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Showing posts with label Gold. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gold. Show all posts

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Simple Home Tests to Determine Whether Your Bullion Is Real or Fake

"Here is a very informative article from one of my readers. Jerrell asked if I would post it in efforts to help readers identify whether or not your precious metals are real. Jerrell is from Money Metals Exchange. Money Metals Exchange, is the national precious metals dealer that was just voted #1 in the U.S., partly because they publish a large amount of high-quality content."                                                                                                                                                -Urban Man

Simple Home Tests to Determine Whether Your Bullion Is Real or Fake

Just about all bullion investors worry about counterfeits. Those concerns are magnified when someone is buying for the first time. Stories about fake coins from Asia and gold bars drilled and filled with Tungsten have been in the headlines recently. But the truth is, counterfeiting is just about as old as the concept of money itself.

Fortunately, making phony coins or bars isn't easy. The equipment involved is significant – it takes far more than a color printer and the right paper. And making fakes good enough to pass a few simple tests is darn near impossible.

Some testing equipment, such as mass spectrometers and sonogram machines, are expensive and impractical for the typical person to use.

However, here are some lower budget ways you can determine whether or not the bullion you hold is genuine:
Size and Weight

Gold and silver are extraordinarily dense metals – much denser than just about any base metal (even lead and mercury in the case of gold). That means just about all fakes that weigh correctly will be too large in diameter and/or thickness. Or they will be underweight in order to achieve the right diameter and thickness. Simply comparing the diameter and thickness of the coin in question with others known to be genuine could be enough to put you at ease.

If not, an inexpensive set of calipers and a jeweler's scale are a good way of checking. Every coin or round is produced with close tolerances in terms of diameter, thickness, and weight. You can find these dimensions on the “Specifications” tab on our coin and round product pages.

Investors might also consider Fisch Testers. Genuine coins will be both small enough in diameter and thin enough to fit through a slot in the tool, while remaining heavy enough to tip the tool on its 
fulcrum. Simple and very effective.

Sound or “Ping” Testing

Authentic gold and silver coins chime when struck and the difference is notable versus base metals.

Base metal coins will sound duller and their ring will be shorter -- much like the difference between clinking crystal versus glass champagne flutes.

Try balancing the coin on your fingertip and strike it with another coin. This video provides a good demonstration.

Investors with an iPhone can also install the CoinTrust application and test a short list of the most popular gold and silver coins by gently spinning them on a hard surface with the phone’s microphone positioned nearby.

Android users can install the Bullion Test app. Choose the coin from a drop down list, press the microphone button, then balance the coin on your fingertip and strike it with a fingernail or another coin. Results are instant and accurate.


The above video on ping testing also references another simple technique for using a magnet to identify fakes. Gold and silver are non-magnetic. Placing a strong magnet on a coin and tipping it to watch whether the magnet slides off, as it should, or sticks, like it would to a counterfeit, requires only an inexpensive magnet and a few seconds. (Note that some base metals used in counterfeiting are also non-magnetic, so we suggest doing this in conjunction with some other techniques listed.)

Thermal Conductivity Testing for Silver

Silver is one of the best conductors of thermal energy found in nature. That makes it easy to test silver bullion using nothing more than an ice cube. Place an ice cube on top of a silver bar, coin, or round, and you should see it begin melting almost instantly as heat is quickly transferred. Holding a coin or round between fingers or in the palm of your hand makes the results even more noticeable as the silver rapidly cools to your touch.

Acid Testing

Investors can purchase inexpensive acid test kits for gold and silver. Watching the color change in a drop of acid can reveal whether or not a sample is genuine. However, acids should be handled carefully. Your items can be permanently discolored.

Since bullion coins, rounds, and bars are valued for their metal content, not their beauty, discoloration is unlikely to reduce the value of your bullion by more than a small amount. But it’s still wise to use acid testing sparingly and with caution.

A Word about Tungsten Fakes

Some of the hardest to detect counterfeit gold products involve tungsten. Tungsten’s density is close to that of gold, and it is relatively inexpensive. Here are some of the best ways to avoid problems:
Avoid large gold bars. 10-ounce and larger gold bars are among the easiest to tamper with as they can be drilled, filled with tungsten, and then plugged again with gold. This is more difficult with units 1 oz and smaller. Tungsten is extraordinarily hard whereas gold is soft. This means tungsten is very difficult to use in minting or fabricating small items. It is brittle, and stamping it with a design will result in coins with less detail unless it has been plated with a thick layer of gold.

