is give the dealers a call and ask them for the best price. There is no point in paying more than you need to. Hence, try to figure out the lowest possible price for the authentic silver bullions at a given point of time.
If you are on the lookout for authentic silver bullion coins on sale, first, learn how to check its purity. However, do not stop just there. You should also learn, how to handle your assets properly. While displaying the coins or examining them, make sure you place a soft and thick piece of cloth underneath. This will prevent any kind of damage to the bullion even if you accidentally drop them from a height. Make sure you don’t touch the face of the coin as the fingerprints might leave on them permanent stains, which are almost impossible to remove. Make it a point to hold the coins by its edge. You should wash your hands thoroughly and tap them dry well before touching them again. If you are thinking of wearing gloves, consider using cotton gloves instead of plastic or latex ones. Since these materials contain lubricants or powder, they might cause damage to your valuable bullions. If possible, consider keeping the coins in protective capsules as these units help protect your coins from moisture exposure and the resulting damages.