Tungsten Silver? Fake ASE’s Discovered

eagle4Last year news that tungsten filled 10 oz PAMP gold bars surfaced on the market in NYC went viral as long rumored tungsten filled gold bars were finally confirmed to exist.
At the time, we warned readers of rumors of fake silver coins and bars likely filled with molybdenum. 

We now have an official confirmed report of tungsten molybdenum filled American Silver Eagles.


A reader of silver analyst Jeff Lewis
submitted the evidence after acquiring 15 fake ASE’s on ebay (underscoring the need to acquire your precious metals from a reputable dealer who obtains their supply directly from national mints):

Hello Dr. Jeff,

I read you newsletter often and look forward to it on silverseek  as well…

Wanted to let you and readers know, today 4/3/2013, I just received 15 ASE counterfeit fakes, year 2000 from eBay. I thought it was as good deal, also got refund :) .

I work in radiology and had x-rays taken of real and fake, the fake coin can be x-rayed through; writing clearly visualized and authentic ASE can not (a solid white blank)…some kind of alloy I suspect?… Other similar details to the article in Coin World on the fake 2011 ASE’s coins that turned up in Canada in FEB 2013)…Beware…They are out there!!!!

Face and back images are oriented same (eagle and head up, authentic are opposite) and 2000 date slightly smaller in size than authentic ASE date. Fake coin is minimally thicker and minimally smaller in diameter. Non magnetic also.

 

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The fake ASE’s are reportedly slightly underweight, year 2000 in date, and nearly perfect in appearance:

The Counterfeit:
One gram light…30.1g coin, is minimally thicker and minimally smaller in diameter. Side images are oriented same and 2000 date slightly smaller in size than authentic.

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With the US Mint unable to keep up with demand and selling ASE’s at an all-time record pace, is this a last ditch effort to dissuade investors from acquiring precious metals, and to keep their wealth in paper assets?

REAL 2013 Silver Eagles Fresh from the US Mint are available
As Low As $2.59 Over Spot at SDBullion!

 

Comments

  1. With the US Mint unable to keep up with demand and selling ASE’s at an all-time record pace, is this a last ditch effort to dissuade investors from acquiring precious metals, and to keep their wealth in paper assets?
    Is this to infer that the US mint is producing these fakes?

  2. The scale usually tells.

  3. Purchased on ebay.”
     
    Hmmm…

    • Precisely, people can buy where they want to, but I have never bought anything from anyone other than a respected dealer for just such reasons

    • CAD, I have bought lots  of stuff from private sellers with no problems or fakes.
      I always bring along a magnifying glass & magnet; thinking about buying a Fitch-tool to check coins with now.

    • stuff you touch and feel before you buy it? FIne, I’m talking buying some silver round off ebay with a marijuana leaf on one side and an ak47 on the other LOL!

    • You did read he got his money back?  So what is the problem?  Don’t buy from a place where there is guaranteed buyer protection?

    • One problem is the ‘opportunity cost’ of having time & money tied up in the botched deal.  Yes he got his money back, but did he miss out on other purchases during the interval between when he bought the fake ASE’s and when he received his refund?
       
      Another problem is the other honest people who bought fakes without realizing it.  At some point in time they will find out they’ve been ripped off but it will be too late for them to do anything about it.

  4. Look at the differences in the “U” in United…

    • Jcue81 good catch! That is a great tip!

    • Well spotted – nice n easy – I just did some checking and now I can relax :)

    • I just signed up because this article inspired me to look at my stash… I have been a reader for a couple years.  What I found is the coin above, (in this article) listed as a real 2002 is in fact not a real 2002 ASE coin.  The font gives this away, the writer should be much!!! more careful to compare apples to apples.  As this fake 2002 appears to be a fake one cannot compare a post 2007 to a 2007 and prior ASE as the fonts are DIFFERENT… Most noticeable, the 2008 and up have a foot on the on the U and the R is a standard block R.  Where as the 2007 and earlier don’t have a foot on the U and the R has a wave to it… among other differences.  I was scared #$%^&*&* at first, but after a little research on APMEX as you pull up the years prior and post 2007 you can clearly see the font difference.

    • You know I have an American Eagle from 1999 that I bought in 1999 and it has the same U as the fake one…. I would not take that as being the end-all of determining a fake from a real. 

      I will look further into the 1999 ASE I bought from the US Mint and will be surprised (and quite angry) if it is fake considering I bought it at time no one was interested in PMs.

    • @Chief, you said “Well spotted
      -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -
      Actually, it is the Canadian Maple Leafs that tend to be well-spotted.
      Lots of people have noticed spots on those coins.

    • Check out the difference othe shield. 

