Coin Conundrums: 10 Quick Tips to Spot Genuine U.S. Coins

Examine for Casting Seams

Counterfeit coins often have visible seams from the casting process. Authentic coins will not have these imperfections​​.

Check Markings and Mintmarks

Compare the coin's markings and mintmarks with those known to be authentic. Discrepancies can indicate a fake​​.

Assess the Relief

The relief of a counterfeit coin may not match the precise detail levels of an authentic coin, being either too high or too low​​.

Use a Magnet

Genuine gold and silver coins will not be attracted to a magnet. If the coin sticks, it's likely a counterfeit​​.

Conduct a Heat Test on Silver

Real silver coins will quickly melt an ice cube due to silver's high thermal conductivity​​.

Investigate Altered Dates

Altered dates are a common tactic among counterfeiters, changing less valuable dates to more valuable ones. Look for tool marks or inconsistencies around the date​​.

Spot Altered Mintmarks

Counterfeiters may add or remove mintmarks to increase a coin's apparent value. Check for any signs of tampering or added elements​​.

Evaluate the Weight and Dimensions

Authentic coins have precise weight and dimensions. Any deviation could indicate a counterfeit​​.

Consider the Coin's Edge

Many authentic coins have specific edge designs or reeding. A smooth or incorrect edge can signal a fake​​.

Look for a Lack of Detail

Counterfeit coins often lack the sharpness and detail of genuine coins, appearing flat and poorly defined​​.