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Fake Gold Sovereigns Guide

Many Edwardian Sovereigns till exist in UNCIRCULATED  or even BU Condition

Sovereign Fakes Guide
Buying expensive Sovereigns ?
It may well be a good idea to have them checked.
One thing to mention is that you are pretty safe with coins graded by the two major coin grading services.
There is a vague possibility of ungraded coins being fakes.
.Some Gold Bullion coins have more than double in value in the past year.
However,if you have gold bullion coins then it is comparatively easy to get them tested (or to test them yourself with a gold testing kit from ebay)

Gold coins are very collectible items  as visual objects in themselves.
They have a beauty that is both  tactile and visual .
Most people really derive pleasure from the feel of gold.
That feeling is heightened by the knowledge of the worth of a gold coin.
However  there are some counterfeit coins circulating.
Some dealers have little regard and do not care as the coin is still a piece of gold.
But for serious collectors who collect rare gold coins this is a more serious problem.
Many Fake Gold Coins are really made of gold and the profit for any counterfeiter comes in the difference between the value of the Gold and the rarityvalue of the coin to a collector.
Usually, the more valuable coins are any forgers first choice to make.
Just think about it – its  easier to  make a lot more profit by faking expensive coins.
24 carat gold is a very soft metal when compared to mst other metals and the old test was to bite on the coin

 Remember miners in western saloons in the movies ?.
Coins pre 20th Century were usually made with pure Gold (or almost pure Gold)
The normal standard with British sovereigns was 22 carat gold – silver was often added to make the coins more rigid.
This is no longer used as a valid test because Gold coins have varying amounts of base metals added to make it easier to manufacture them and so that the coins will last in circulation.

Remember that Gold Sovereigns were actual units of everyday currency and that many will often show considerable amounts of wear and tear,

Fake sovereigns are a little harder to identify.
In Victorian times the usual method of faking was to actually alter the coin itself. Very small holes were drilled in each coin and the coin was hit several times with a hammer and steel punch to fill in the hole with the surrounding gold.The only way to identiy those is to weigh each coin as these will be considerably lighter than the originals.
Another method popular in those days was called sweating.
This little wheeze was to have a handful of gold sovereigns in a leather bag and to pay a child to rattle the coins around for a few hours
The owner then passed on the coins and sold the gold dust or bits fallen off the coins.
You can detect a fake sovereign with a coin gauge or by weight
This is what a gold sovereign should weigh and measure :
Weight: 7.9881 grams
Thickness: 1.52 mm
Diameter: 22.05 mm
Fineness: 22 carat = 91.67%
Actual Gold Content: 7.3224 grams

Most Fake sovereigns are either oversized or underweight to disguise the fact that they are made with a base metal.
Electric Gold plating of a silver fake is not uncommon but easily detected by scratching in an un-noticeable place with a pin (electro plating is normally only a few microns thick)
Australian Sovereigns used Silver as part of the alloy  and the London minted 1887 issue also contained silver
So how do you tell a Fake? Research is the proper answer. Your local museum or coin dealer will have some coins that you can inspect and compare with suspect coins.

Find out the actual weight that a coin is supposed to be.This also applies to the measurements. (One of the ways fakers make more money is to make the coins a tiny bit thinner but this is noticeable on a coin scale).

Although Victorian Fakes of Sovereigns do exist, you are unlikely to come across them.
 They were sometimes produced by using clay or plaster of paris moulds made from original sovereigns and this produced a fairly clumsy forgery with blurred text and sometimes a very flat top due to being filed with a fine steel file. These are obvious with a magnifying glass.

Dates of Genuine Sovereigns are :
London: 1817–1917, 1925, 1957 onwards
Melbourne: 1872–1931
Sydney: 1855–1926
Perth: 1899–1931
Bombay: 1918 only
Ottawa: 1908–1919
Pretoria: 1923–1932

We know of counterfeit coins of the following Sovereigns:
1817 George III
1819 George III reproductions known may be altered to appear real
A number of different rare dates of soverigns were faked in the Lebanon and collectors should beware of these.
These were produced in he 190s together with a valuable Gold 1887 Five Pound piece.

Over 11,000 fake gold sovereigns are known to have been made by forgers in Greece.
Gold sovereigns form the large part of any Greek Girls Dowry and those coins are somewhere out there !
Most Middle Eastern major cities sell reproduction or fake gold sovereigns but many of these are fairly clumsy copies
destined only to fool unwary tourists.

You are more likely to come across Forged US Gold Coins than Sovereigns.

A slightly more dangerous possibility is that of reproduction gold coins which are produced specifically for educational use.
These are supposed to have the word COPY either on the rim or reverse of the coins but I have seen Roman coins where the word copy has been erased with a small electric hobby drill and a grinder.

There was recently the case of a British treasure hunter who salted fake coins on to farmland and brought his local treaure hunter club
to unknowingly find the coins he had salted just to provide a provenance for his own fake coins.

Remeber that Counterfeight coins may well be as old as the coins they are meant to be – faking is not a new pursuit .
Fakes will often have other base metals added and the colour is then noticeably different.
Copper gives sovereigns a slightly warmer look.
 Some Double Eagles have copper mixed to debase them a little and this gives them a mottled look. Fakes to watch out for are the Tudor Angels and Half Angels as these fetch serious money. If you are contemplating investing seriously in medieval Gold coins then please research before you buy.

Bullion Coins such as Krugerrands or Gold Sovereigns are less likely to be fakes as there is little profit in them for the forger.

When Buying Gold Sovereigns please observe the old rule of :

it is too cheap – it is either fake or stolen !