Recently, we had a counterfeit American Gold Eagle (official bullion coin of the United States) come into our storefront. By using our expert assaying techniques, we found that the coin was actually gold-plated tungsten. Since tungsten and gold weigh the same, these types of counterfeits can be difficult to detect.
In this particular case, the scratch test was able to reveal the tungsten core because the gold plating was so thin. But, even if it were plated thicker, it still would have failed our ultrasound test, which uses an ultrasonic pulse to detect changes in the consistency of the metal.
So far, these counterfeit Eagles aren’t widespread. Still, it reminds us of the big gold bar scandal that struck the Diamond District almost two years ago. For those who don’t remember, real PAMP bars were cut open, hollowed out, filled with tungsten slugs, and then carefully resealed and distributed. It was some truly expert-level counterfeiting.
Then, if you go further back, there were those fake palladium bars. And before that was the 18k “gold” chain scam. It just goes to show that skilled
assays are always necessary, and you can’t be too careful when buying precious metals.
Hopefully, these new counterfeit coins don’t become a trend. But just in case, we’ve reported it to the Jewelers Vigilance Committee and are monitoring the situation closely.
If you’ve had any run-ins with counterfeits, please let us know! We’d love to hear your story. Either contact us directly, or leave a post on our Facebook page.