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A New Way to Verify the Authenticity of Morgan Silver Dollars

Fake Silver Dollars

While we’ve previously touched on the topic of fake silver dollars and how to identify them, a recent article in the Auburn Journal is a reminder that there are still plenty of replica silver dollars floating around in the market.  In the Auburn Journal article, the writer makes reference to deeply discounted Morgan silver dollars that a customer bought from an eBay seller in China.  While there are plenty of reputable coin dealers selling coins online, we recommend that you stick with well-established U.S. companies, as your chances of receiving a full refund in the unlikely event you encounter any issues are much greater.

Of course, it’s always best to purchase Morgan silver dollars, or any coin for that matter, in person, as this gives you the opportunity to inspect the coins in person prior to your purchase and take immediate delivery of the items.  In the event that you have any questions as to if the silver dollars you’re purchasing are authentic, don’t hesitate to ask the coin dealer with whom you’re dealing to confirm for you the authenticity.  This can be done by measuring the diameter and width of the coin, weighing it, and applying a magnet to it.  Another good test is the silver dollar fake coin detector from Fisch Instruments.

The above efforts will certainly help to reduce the chances of accidentally purchasing a fake silver dollar, but if you can have the metal composition of the coin confirmed through an X-ray spectrometer or an electronic precious metals tester, you’ll greatly improve your chances of acquiring an authentic coin.  Up until recently, the price of an electronic precious metals tester was in the thousands of dollars; oftentimes exceeding $10,000.  Unless you’re a large investor in precious metals, such an investment isn’t financially feasible.

Fortunately, obtaining an accurate electronic assay of your Morgan silver dollars is now within reach for many investors.  We recently picked up a precious metals verifier from Sigma Metalytics, and thus far are pleased with our purchase.  The precious metals verifier works best on larger coins, such as one ounce American gold and silver eagles, Morgan silver dollars and other one ounce gold and silver coins, but we have also had success in testing smaller denomination coins.  Thus far we have received the best readings when we have placed a raw coin on the machine or when we’ve used one of the wands on a raw coin, but it also seems to do a decent job of confirming the precious metals content of coins encapsulated in hard plastic cases.  Again, the larger the coin, the more accurate the reading.

We purchased the complete package, including the small wand, large wand and bullion wand.  The bullion wand will come in handy, as we purchase a large number of 100 oz silver bars.  While most of the bars we purchase are from well-known private manufacturers, we do occasionally purchase large generic silver bars and will feel more comfortable with these purchases in the future.  The benefit of the bullion wand is that it can verify the metal content of various items at nearly twice the depth as the standard wands, which can help to identify fake gold and silver bars that have a thick outer plating.

Please note that we aren’t currently a representative of Sigma Metalytics nor are we receiving any type of compensation for our recommendation.  Rather, we just wanted to share this relatively new device with our loyal readers in hopes that it will reduce the chances of acquiring a high quality fake Morgan silver dollar or bullion coin.  Let us know your personal experience with the device and if you agree with our assessment.

Tony Davis
Tony Davis
Tony Davis is the owner of Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers, a full service Atlanta based coin and bullion dealer specializing in buying, selling and appraising coins and coin collections of all types and sizes. Tony frequently writes on various economic and numismatic related topics affecting the coin and bullion markets and has been published on some of the industry’s leading websites, including Coin Week, the American Numismatic Association, Coin Collector, Coinflation, and Coin Auctions Help, just to name a few. Visit Atlanta Gold & Coin’s website at to obtain additional information on the products, services and educational resources offered by his company. Tony can be reached at or at 404-236-9744
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