Ring testing as outlined above should still offer defense against tungsten fakes.

If the deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Never buy gold bullion below its melt value unless you know and trust its origins.

Buy silver. No metal shares a similar density to silver, making it even more difficult to make good counterfeits than with gold. Plus, the financial incentive is lower.

Recently some of the more prominent mints and refiners have begun employing technology to mark products with seals that assure authenticity. For example, Sunshine Minting rounds and bars carry a seal that reads “VALID” when viewed using their proprietary lens and oriented correctly.

Investors can expect this sort of technology to be more widely used in the coming years. (Note: the lens carries a cost of around $20.00 and needs to be purchased separately from the metal itself.)

As mentioned above, the best defense against fake bullion is to buy from a reputable dealer. Money Metals Exchange sources products directly from well-regarded mints and refiners and employs good quality controls. That is why we can confidently stand behind every product we sell – guaranteeing authenticity, weight, and purity.

Clint Siegner is a Director at Money Metals Exchange, perhaps the nation's fastest-growing dealer of low-premium precious metals coins, rounds, and bars. Siegner, a graduate of Linfield College in Oregon, puts his experience in business management along with his passion for personal liberty, limited government, and honest money into the development of Money Metals' brand and reach. This includes writing extensively on the bullion markets and their intersection with policy and world affairs.

"Urban Man says buyer beware!"

Urban Man

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Currency Re-Set Coming? Economic Collapse on the Horizon? Prepare with Gold and Silver

More opinion from Bob Rinear from an article called "Personal Reset Survival".   I did not include the entire article. The beginnings of it talked about governmental currency and the Fed. I thought his comments on holding Gold and Silver would be of interest to Survival Preppers even though many of you do not think holding precious metals are a high priority. I understand that most people simply cannot afford Gold - neither can I. None of us cannot afford NOT to own some precious metal and that draws us to Silver, however I hope Rinear's comments will have some of you re-think the possibility of getting some smaller weight Gold coins.

Very few people own gold. VERY few. The bankers like that. The raids they’ve done on the paper futures to drive prices down, have sent most of the “make believe” gold holders sell out and forget it. This isn’t an accident. They don’t want a lot of folks holding a lot of gold, because when the reset comes, they’ll benefit “too much” from having a big stash. They’d like it better for you to have your silly paper currency and nothing else. This is why I believe that to this day, gold and to a smaller extent silver is the single best thing you can do to help yourself through this upcoming period.

The problem for most people is simply the price. The Average guy wants to own some gold he knows it’s the right thing to do. But he can’t cough up the 1300 bucks needed to buy an ounce. This is why most people tend to go with silver. It is still cheap enough to where you can buy a pretty hefty amount for not too much money. Will silver do well? Yes I think so. I’ve said for years, that its got 70 dollars an ounce in it if not more such as 100. But it will be gold that makes the biggest move, and be the most desirable.

While silver is still used in coinage around the globe, all trade between nations concerning gold is done by LBMA certified currency grade gold. Most people don’t understand that. They think that if they have some US gold coins or Canadian maple leafs, that these are what governments would use to settle debts. This isn’t true. It all has to be smelted down, refined to 999.9 and certified by the LBMA. This is an incredible purity, done under very strict guidelines. Each step of the process is monitored and recorded. Oh and by the way, it “costs” more. One of the questions that we get a lot is “what should I buy, coins, bullion, rounds?” My answer is fairly simple. If you’re talking about silver, you want one-ounce “eagles”. They’re without doubt the single most recognized coin you could have.

But in gold, it’s a bit of a different story. With gold costing 1300 dollars an ounce, it is 1) hard for the average person to buy much of it if any at all, and 2) as far as using it as a true currency, the unit is “too big” to be practical. In other words, let’s say that all hell breaks loose, things get really ugly for a period. Well you still need to buy “stuff” whether it’s food, or fuel or an axe. What are you going to do, hand over a one ounce gold coin for some canned beans? No, that doesn’t work.