  5. SOOOOOOO obvioulsly fake. look at the number of stripes on the shield!

    • Yeah!  Between the “U” and the completely different stripes on the shield, this coins screams “I’m a fake” before you even Xray it or use a magnet.   Silver coins also produce a distinctive ring pitch when tapped or flipped on a table that cannot be duplicated by other metals or alloys.   They couldn’t even get the weight within 3% of 1 troy oz either.   With just a quick cursory glance, you can also see that the details on the Eagle wings and olive branch are not even close!   IMO an an xray or magnet isn’t even necessary to detect a fake, just a side by side comparison and the scale gives it away immediately.

  6. Wow.
     
    Just plain wow. Keep hearing the word, “Desperate” or “Desperation” getting tossed around.
     
    This type of thing just makes ya go—Wow! 
     
    Some kinda desperate scare tactic?
     
    Maybe it really is the end game?
     
    Wow.

     
     

    • I think you are right about the end game. I am sure you read ZH today, and everything for the last 3 days aswell says the same.

  7. @mammoth get the Fisch Tool it’s a life saver, best investment I’ve made. Expensive but worth it.

  8. ALSO, LOOK AT THE DOT BEFORE “UNITED” AND THE DOT AFTER “AMERICA
     
    IT IS THE WRONG SIZE AND SHAPE — TOO BIG !

    • Good point.  It was probably done to try to add more weight to the round.
      I really wish I could acquire fakes like these…. I like having known goods as well as known bads…. I guess I’d need to go to a coin shop and ask them if they have any fakes in the back that I could buy.

  9. Well, for what I can see, the fake hasn’t the definition of the real one. Secondly it would not pass the ping test. Thirdly molybdenum is paramagnetic (attracts a magnet as opposed to Silver which repels). Fourthly it weighs less than it should, Eagles are always over 1 oz in weight.
     
    I buy on ebay all the time, just because you take delivery, doesn’t mean you have to own or keep it. If your not happy, you’re covered by the distance sellers act, which means that if it is fake, you can get your money back, no questions asked.
     
    Come on Doc, stop trying to scare people, get your silver where you can when you can, at the cheapest price. Hopefully for you guys across the pond, the Doc will be super competitive on price. God bless capitalism. :)
     
    next!  

  10. @ The DOC – Do these counterfeit ASE’s flip on the vertical side like the US or do the flip horizontally like in Canada? I ran into some fake ASE’s that flipped horizontally.
     
     

  11. JUST READ THE ATTACHED ARTICLE FROM CANADA…. THE TAIL ON THE “U” OF UNITED WAS ONLY ADDED IN 2008, PRIOR YEARS WOULD NOT HAVE THIS TAIL.  STILL THE DOT IS A GOOD GIVEAWAY.

  12. Do any of you guys think it is possible that the governments counterfit eagles?  If they had elements that pass the weight test, magnet test, and diameter test, would we know?  How many people are cutting into eagles? 
    I can guarantee that if this did happen, they would not mess up the design on the coin like the above pics.
    It’s funny how no one here trust the government but we all trust them to not counterfit their coins….which government’s have done throughout history.

    • I would think they could produce a better fake don’t you???

    • “I would think they could produce a better fake don’t you???”
       
      That would ALL depend upon the purpose of creating the fakes in the first place.  If it is to smear the idea of people swapping fiat paper for silver, perhaps a sloppy fake that would be spotted (as in SEEN) easily would serve that purpose better than a virtually invisible fake.  Creating fakes to cheat people and get extra money seems like a zero probability event but creating fakes as part of a campaign to impugn PMs seems a much higher probability… to me, anyway.  If they did this, it would not be the first time that TPTB took a dump on PMs.

  13. Does anybody here ever look at the 24-hr specials on the APMEX website?
    With the recent drop in PM prices they really seem to be trotting out all those
    dogs that they can not sell.  For example today they are discounting graded First
    Spouse coins (Why do US Presidents always marry ugly hags?), then there are those
    awful colorized chinese coins, Canadian coins that you’ve never heard of, etc.
     
    But at least these are not fakes!  LOL

    • “Why do US Presidents always marry ugly hags?”
       
