Friday, August 19, 2011

8/19/11 Report - Testing Gold Bullion Coins, Wheaties & Big Seas Coming?

Scattered Showers Over Treasure Coast Beaches Again This Morning.

I've often mentioned how many fakes or counterfeits there are these days when it comes to rare or collectible coins and how careful you have to be. I do not advise buying expensive items over the internet or eBay unless you really know your stuff and know the seller.

Brad C. sent me an email saying, The only gold you can trust in this economy is in the form of modern minted (late 1800's+) coins. Coins that are established in size and weight. Almost all gold coins are being forged now, but the only way to forge a gold coin's exact weight, and feel, is to use tungsten. Tungsten is extremely close to gold in density and gold plated tungsten can pass any cursory exam, especially in a bar, ingot, or nugget form. In the form of a minted coin, it is possible (and is being done) to use tungsten and gold plating to get an exact replica - weight wise, or size wise - but not both. If you buy a gold coin and it weighs what it should, it will be off a little from the correct size. If it is the correct size, it will be off a little on the correct weight.

There is a tool called The Fisch that you can use to test a coin. It's a flat plastic bar with an indentation the exact shape of the coin, a slot the exact width of the coin, and a fulcrum (on the bottom). The coin should fit the indentation exactly, pass through the slot exactly, and when placed in the indentation on the end of the tool, on a flat even surface, balance on the fulcrum like a seesaw. If a coin passes all three tests, it can only be gold. There are several tool sizes for common gold and silver coins. Its an extremely simple tool to spot extremely high tech forgeries.

Thanks Brad.

Here is a link if you want to learn more about the Fisch.

It costs a little, but with all of the people investing in gold coins these days, you want to know that what you buy is real.

And of course the Fisch would not work on escudos, which are all different in shape.
It only works for known gold coins that have a specific size and shape.

I noticed a wheat penny in my pocket change the other day. Old coins do occasionally show up in circulation. You can find them in your pocket or in the ground. It can be fun to check them out. And some wheat pennies can be worth hundreds of dollars.

Here is a link to an article that provides a table that gives the values for wheat pennies.

A couple of day ago I talked about diamonds and zircons. Akita sent me an email describing an additional but very technical way of identifying real diamonds.

Here is what he said.

Simply, you just drop the stone into a liquid of a known Index Of Refraction that is the same ROI as a diamond or the other mineral you suspect it of being. If it is a diamond with a IOR of 2.4, the stone will 'disappear'. Very simple nondestructive test. I'm not sure where to buy the liquids with various IOF's, but I'm sure they are out there.
I am a retired geologist and this is a way we did the testing in school.

The link is a bit technical, but all you need to see (note the chart) is that diamond and zircons are WAY different.


Here is a good article about the use of ground penetrating radar being used to survey the Ft. Laurens site in Ohio. The plan is to locate where the old structures were so that a replication of the fort can be built where it will not disturb future archaeology.

And here is a link you can use if you want to learn more about ground penetrating radar.

Treasure Coast Forecast and Conditions

Still a lot of rain showers scattered over the Treasure Coast beaches. And there is a steady string of tropical waves coming off of Africa.

The disturbance to the south of us is heading into Central America, but there are two new tropical waves in the Atlantic, both with a good chance of developing. They are still too far away to be able to predict.

Today the wind is from the west and the seas are running about two feet on the Treasure Coast, and a bit higher south of the Treasure Coast. That is expected to remain about the same until next Thursday, which is when the surf web sites are predicting seas up around six feet. As you may know, very often predictions of high seas several days out get changed. We'll have to wait and see how that prediction stands up this time.

Happy hunting,