So in Gold I suggest buying the smallest recognized coins you can get. Will you pay a premium for that? You bet. Just like a pint of milk costs more per ounce than a gallon. But I’d rather pay for a “good” with a 1.10th ounce coin. So, in our way of thinking, holding silver eagles and small weight gold coins is good “survival” tactics. For holdings beyond that which you would use for emergency money, then you would consider one ounce gold coins, and bulk silver.

We do NOT buy numismatic coins as the bulk of their “value” is what someone says it’s worth, versus the metal content. That can vary too widely for us. I believe the reset is coming. I believe the Chinese are pushing for and demanding it and they carry enough weight now to make it happen. I think their push to hoard up so much gold is to try and percent back the Yuan with gold, and thus make the renminbi (the official currency) attractive enough to carry a good weighting in the new SDR’s. I think that when it happens, gold and silver will be allowed to rise to all new highs. I have to believe, having some of both is the single best thing we can do.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Gold and Silver News

While there is continuing debate in the Survival-Prepper circles about the value of having silver and gold bullion, and silver coins for melt or barter value on hand for when the dollar or economic collapse occurs,....and it is apearing more and more likely that it is a question of "when" and not "if", is still a good idea, even if you do not subscribe to having precious metals, to keep on top of what is occuring in the gold and silver market.   

American Eagle gold bullion coin sales jump, by Kerry Hall, March 9, 2013 on

The US Mint sold 80,500 ounces of American Eagle gold bullion coins during February compared to 21,000 ounces the previous year in that month for a 283% increase, reports Mineweb.

In the first two months of 2013, sales were up 56% compared to the same period last year.

Overall, total gold coin sales for January and February were 430,500 ounces. During the same months last year, sales were 124,500 ounces.

January 2013 made the record book at sixth place with gold coin sales of 124,500 ounces.

For American Eagle silver bullion coins, reported sales were 3,368,500 ounces during the second month of the year. That's 126% more than the same month last year.

For January and February, silver coin sales were 10,866,500 ounces — up 43% from 2012 when 7,597,000 ounces were sold.

Will we see a silver breakout in 2013? from the Gold Report, March 13, 2013 on

Silver has been trading sideways so far in 2013, but what will the rest of the year bring? Will 2013 be the year silver prices break out or crash and burn?

What is a sustainable silver price for mining companies and where will the metal come from to supply the next generation of industrial and investment demand? Most important, how can investors make money off this volatile sector?

These were the burning questions The Gold Report took to analysts, money managers and heads of silver mining companies. The answers may surprise you.

One of the world's biggest silver investors, Eric Sprott, pointed to the availability ratio between silver and gold for why the metal price could jump from $30/ounce ($30/oz) to as high as $200/oz as he predicted in a recent radio interview.

He quotes statistics that show once the industrial use of silver and gold is subtracted from the production and recycling new supply calculations, three times more silver is available for purchase each year than gold. However sales of gold and silver at the U.S. Mint, through exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and Sprott's own Physical Trust, show that investors are buying many multiples more silver than gold and have been for years.

Sprott firmly believes that outsized demand in such a relatively small market ($9 trillion for gold and $150 million for silver) will result in price inflation. "We are surprised that the price of silver has remained at such a depressed level compared to gold. Historically, the price ratio between gold and silver has been 16:1. Today the ratio is 55:1, so what are the numbers telling us? We believe this is one of those times when smart investors will be well rewarded if they follow the money."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Too Late for Gold and Silver?

Too Late for Gold and Silver? I get that a lot. People write me saying buying Gold and Silver are worthless or at best will only have value if someone accepts these precious metals for commodities. Many people write me advocating the purchase and stockage of guns, ammunition and food rather than Gold and Silver.

From my perspective, and considering the capabilities of the common person, anybody preparing for any kind of collapse – nuclear attack, dollar collapse, economic or infrastructure collapse, must consider all aspects of preparation from guns, ammunition, food, viable water supply and sources, transportation, gear and equipment,…and,…precious metals. Not to have any quantity of Gold or Silver is to leave a hole in your survival preparations.

I get that people are scared off by the costs of silver or more so Gold. Purchasing Gold and Silver as a survival asset has to compete with all other aspects of survival and most often places second, third or is not considered on the priority of purchases. That needs to change. Even if you can only afford $30 worth of junk silver coins (for silver melt value) or one ounce silver round, then get started today.

