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It Might be Real
May 26, 2011

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.



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Recent Comments
On July 23, 2013 Jon Harris said
I am a full-time coin dealer for 40 years now, & I've recently encountered three 2008 Chinese Olympic Gold & Silver sets, perfect down to the wood box & silk linings & authenticity certificates. The Gold coins were lite by 3 Grams each and they were perfect copies struck in a base metal and gold-plated. The 4 Silver coins were also perfect copies in base metal. Why have not these counterfeits been publicized? The 3 sets I encountered can't be the only ones out there.Please reply to me at 561-575 5595. Thank you. JON HARRIS

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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