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Detecting Fake Coins

As time goes on counterfeiters get better at making fake coins. Lower-quality fakes are often easy to detect when compared with a known good coin or a good image of a known good coin (Museum Victoria is a great source of images of known good coins) as minor details won't match or the coin just doesn't "look right". If you have physical access to the coin, make sure the weight and diameter are correct, and use any rules of thumb to determine the alloy (e.g. use a magnet to make sure it has the correct magnetism; use the tissue test to check if it is silver). Coins which are not meant to exist (e.g. previously unknown years or year and mintmark combinations) should also be viewed with suspicion.

High-quality fakes are now a real concern and can often only be detected by the presence or absence of small details or marks on the coins. All moderately expensive coins should be viewed with suspicion as high-quality fakes of high-grade common-date coins are known. This page will attempt to list the diagnostics for high-quality fakes but cannot and will not be comprehensive. Constant vigilance is required as counterfeiters regularly visit this page.

Australia

1911 Shilling

Scrape below first downstroke of N in IND and behind the King's shoulder on the obverse, rim cud above N on IND on obverse.

1914 Shilling

Scrape below first downstroke of N in IND and behind the King's shoulder on the obverse, rim cud above N on IND on obverse.

1915 Shilling

Scrape below first downstroke of N in IND and behind the King's shoulder on the obverse, rim cud above N on IND on obverse.

1925 Shilling

Scrape below first downstroke of N in IND and behind the King's shoulder on the obverse, rim cud above N on IND on obverse.

1911 Florin

I in FLORIN points between rim denticles.

1912 Florin

I in FLORIN points between rim denticles.

1913 Florin

I in FLORIN points between rim denticles.

1914 Florin

I in FLORIN points between rim denticles.

1914H Florin

I in FLORIN points between rim denticles.

1915H Florin

I in FLORIN points between rim denticles.

1916 Florin

I in FLORIN points between rim denticles.

1917 Florin

I in FLORIN points between rim denticles.

1918 Florin

I in FLORIN points between rim denticles.

1919 Florin

I in FLORIN points between rim denticles.

1921 Florin

I in FLORIN points between rim denticles.

1938 Crown

Small indentation in the crown above the 8.

1917P Sovereign

https://www.ngccoin.com/news/article/4672/counterfeit-Australia-1917P-gold-sovereign/

Great Britain

1849 Florin

Dot between I of VICTORIA and Queen's nose.

1864 Florin

Blob on top left serif of N of TENTH on reverse.

1905 Half crown

Slightly bent I in QUI on the reverse.

King's eyelid is curved upwards rather than straight.

1913 Sovereign

https://www.ngccoin.com/news/article/7000/counterfeit-detection-december-2018/

1887 Five Pounds

Downward diagonal die crack on the top right serif of the second I in VICTORIA.

South Africa

1928SA Sovereign

https://www.ngccoin.com/news/article/5626/counterfeit-1928-south-africa-gold-soveriegn/


Coins in third-party grader holders should also be viewed with suspicion as fake holders are also known. Slabs with the below numbers have been known to contain fakes. Always use the third-party grader's website to check the images if available.

Company Number Coin
PCGS 13300247 Australia 1934-1934 Centenary Florin
PCGS 13617550 Australia 1925 Penny
PCGS 14303288 Australia 1934-1934 Centenary Florin
PCGS 14721585 Australia 1946 Penny

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