Mike Maloney from the ElevationGroup TV produced a video called “Is It Too Late To Buy Gold and Silver? This is a good education on paper money and how Fed policies influence how the dollar collapse will happen.

Watch more on

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Economic Collapse: Watch Out For QE3

QE3 is of course Quantitative Easing Round Three, where more fiat currency is printed further devaluing the current paper money in circulation and necessarily causing prices to inflate because the dollar is worth less. Once QE3 is announced or actually executed,.....expect the latter since the Government and the Fed have taken secrecy from the people to new heights,....precious metals will go up, particularly Gold.

In fact, when the major central banks launched a joint action to provide emergency U.S. dollar loans to banks in Europe, which put more money (not backed by anything but some politician's word) there became a rush to buy equities and commodities that would survive inflation and Gold rose $30 an ounce.

As 2011 ends, the four FED governors will be replaced and most analysts figure that the next four will be much more liberal in their monetary policies. QE3 will probably be snuck in, money created from air, without much publicity; and the present incredible low interest rates will climb as the dollar devalues. This will incite the $16.4 trillion Federal Debt to explode and the U.S. will be all probability start the slide to become like Greece. So the smart people are buying precious metals ahead of the very probable QE3.

It shouldn't end there for Survivalist. Everything will go up in price,... excepting your pay checks. The smart idea is to procure now what you can, because as the interest rates rise, the beginning of the dollar collapse begins. Scary times my friends. They will likely become much more scary in early 2012.

I am not advocating going into debt to purchase vehicles or property at the current low interest rates, although I know a couple people who are rationalizing that they would rather have new, reliable vehicles for a Bug Out
than to try and procure one when the interest rates are higher and the dollar buys less.  I'm not going to do that.  I'll continue on the same rate, maybe just step it up a notch, on procuring long stay food items and perhaps more Silver. 

2012 is going to be ugly.  Be prepared.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Copper: The Other Precious Metal?

Received an e-mail from Henry who wrote: "What do you think about savings pennies for their copper value. One of my friends told me that the one cent penny is now worth 5 cents as copper scrap metal."

UrbanMan reply: Henry, you wrote me over three weeks ago and to be frank I did not think I would reply, until I saw a recent article on the internet talking about potential legislation in Congress that may result in the abolishment of the penny as currency. Until then, and only then can pennies be legally melted down for their copper value.

But not all pennies are made of copper. Pennies made in 1982 or earlier have 95% copper. Pennies since then are made mostly from zinc. The current value of a copper penny is around 2 1/2 cents.

Copper has a lot of scrap value, otherwise you would not be seeing copper related thefts of copper wiring, construction sites, phone facilities, etc. As I write this copper scrap is valued at $3.57 per pound.

Going back to the value of a copper penny, 150% of it's face value, is substantial, however you would need a truck load of it to make any substantial money once or if the legislation is passed to abolish the penny. Plus it is just so heavy as to not be practical. I even know gents who have taken very substantial amounts of silver and converted it to Gold to reduce the weight to value ratio.

I think you would do okay just to save what you normally get in pocket change. I do this and routinely fill a jar which I take once a year to the bank to convert to dollars. My average yearly conversion is just shy of $200. A little mini- windfall which contributes to my survival stockage as ammunition, or helps buy a new gun or long stay food.

You could collect copper pennies, again 1982 or before, and sell on e-Bay as some people do. I would recommend however that you put your precious metal collection efforts into Silver and/or Gold. My efforts are concentrated mostly around the buying of silver coins for their silver melt value, one or two ounce silver rounds, or, five ounce bars.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Urban Survival Planning – Financial Survival

Today we are going to talk about another form Survival Planning; Financial Survival. Worthy of much more than a single posting, Financial Survival is important enough to have a dedicated blog. However, in the interests of time and space we are going to just touch on a few basics.

There are several schools of thought regarding finances and financial planning for SHTF scenarios or an economic collapse, the one we subscribe to and promote is based on Austrian economic principles.

We do not buy into the “buy everything on credit because everything is going to collapse anyway” or “buy everything on credit and use your cash to buy survival related supplies” theories. The fallacy with these ways of thinking is very obvious if you just take a step back and look from afar.

Financial Survival Planning is basically insurance. Insurance is to replace something, or to make whole again, in the event of some sort of loss. This is saying IF something bad happens, I’m covered.

