Sadigh Gallery: How to Authenticate Coins
You slowly pull out your newly purchased ancient coin, treating it as though it’s a delicate secret you’ve kept hidden for more than 10,000 years. As the light above you strikes the coin, you see the coin glisten, and your heart leaps. (You can’t help the excited history buff in you.) However, your fellow comrade closely examines the coin and then utters three words that make you feel as though your heart has deflated: “It’s not real.” How exactly can you prevent this travesty from happening again? Here are a few tips for authenticating ancient artifacts such as coins, according to leading ancient artifact provider Sadigh Gallery.
General Characteristics of Coin Fakes Include the Presence of a Seam
First, let’s take a look at some of the general characteristics of counterfeit ancient coins. First, you may notice a seam along the edge, which is an indicator that the coin might be cast. If you see that the edge has a flan-crack, see if this crack goes through your coin completely. Also, check to see if it’s ragged, which is a positive sign, or if it is smooth, which means it was likely cut. Cast coins oftentimes have flan-cracks that go halfway through their edges and then appear again on the opposite side.
A counterfeit coin’s surfaces may feature pits from air bubbles that formed as the coin hardened. Meanwhile, on an authentic ancient coin, the fields features no pitting unless there is porosity throughout the entire coin. Also, take a look at the coin’s high points to see if you notice any pitting there specifically. This is definitely a sign that your coin might be cast.
If you see that the metal has been crystallized (which you’ll most easily notice on the coin’s edges), this is oftentimes a good sign of authenticity. However, a trained eye is needed to tell the difference between crystallization and corrosion caused by acids used to attempt artificial aging. Furthermore, if you notice small waves in a gold coin’s fields, this is good news, as these waves indicate the metal’s flow lines from when the die struck the coin.
A Look at Sharpness
You’ll likely notice that a counterfeit coin’s details lack sharpness and are usually softened. With an authentic coin, however, the fine details and lettering will be well formed and crisp. The letters’ sizes should also be uniform. Furthermore, under magnification, you should see that the letters’ edges are just as worn as the remainder of the coin is. If this is not the case, you have a counterfeit on your hands, so to speak.
Gold and silver coins will almost always be the wrong weights if the coins are counterfeit. Standard references for these types of coins can tell you what these coins should generally weigh.
Style Matters, Too
Be sure to take a peek at how an ancient coin’s mouth, nose, eye, and hair images are treated. Are they similar to published examples? Forgers have a tendency to also misrepresent the postures of the figures they place on their coins.
By taking into consideration the above tips, you can easily avoid purchasing counterfeit coins in the future.