Beware: Gold-Plated Coins Abound On The Market



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All that glitters isn’t always solid gold.

That’s the message that many coin collectors need to heed when shopping for gold coins.

While the United States Mint and many other mints around the world — both public and private — strike solid gold coins (like the American Gold Eagle, the Canadian Maple Leaf, and the South African Krugerrand), there are several offers for ‘gold’ coins that really are only gold-plated.

When shopping for gold coins, make sure you’re buying ‘solid’ gold and not ‘gold-plated’ coins.

Also, beware the words 24K or 24K gold plating. 24K looks high and mighty on paper, but in the end if it’s only gold plating, then you still aren’t really buying a solid gold coin.

By the way, gold-plated coins have only a very tiny fraction of the value of a real gold coin.

Joshua

I'm the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I'm a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I'm also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I've contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I've authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!

4 thoughts on “Beware: Gold-Plated Coins Abound On The Market

  1. Actually, gold-plated fakes are not only easy to spot, but quite rare. Simple tests can determine its metal content and authenticity. A gold coin is very heavy, non-ferromagnetic and has specific size, weight and density characteristics.

    Learn to know the differences, then reap the rewards of owning an asset that’s rare, private, fungible and easily transferable.

    1. The 24K coins are COLLECTORS COINS and not meant to be 100 percent gold. So they are NOT fakes. They are made as limited edition collectables that will have value as they will be rare in the future and collectors would pay a lot for them. It is against the law and unethical for ANY coin being sold at a mint to not have value regardless of if it is 100 percent gold or not. i work at the Denver mint and have for 17 years. I also collect coins, and I love JFK items, so I get all of those when they are released, and many are rare items where they only make a few thousand often.

      1. Hi, JV —

        This article neither states that gold-plated coins are necessarily fakes, nor that they aren’t collectible in their own right. Rather, the article is focused on warning individuals who buy these pieces thinking they are solid-gold issues.

        It happens frequently, especially with TV and general readership magazine advertisements that pitch rounds that are based on popular coin designs seen on traditional gold issues. Take, for example, the $50 gold Buffalo coin, which the U.S. Mint issues as a 24-karat piece but has been replicated by a private mint in gold-plated format. While the voiceover in the TV spot swiftly mentions the advertised piece is gold plated, the ad can be very easily misconstrued by numismatically uneducated individuals as offering a solid-gold reissue of the $50 gold coin. I’ve heard of too many folks who have made that mistake and are disappointed to learn their gold-plated Buffalo coins are worth only $1 or $2.

        Thank you for your comments, and I hope my reply helps clarify my perspective in this article.

        Best,
        Josh

  2. We all know gold plated is not 100 percent gold. They are still real collectible coins. The point of buying those is they are COLLECTORS COINS and STILL have value, like the JFK 24k gold plated coins. ONLY a few are made of each design, and they can still be a worth a lot in collectors values in the future. That is the point of those. Only an idiot would not know 24k is not a 100 percent gold coin. That does NOT make them any less valuable and important, especially when they are made in limited printings. It is like the JFK forever stamp in the limited edition full sheet framed first day of issue collectable item and first day of issue stamp with envelope. Those are limited printings so they will have value.

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