Buyer Beware when Buying Coins 4


You’re building a Lincoln Cent collection when spot this coin at a coin show, a 1943 cent.  Now what you should know about the 1943 Lincoln Cent is they were made of steel because copper was needed for the war effort. However, there are a few copper 1943 cents and are worth a lot of money. As you see here, I bought this 1943 cent for $2, but I knew this was not a real copper cent but a steel cent coated in copper. How? I put a magnet close to this coin and the coin stuck to the magnet with ease. Why? Because steel is magnetic, but copper is not.

This example was to show you that what you see is not necessarily what you get when purchasing coins.  Sadly, there are people out there that would be happy to take your hard earned money with a counterfeit coin. What can you do to avoid these fake coins?

Do the Research

Counterfeit coins are not easily detectable. Not only old coins are being altered. A 1932 quarter was altered to a 1932-S which is more valuable. Even fake slabs have been made to fool collectors.

There are a lot of pages online that discuss counterfeiting coins. Here are a few:

Great starter article by Wikipedia

This page has a good detection primer and examples

NGC’s top 10 list of counterfeit coins

So don’t get caught off guard at a coin show or even a yard sale. Do the research and make sure the coin you want is the coin you’re buying.

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4 thoughts on “Buyer Beware when Buying Coins

  • CJ Hogg

    Very good information for when I’m buying coins, helped show me EXACTLY what to look for and to be aware of. It’ll be much more difficult to be fooled when purchasing coins now. Thank you so much for the easy to read article I will be adding this site to my bookmark for future referencing!

    • Kevin Post author

      Glad to help. I went to a lecture at a coin show last year. A lot of info I never heard of before. That’s where I heard of the fake slabs.

  • Jon M

    Hey thanks for the info, I will have to try the magnet trick and honestly didn’t know that they were steel .

    Have you ever heard of Regal Assets? You may want to look into becoming an affiliate there as they are always looking for websites like this in the industry, may be a way to monetize your site as well.