Fakes & Forgeries
Fakes abound in gold coins. There is obviously more profit and more reason to produce counterfeit gold coins than base metal ones.
We discuss and illustrate fake half sovereigns and other gold coins, mainly as a guide to identifying and avoiding them.
A number of euphemistic words are used to describe coins which are not genuine. Many of these are misleading, deceptive and dishonest.
Words often used euphemistically include restrike, and pattern.
Interesting Fakes & Forgeries
The following is a list of some of the more interesting, educational, dangerous, or amusing gold coin fakes we have seen. These are not for sale, but form part of our "Black Museum".
Metals & Alloys Used for Fakes
Various different metals and alloys are used to create fake or counterfeit gold coins, depending on the reason for, and nature of, the particular fake.
The alloy we see most frequently used for fake gold coins is substandard gold, for example fake sovereigns are made in the middle east and marked 21ct (but in Arabic), and we believe these are usually approximately 21ct, as opposed to 22ct gold. We also see sovereigns which appear to be around 18 to 20 ct gold, as well as some made of copper or bronze.
Just before we added this paragraph, we noticed a Wikipedia page about investment gold stating that lead is commonly used to make fake gold coins. We cannot remember when we last saw a lead counterfeit of a gold coin, it is quite an infrequent occurrence. Lead would be too soft, feel wrong, and sound wrong. It would therefore be a very easily detectable fake, and probably not worth the effort of forger setting up any serious volume production.
Platinum has been used in the past!
We also see reports that tungsten can or is used to imitate gold coins or bars. We have never yet seen a tungsten fake, and consider it unlikely as tungsten must be quite difficult to work.
Platinum has been used to make couterfeit gold coins, before its value rose to exceed that of gold. We have a paragraph about these on the Fakes page of our Gold Sovereigns website.
Fake Gold Sovereigns
For examples of counterfeit and forged gold sovereigns, please visit our Gold Sovereigns website.
More to Follow
We intend to add to, and link to, this page, with details of more fakes when we have time.
A restrike is an officially produced coin, from the original or other official dies, often struck by the original mint, or other officially authorised mint. The word restrike is often used euphemistically when applied to fake or counterfeit coins. We have also seen modern replica fantasy coins described as restrikes. We do not agree with this practise, and believe it to be dishonest.
A replica is an imitation of an original coin, not intended to deceive for gain.
Obverse of Fake 1887 Victoria Jubilee Head Half Sovereign
Obverse of Fake 1901-S US Gold Double Eagle
Obverse of Fake 1889 Sovereign