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Old 05-02-2010, 12:49 PM
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Default How to tell if precious metals are real.

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I was wondering what different ways of testing precious metals there are. I know there's a bunch of ways to do it but I wanted to hear some of the ways you guys know about. Especially the average joe ways of testing them. If the TSHTF and we went back to using gold silver and platinum I wanna know if what im getting or trading is real.
Old 05-02-2010, 01:25 PM
horatioo horatioo is offline
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you can bite gold
Old 05-02-2010, 01:30 PM
Natan706 Natan706 is offline
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Get yourself an acid testing kit. they have them for like $30 and some of them can even tell you purity of the gold.
Old 05-02-2010, 01:33 PM
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Coins are backed by the US as being 90% pure. Any private mint will usually have the PM content printed on the coin or bar, like this....

Old 05-02-2010, 01:35 PM
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If you deal in silver bars and want to know if it's been "drilled and filled" do the ring test!
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Old 05-02-2010, 01:41 PM
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IMHO, if you deal with junk silver coins, the chances of getting 'burned' are minimal, as the cost of the raw coin isn't worth counterfeiting... unless your buying some numismatic rarity.

Buy gold? Yes, the risk is there. A gold plated counterfeit coin IS worth faking...

Stick with cheap junk silver and your golden.

Platinum? Who is going to be carrying around platinum, or even gold, wanting to trade/barter for a pint of goats milk?
Old 05-02-2010, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by texican View Post
IMHO, if you deal with junk silver coins, the chances of getting 'burned' are minimal, as the cost of the raw coin isn't worth counterfeiting... unless your buying some numismatic rarity.

Buy gold? Yes, the risk is there. A gold plated counterfeit coin IS worth faking...

Stick with cheap junk silver and your golden.

Platinum? Who is going to be carrying around platinum, or even gold, wanting to trade/barter for a pint of goats milk?
I would not think many people are going to be toting around platinum. But Gold AE's in 1/10 and 1/4 oz. are nice denominations to have. Worth more than some goats milk. But probably close to the value of arms and fuel barters. I'd probably trade a 1/4 oz. AE for 100 gallons of diesel.
Old 05-02-2010, 01:57 PM
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there is plenty of test you can do
there is 2 cathegories of test
non destructive
one thing you can do is measure weight per volume
it requires a "besher"[french] (metered glass and it has to be precise) and a precision scale

each mineral has a specific weight per volume you account for 0.1 % discrepancy
and you can tell if its real gold/silver or not

you can do a rubbing test measure the physical properties like ductility strength etc
you can also do chemical test

rubing and chemical test are for the most destructive test ( destroy a part of the gold bullion)

weight mass is of course non destructive it besides the container it only needs water and a balance.

most small gold bullion sold is pre essayed and has a certificate with it
i doubt those renown firms would gamble their reputations.
Old 05-02-2010, 08:51 PM
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For coins you can buy balance scales that the coin must fit exactly into, and still show the correct weight. A counterfeit will either be too big, or too light. only a real coin will be both the right size AND weight.
Old 05-02-2010, 09:02 PM
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ACID and biting? Come on guys ridiculous.

If you want to be safe only trade in government issued bouillon coins. Second get a Fisch Gauge.
Old 05-03-2010, 12:08 PM
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Gold and Silver will not be attracted to a magnet.
Silver has a distinctive "ping" sound to it which is very pleasing to the ear.

With Gold, you need a kit for that.
Google "Gold testing kit".
Old 05-03-2010, 01:25 PM
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Specific gravity. The acid test kits will test the surface, but that doesn't prove that it isn't just plated.
Old 05-04-2010, 01:42 AM
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I think I can contribute here; I am a third generation Jeweler. I buy scrap gold and silver on a regular basis.
There are two kinds of testers that work well in a "purchasing situation" as they are small quick and easy to do. Electronic pens and acids testers.

The acid tester is more accurate in my opinion than the new electronic touch testers but the electronic pens are much easier to use, much faster and no risk of any dangerous acids messing up your clothes or anything (the pens are pretty accurate too though).

Coins and refined bullion of course as mentioned above is the safest way to purchase and will also agree with Texican that counterfeiting silver is too cost prohibitive. Even a one ounce gold bullion bar would be expensive to counterfeit. Someone will work pretty cheap and really hard to counterfeit a gold ounce coin or bar effectively.

After you deal with gold and silver and handle it enough you will know its real 90 percent of the time by just looking at it (old jewelry and coins) and seeing how depressions and scratches on the surface look. The color of the insets and the high spots. The weight of it in your hands. Lack of oxidation or the way plating will cover the metal.

The best buys on the planet is old scrap jewelry IF you know how to detect its real and are able to judge on eye-site an approximate weight. I go to old auctions, garage sales and have a place where I buy it over the counter for gold weight.

Never go by the stamp unless the stamp tells you its gold plated, gold filled, rolled gold filled, gold clad, etc.. If it says it’s not gold, it’s not. If it says sterling, 10k, 14k, 18k, 22k, or 999 then IT MIGHT be what it says it is. It also could use the number percentage, as silver can be 750 (75 percent sliver) and 14k can be 585 (58.5 percent gold). An acid tester kit will solve for any of these silver/gold plated/filled solutions IF you rub the gold item HARD against the testing stone. (Yes it will leave a rough place on the jewelry where you rub off the metal), so I get permission to test and let them know that I have test before I buy if I am in doubt.

About the only kind of metals that can escape the acid test are bigger items that use sandwich metal where gold/silver super think rolled or clad solutions are applied. Silver sets and fake gold bars (someone did try to sell me a fake gold 5 ounce bar but I could tell it was fake immediately). It’s usually something large so that the TIME it takes to scam somebody is worth it with a large sell to the pathetic crook that will do it.

I recommend Mr Smith and Wesson for those kinds of scammers

Hope that helps
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Old 05-04-2010, 05:01 AM
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The most simple method I can think of (in terms of equipment required and also accuracy using only cheap equipment) is the "Archimedes" method. The only downside is you need to have some of your own pure gold/metal to be tested (or whatever purity you'll be testing for). You weigh the gold that is being traded to you, then you get your bit of gold and cut it up till it weighs the same amount, then you get a balance (could even just use a piece of string with a stick tied to it, ensuring the knot is in the exact center of the stick, then tie one piece of gold to one end, then the other piece to the other end) put a piece of gold on either side and stick it underwater. If they are of the same purity they will stay roughly level, if they are of differing purities then they will be imbalanced.

Check out this wiki article for more information (read the second paragraph though, the first details a method Archimedes likely did not use because it would have been inaccurate):

This method is good because it is non-destructive (assuming you are trading in a standard amount of gold) and is one of the more accurate tests possible without extremely accurate equipment (like devices for measuring volume).


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