Coin Speak: 10 Key Coin Terms You’ll Need To Know (And They’ll Help You Sound Like A Real Numismatist!)
1. Magnetic Test - While many fakes can easily pass this test, silver as well as gold bullion for that matter are both non-magnetic. If a bullion coin or bar sticks to a magnet you can easily throw this one out. Fakes that are produced with any iron or steel content in them will give off some magnetic attraction and identify itself as a fake. Metals that have a core of zinc, copper, lead or other non-magnetic metal will not be detected by this test.
2. Ice Test- Cheap and easy to do, getting some ice from the freezer is a simple way to test both silver coins and bars for authenticity. All you need to do is place the ice on the silver and watch. The ice should begin to melt immediately, this is because silver is the best conductor of heat.
3. Dimensions Test- This type of test only applies to bullion coins from government mints. Since the most popular is the American Silver Eagle, we will take a look at that particular coin.
4. Visual Test -Silver has a distinctive look and feel to the coin not too shiny and not too cloudy. Grab an old magnifier, the one’s that jeweler’s use, and take a good look at the coin. It’s always best to have an authentic coin or bar next to the one you are examining. Mismatched surfaces, text spacing, crevices, or edges will stand out if it is a fake. Your tool of choice for this test is a handy magnifying glass or a jeweler’s loupe. A loupe if a special magnifying glass without the handle with higher magnification due to its special lens. These are essential to the world of coin collecting & numismatics, making it easier to grade the quality as well as identify counterfeit coins such as fake silver dollars.
5. Bleach Test - Another cheap and simple way to test for real silver vs. fake is to use some household bleach. Silver will tarnish very fast when exposed to any sort of oxidizing chemical like bleach. All you will need is just 1 drop, place it on the silver and if it begins to turn black then you can check it is silver. If your coin has numismatic value of any sort, this test may reduce its premium and you may want to perform another test. (Silver-plated items will also pass this test)
6. Ping Test -The great thing about silver is that it has a certain high-pitched ring to it when struck with another metal, many people refer to this as the ping test and it works fairly well. To do this, simply place one silver coin on your fingertip and take another between your thumb and forefinger and gently tap your coin. It should produce a nice high-pitched bell ring.
7. The Specific Gravity Test - These next 4 tests below are highly accurate in determining real vs. fake. The specific gravity test of silver is basically a ratio of densities and due to its chemical & composition makeup should equal ~ 10.49
1. Obtain dry weight of the silver coin or bar with an accurate scale to .01gUse a cup of water enough to fully submerge the silver into and measure its weight or reset the scale with it on.
2.Tie some string around the coin and setup an apparatus to hold the coin.
3. Submerge the silver into the water and record the submerged weight minus the weight of the water & cup.
4.Divide the dry weight by the submerged weight to obtain the specific gravity of silver
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