If you are in the process of preparing for a wonderful adventure into the world of collecting silver coins, you probably already know that silver coins provide excellent investment value. However, the market it rife with counterfeit coins, so it's important to guard against being duped by an unscrupulous dealer. Following are six coin collecting accessories that will help you craft a valuable collection of authentic coins.
A Good Handbook
Investing in a good coin collecting guide or two can help you avoid many of the initial mistakes that new collectors make. A Guidebook of United States Coins is published on an annual basis and has served as the gold standard for coin collectors for 70 years, Although there are many other good publications available, and makes an indispensable foundation for your library of coin collection literature.
A Jeweler's Loupe
A jeweler's loupe is a magnifying tool that allows you to closely examine coins for any signs that they might not be the real deal. A good jeweler's loupe need not be expensive—you can probably purchase one from Amazon, eBay, or other online retailer for around five dollars. Get one that offers at least 10x magnification.
A Neodymium Magnet
Because silver isn't a magnetic metal, you can use a Neodymium magnet to determine whether a coin is made primarily from silver or is in fact fashioned from other metals. Magnets will not easily stick to silver coins or other items made from silver. If someone is trying to sell you a coin they're claiming is made of silver, using this type of magnet is a great way to quickly test their claims.
A Mentor Experienced
Coin collectors make invaluable mentors for those just starting out. Your local coin shop is an excellent place to begin your search for a helpful mentor, and their may be organizations in your area for coin enthusiasts. If these aren't available, don't give up—many coin collectors love to help out novices, so join an online community dedicated to coins if one doesn't exist in your current geographical area.
A simple test for determining the silver content of a coin is to place an ice cube on top of it and see how fast it melts. The fact that ice melts faster on silver than on other substances is so well-known that Volkswagen actually started adding silver to their windshields to help the ice melt faster. To get some perspective, place another cube of ice on another surface as compare the melting times.
The Ping Test
If you've got good hearing and the ability to deliver a gentle tap to a hard object using your finger, you can use the ping test to determine whether a coin is made from real silver or is a fake. Hold the coin between your thumb and forefinger, give it a tap, and listen closely for the resulting sound. If you hear a sharp, high-pitched bell sound, you may have just struck silver. However, if your efforts produce a dull sound, you could be dealing with a fake.
Keep in mind that there are many silver dollars, half-dollars, quarters, and dimes that may not be made from silver yet still have good market value for other reasons, such as being minted in limited editions or having uncirculated status. Nonetheless, if someone's telling you that a coin is silver and indications exist that it isn't, chances are very good that it has little value to collectors.
Reach out to companies like American Precious Metals Inc for more tips and tricks on getting started on your quest to create an authentic silver coin collection.