I was thinking about getting into coin collecting last year and so I asked a good friend of mine for some advice. She works at the Sadigh Gallery in New York and they often have dealings with these kind of antique pieces. Originally I was asking for some advice on where to buy coins and what resources I could use to find exciting coins which had just been found. The conversation which we had however, was quite alarming.
For most of the conversation we were discussing the dangers which exist within the world of antique collecting. This was especially the case for antique coins and since that chat I have learned an enormous amount about just how real these dangers are. Coin collecting is really good fun and I have enjoyed it so far. With this being said, if you collect coins, here is why you have to be careful.
Quality of Fakes
I know that in the art world there is a big issue with people selling fake items, but I didn’t realize that the coin world was where you will find the biggest perpetrators. It stands to reason I suppose, that pressing a piece of metal is going to be easier than copying a Matisse or a Monet. What my friend from the gallery was telling me however is that the quality of fake coins at the moment is exceptional. Using new technology and even 3D printing, they can create coins which are almost perfect. It is essential therefore that you know exactly what you are buying.
Ways to Purchase Coins
In the past you would always have bought coins in person, which made it harder for people to sell fakes without you noticing. In the modern age however so much of what we buy is online, and there is much less protection for those who are buying. This is why everyone will tell you that if you are buying low cost coins, taking a risk is perhaps worth it online. If however you are buying rare and expensive coins, you should never do this online, always make sure that you see the item in person before parting with a single dime.
One piece of advice which some will give you is to use an authenticator if you are in any doubt about the quality of the coin. The issue here however is that there are some who are in cahoots with the people who are creating the fakes. Whilst you will be told the antique coin is real, the truth is that they are in on the act and just want to see you spend your money. This is why if you ever do get a piece evaluated to see whether or not it is real, you have to make sure that you find someone who is independent and someone from another area than where you are looking to buy the coin.
Be careful out there.