Well the word IF implies there is a possibility of something happening. If there was a certainty of something happening, and you knew about it, you would not need insurance; you could move before a fire or flood, get out of town with all your belongings before an earthquake or tornado. You could also do the same financially, you could move all of your financial assets out of a particular instrument before it bottomed out.

If there is a possibility of a financial collapse, there is also the possibility of there not being a financial collapse. Therefore we believe in the theory you should live a principled financial existence; no one can tell the future. If you live a principled life, you’ll be covered on all fronts, whether there is a collapse or not.

So what do we subscribe to you might ask? Live debt free and pay cash for as much as possible; budget your monies every month right down to the dollar; and diversify your holdings between cash in hand and precious metals (PM’s), gold silver and lead!

Now the first step is to get out of debt as fast as you can. Pick up Dave Ramsey’s book Total Money Makeover. IT WORKS! Now if you are already out of debt and want to take some steps to protect the wealth you already have in the event of a financial collapse of some sort, consider some of the following:

Hold PM’s, mainly gold and silver. Why, you might ask, should you hold gold and silver? Gold and silver have historically always been measures of value. From Roman days through today, gold is gold and silver is silver; societies have always placed a high value on both. In the even of an economic collapse or hyperinflation scenario, these precious metals will probably hold their value much more readily than any fiat, paper currency. Additionally, both are recognized world wide as a compact and portable form of wealth. For instance, during World War II, Jews were able to both buy their way out of Nazi occupied areas, as well as take their wealth with them; carrying nothing more than the clothes on their backs and some gold coins in their pockets. Through the coins they snuck out with them, they were able to start a comfortable new life where ever they ended up. We also believe that without a means to protect your assets, you may find yourself without them.

Now other than sneaking out of an area with a lot of your wealth in the form of PM’s on your body, what other scenarios might involve the use of PM’s? Well if there is a collapse of our dollar or our economic system overall, eventually you will have to start bartering with other survivors for goods and services. Dollars might be useful only in the near term, and in the long term probably only as a portable form of fire-starting material, or some other non-bartering task such as toilet paper. How will you trade with others? What will you have to trade with?

Perhaps, canned food for rent or passage; ammunition for a mule or donkey; or something similar along those lines in which someone really wants what you have to trade. Well the problem with the above is, 1) why trade food, ammunition for anything unless you have which will help keep you alive unless you have an over abundant supply of it? 2) Will you be able to carry enough supplies with you in order to both survive as well as enough to trade with? While we believe in having barter items, we are going to discuss them in a later post.

By owning an amount of gold and silver, you give yourself countless opportunities and possibilities that others who do not own any will never have. You have a form of insurance in case things go really bad in your own lifetime. However, since none of us can tell the future, say you buy PM’s and no collapse or hyper inflation event does happens, what do you do with your PM’s? Well you could either sell them, and probably be able to buy the same items with the money you receive as you could have bought with the amount of the money you paid for the PM’s, or you could always pass them on to your children or grandchildren without anyone knowing about the transaction. You have a means to transfer wealth anonymously to anyone you may wish.

Now lets say you are still with us, and you want to start looking for places to purchase some gold & silver coins to hold IN YOUR HOME (Not in a safety deposit box in a bank as the boxes & their contents are not in your physical control and may be seized by the banks). Where can you actually buy some from and how much should you hold? The how much part is totally dependant on your finances. Again, get out of debt first, build your survival preps to an acceptable level, then start accumulating your PM’s. As a guide $1,000.00 face value of pre-1965 dimes, quarters, and half-dollars per person of your group is a place to start. We also think you would be wise to have cash on hand, maybe another $1,000 as this currency is light enough to carry and would probably be of use, especially in the early days, maybe weeks, of an emergency, albeit at inflated rates.

As for the where to buy gold and silver part of the question, the following are a list of companies we have purchased from; we do not have any financial interest in the companies nor the sales of their products to you. We have just used these companies ourselves with nothing but outstanding service and quality products.

We hope you will consider this type of survival insurance for you own family. A lot of people tend to go overboard on a particular aspect of survival preparations and completely neglect other equally important aspects. We feel PM’s play a part in any survival plan. Do your own homework and decide if they play a part in your preparations.