The biggest trap that new bullion investors and coin collectors fall into is being duped into purchasing fake silver coins or bullion pieces. In the past, it was pretty easy to determine what’s real and what’s not, but now with technology as advanced as it is, fakes and forgeries have gotten really good.
For this reason, you need to get good at identifying them too. There is no single test that will give you a definitive answer whether an individual coin is authentic or not, but there are lots of tests which if done in conjunction with one another can get you to that final answer.
Testing Your Precious Metals with Magnets
While we’ve talked about acid testing your precious metals in the past, the test that we’re focusing on here is called the magnet slide test. The magnet slide test is a test in which you literally create a slide (yes, think playground slide) out of strong neodymium magnets and then slide your coin or bar down it. If the magnet sticks, you know it’s fake. If it slides down quickly, as though there were no magnets at all, it’s fake as well.
Though a real piece of silver (or gold, for that matter) is not magnetic in the traditional sense (i.e. it will not stick to a magnet), it is what’s called “diamagnetic” and therefore exhibits some magnetic properties. In this case, the coin will slide down the magnetic slide slowly, like molasses.
Sounds simple, right? Wrong. Since copper also exhibits diamagnetic properties, one can get fooled by certain fakes.
Take a look at the video I made about this and learn the nuances!