      They don’t but after 30-40 years of high mileage living, time does not always treat people kindly.  This is why we have the cultural event known as “the trophy wife”.  ;-)

  14. The best ASE visual test for me, besides the obverse flip is:
    On the top and slightly to the right of centre next to the peak of the shield, a tiny piece of the eagle’s chest/breast feather should show atop the ridge of the shield, all the fakes seem to miss this, and on a fake the shield will always be unobstructed by the tiny piece of feather.
    So NO feather on shield=FAKE
     

  15. Counterfeit FIAT from the Fed- sure.
      Counterfeit ASEs from the mint?
      Not likely.
    But when the mint shuts down, those people who want ASEs will go anywhere to acquire them  Most are unaware or unable to tell the diff.  The scarcity of ASEs will draw bad players and people who are anxious to buy when the buying is good, particularlywhen real or  rumored pseudo scarcity abounds
    Whether its toilet paper, gas or ASEs, people will throw caution to the wind on these supplies

    • Agreed, AG.  National mints MUST maintain an air of complete trust.  If they ever minted fake coins, sold them as the real thing, and got caught doing it, their rep would be toast and their coin sales would fall faster than Donald Trump’s hair without mousse.

  16. I do not doubt fakes were found but those pics do not look like the fake ASE 2000′s I have seen.  The feathers on the eagle look right.  I wonder why they did not show the front of the coin….  The flag is the dead give away.

    The fakes come from China. I have a student that ordered some ASEs and Krugerrands and they are obvious fakes.

  17. Expect fakes were produced buy U.S. Gov’t.  Time, effort, and expense it would take to make a fake ASE probably costs more than a real ASE.  Very easy to detect a fake ASE anyways as pointed out in other posts.  Only our own Gov’t would have the motivation to counterfeit their own coin.(see $100 bill Super Notes)  Criminals would stick to bullion rounds because the penalties are far less if you get caught.  Anything to suppress the real demand for silver eagles.  

  18. Has anyone cut one of these coins in half (with a hacksaw) , to expose the layer of moly (or whatever else it is ) ?
     
    It would be interesting to see.

  19. It’s an obvious fake just from the font they’ve used. You wouldn’t even need to get the scales out to see that it’s a shoddy copy.

  20. Wow,  I am going to add to this conspiracy some more.  In my possession, I have an 05 ASE with the “U” without the little tail.  If you look at the “REAL” photo, you will notice the “U” has a tail.  I then went to ebay, and google photos, and looked up 2000 ASE and came up with this.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/2000-Silver-Eagle-Brilliant-Uncirculated-Gem-coin-/271181166174?pt=Bullion_US&hash=item3f23a8365e

    The Dots before United and after America look good, the shield looks good. Here is my confusion, on this website, IS THE REAL “REAL”
    or did I find a FAKE ON EBAY and on google photos.

    • With pre-1965 circulated US Silver coins, there is no question about their authenticity.
      Keep that on mind the next time you are foaming at the mouth, wanting to pull the trigger on yet another fistful of ASE’s.

    • Hello; I know they changed the “U” in 2008. If you have a 2008 W SAE with a 2007 Back, it sells for $300+.   The real tell sign of the fake is the “W” mint mark.  they did not make a 2000 SAE with the “W” Mint mark. But that does not answer your question about 2005. Maybe the font changes every few years?

    • Pre 65 coins can be faked to. I’m holding in my hand a 1937 quarter that is jet black with patina and weights 4.44gr. I’m not saying its a recent fake, for all I know this was faked in 1938 because $0.25 was worth something back then, but they do exist.

  21. Molybdenum has a melting point of 2623C, so nobody is going to cast it. It’s most probably going to be shaped through powder metallurgy. Also one has to keep in mind that to fake the coin one would have to make a core of compacted molybdenum and then dip it in silver. Too much work. I’m guessing this story is fake. 
    Also Molybdenum has a density of 10.28g/cc while pure silver has a density of 10.49g/cc. Molybdenum has a density closer to 90% silver rather than pure silver. So it would be very tough to tell a molybdenum bar/coin and a 90% silver bar/coin through density test, but quite easy for pure silver.
    Always do the archimedes density test to test whatever bullion you buy. All one needs is a good balance!

    • I agree it is way too time and money consuming to dupe ASEs. I use a Fisch tool. You can dupe weight, diameter, and width, but not all 3 together…

    •  
       
      Actually Pbppbp, it is possible to dupe all 3 together, weight, diameter, and width.  All it would take would be a PROPERLY composed alloy.  It would however be impossible to dupe all 4, weight, diameter, width, and composition. 
      Composition is easy to check due to Ag’s unique elemental properties, namely being THE MOST thermally conductive.  No need to do an x-ray test if you have access to some ice cubes for the ice cube test. 
      Keep in mind checking composition will just tell you if it is silver…it could still be a .999 fine non-government issued round… 

    • @maxblockm thanks a lot bro. Never heard of this test before. Just checked the list of thermal conductivity for metals. Silver is a whopping 235(Btu/(hr oF ft)), closely followed by copper 223, both higher than gold at 182. Molybdenum at 81, Tungsten at 100. Silver is the BEST CONDUCTOR OF HEAT. I’m guessing the ice test can be used for both silver and gold to determine if at all there is any molybdenum of tungsten. But thermal conductivity test cannot be used to test composition for silver+copper or gold+copper alloys since copper itself is a very good conductor of heat. Ironically steel has one of the lowest thermal conductivity (between 10-25) and is the main material used for boilers. So yes, a weight loss in water density test, followed by an ice thermal conductivity test, will pretty much 100% rule out any possible fakes. Impossible to fake composition+density. 

