“How Do I Know If It’s Real?”

Gold bars close-up with serial numbers on them

The second most commonly asked question we receive at Bullion Trading is “how do I know if it’s real?”

This is a legitimate concern in this business. Scams in the gold and silver business have been around since ancient times.

In 2012, there was a counterfeiting scandal right here in the Diamond District that heightened customer apprehension about being sold fakes. A dealer was sold hollowed-out gold bars that were filled with tungsten, which is the substance closest in density to gold (to the trained expert, it still falls significantly short). When another customer came in to buy gold, he ended up being sold the counterfeits that were in stock. The customer was reimbursed by the dealer and the media was alerted. You can watch the news report in the video below. 

As a gold trading business, most of our inventory comes from manufacturers like PAMP but some of our supply comes from individuals who sell their personal gold to us. Dealers have to be very careful when buying gold from individuals because that gold goes back into our supply. Everything must be of acceptable quality because it may be resold to other customers. The level of discernment in buying back gold varies from business to business. Some dealers might accept badly damaged bars or coins. At Bullion Trading, we do our best to inspect the gold that we buy as well as ensure our customers that the gold they buy from us is entirely authentic. Being implicated in a counterfeit scandal, as a buyer or a seller, can have serious legal consequences.

There are several ways to ensure that the gold we’re buying and selling is real and for you, as a consumer, to confirm your purchase is legitimate.

We use a precious metal verifier machine from Sigma Metalytics, which reads the bulk metal content of a bullion or coin by measuring its electrical characteristics. However, it’s mostly dealers who are trained to read the analysis, so it can be difficult for the untrained consumer to corroborate the test results if they don’t know how the machine works. 

Buying in person from a reputable dealer allows you to test your gold and silver before you take it home. We test everything we sell right in front of the customer. This is why buying in person cannot be recommended enough. We don’t want to take the chance of being implicated in any counterfeit schemes and neither do you. So we are extra cautious about making sure our customers have confirmed that they are aware the gold and silver they’re purchasing is real. 

You can order online from a reputable dealer but it’s important to keep in mind that you don’t know who is packing and shipping the items. It’s like buying a drink in a bar— you want your drink to come directly from the bartender. There’s a chance it could be tampered with if there are unseen hands or processes that are helping it make its way to you. 

The best thing to have is a reputable dealer you trust who can eyeball your pieces for you and weigh and compare their sizes and dimensions. While a counterfeit may be similar in density, there is no substance that can mimic the weight of gold with total accuracy. The difference can be easily felt when examined by an expert. These discrepancies are only overlooked when a transaction is done in haste. 

Education is the key to being an intelligent consumer, especially when it comes to buying something that is so highly counterfeited. We try to impart as much of our 35+ years of expertise as we can to our customers so that they essentially become experts too. We are a business favored by serious private investors and we have no time to deal with scams and counterfeits. We focus on creating valuable business relationships with trust and integrity. The last thing anyone wants to do is lose money or go to jail. When you make Bullion Trading your official dealer for gold and silver, you will always have a trustworthy authority to consult to ensure your portfolio is 100% pure.