Everyday people come into the shop with a novelty coin they think is valuable only to be turned away disappointed. Many have paid their tuition over the years by buying novelty coins or medals that really have no numismatic value. A good example would be the U.S. Presidential and Sacagawea Dollar or “Golden Dollar” because some believe these coins contain gold and they are happy to pay a healthy premium to own them. These coins contain no gold and are basically made of copper.   Anyone needing a large quantity of these coins can request them from a local bank.

Too good to be true!   Our area is plagued with worthless Chinese counterfeit coins.  Many of these examples violate the Hobby Protection Act and are against the law to own and may contain hazardous materials.  I have witnessed people walking into the shop with these coins thinking they got a bargain, only to find out it lacks silver, and may cause heavy metal poisoning.  Many Chinese fakes are below weight, lack detail, or have an incorrect edge design.  Popular coins counterfeited include Bust, Seated, Morgan, and Peace Dollars.

Fact or Fiction?  Some national ads on TV, radio and print are good and actually offer legitimate coins at reasonable prices.  Unfortunately, many collectors find the wrong company, and a countless number of people are paying for novelty and worthless numismatic items.  Lately, I’ve seen an avalanche of coins that are laminated (basically a sticker placed on a regular circulating coin), the gold bar shaped box that contains Presidential dollars that comes from the bank, circulating coins that are gold plated, and many other examples of world coins and medals that are made with virtually worthless metal, but people pay premiums to own. 

Be mindful of commissions on bullion.  Some organizations will be totally upfront about 30% commissions.  Many times unusual world coins will be offered, such as 20 franc gold coins. The sales pitch on these coins is that they are a bit mysterious and exciting compared to a standard one ounce American Gold Eagle. It is possible to find plenty of gold with commissions within 5% of the price of gold.  The best approach is to be mindful and knowledgeable before you make a purchase to ensure value and a genuine product.

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