  22. A Silver Eagle weighs precisely 1.07 Troy Ounce. A silver Eagle does not weigh 1/16 of a pound or a standard ounce.
    Using a Fisch ASE Sizer and if it passes the test and weighs precisely 1.07 Troy ounce…..You have nothing to worry about.

  23. I can’t imagine how bad this crap will get once silver really breaks loose. I don’t put it past the bankers to be the instigating force behind the counterfeiting. After all, who has the most and longest experience at it? With silver booted down the basement steps, how much ‘profit’ can there be in the effort and risk? Not enough, unless there’s a bigger stake to defend with the ploy.

  24. Can someone explain to me why Canadian Maples don’t ping. It’s driving me nuts. Every other coin on the planet, ping…and you get that lovely cymbal tone that only silver can produce. Except…Canadian Maples.

    • They do ping! Try again. Even 80% pre 1967 canadian coincs ping! Altough  I may be biased. I find canadian maples more attractive than ASE’s. I have many maples and you do get the odd one with milk spots that develop, however they are .9999 pure and look really great stacked up. I find ASE’s are a little dull, but I like to own a bit of everything.

    • My Canadian 1oz silver maples dont’t ping. They make the right pitch, but don’t have any sustain. I don’t understand it. Unless both of mine are fake ? 
       

      Yeah I know Canadian pre 1967 coins ping, I love 50 cent coins. By the way I’m a Brit, we tend to stick to Britannia’s and sovereigns. I got some ASE’s but to be honest compared to Morgan and Peace dollars, I find them boring.

    • @WaitingForSilver
      Molybdenum(the silver fake material), or Tungsten(the gold fake material) are extremely hard and cannot be imprinted with the fine details that one gets to see in a gold, silver or even copper coins. Also Molybdenum and Tungsten have extremely high melting points and hence they usually aren’t cast, but instead their powders are compacted and sintered by the powder metallurgy technique to give the solid material. Even if one has to fake the coin they have to make a core from a cheaper material, for silver this could be anything from copper,nickel,molybdenum to lead. Nickel is weakly magnetic so a magnet test should give it away. Eventually the fake core has to be dipped in a gold or silver molten bath to give the coin. All this requires too much work for a 30$ silver or even a 1600$ gold coin. The fake has to exactly match the dimensions of the real thing, which would require extreme precision.
      Electroplating is a very weak technique to fake as the deposited silver or gold is only a few microns thick. 
      Molybdenum’s density 10.28 is quite significantly different from pure silver 10.49g/cc although very close to 90% silver around 10.3g/cc. Copper and nickel are at 8.9g/cc and lead at 11.34g/cc.
      So get a good balance with .01 gram precision. suspend the coin midwater with a thread. (weight in air)/(loss of weight in water) should give you the density. If the measured density is lesser or greater than 10.49g/cc then you have to be worried. 
      Also with gold the density is same as tungsten but I can’t see how one could successfully counterfeit a coin weighing less than 1/2 ounce or a 10gram coin with tungsten.Would be extremely difficult. Gold bars 50gms and above are a serious concern though and must be avoided as they could be made with a core of tungsten. 
      Regarding fake silver I’m guessing the most common material would be copper plated with silver which should be an easy giveaway if you do the density test.

    • Ping is very subjective IMO…too subjective for a reliable testing method…

  25. Avoid 74 by buying 79 @ 90% in dimes!

  26. Typical chinese crappy copy (souvenir coin). Tons of the stuff out there, bars, rounds, 90%… can buy it off the internet cheap

  27. An interesting development in the precious metals market is the largest Dutch bank, ABN Amro, has said that they will no longer be providing physical delivery of precious metals including gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bullion coins and bars.
    ABN AMRO, one of the largest banks in Europe announced in a letter to clients that it would no longer allow clients to take delivery of their metal and instead will pay account holders in a paper currency equivalent to the current spot value of the precious metal.
    Thus, instead of legally owning a risk free, physical asset (a bullion bar or a bullion coin), the bank’s clients are now unsecured creditors and are now exposed to the bank and the financial system – somewhat defeating the purpose of owning precious metals.

  28. Counterfeiting of US currency will get you investigated.   I know it’s only a dollar.  Fifteen bucks in this case.  The secret service takes it kind of personally.

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