Gold has been synonymous with wealth and luxury for centuries. So it’s not surprising that over the years many unscrupulous people have looked to create a convincing fake – particularly with the gold Britannia coin.
Unfortunately, gold Britannia coins are by no means immune to this. But luckily, by arming yourself with a little bit of knowledge you should be able to avoid an expensive mistake.
The bottom line is, the best way to avoid purchasing a fake gold Britannia coin is in buying it from a reputable trader. Of course, if you’re in any doubt at all feel free to get in touch with us – we’ll be happy to help.
Know what you’re looking for
If you’ve seen a gold Britannia coin ‘in the flesh’ and you’re not sure if it’s real or not, then it’s well worth checking with an expert. This could be a metallurgist or bullion expert, or us!
However, there are a few simple things you can check for yourself to help you decide if it’s real or not.
Gold is heavier than it looks and is incredibly dense. So if the coin simply feels a little too light, then it might be a fake. Some coins will also have their weight imprinted on them (the 2019 Britannia for example). An accurate weighing scale will soon show you if the weight is correct.
There’s that old saying “If it’s cheap, it’s cheap for a reason”. Of course, that doesn’t apply to absolutely everything in life, but it does to gold Britannias!
The point is, it’s worth doing your homework. Search around and see what other Britannia gold coins are selling for, and get a good idea of what the cost should be. If it seems too cheap it’s unlikely to be genuine.
UK hallmarking laws have been around since way back in the 1300s. These unique markings, applied independently by assay offices, show that gold products like coins and jewellery are of the metal and fineness stated. If the hallmark is missing, it may be an indicator that the item is not what it seems.
Gold-plated items are also hallmarked. So if you see letters such as GP, GEP, RGP or HGE then it’s likely the item is gold-plated, not pure gold.
Just like its weight, the actual dimensions of a Britannia gold coin are very specific. Again, do your homework and find out the exact specification. Is the thickness of the coin as you’d expect? What about the diameter? If you’ve come across a coin that looks too big or too small then alarm bells should be ringing.
Gold is a “noble” element, and part of what makes it so collectible is that is doesn’t react with other elements or tarnish over time. If what appears to be a gold coin does show signs or discolouration, then it could be a fake or simply gold plated.
Watch out for metals that look like gold
Fortunately, gold is extremely difficult to replicate well. In fact, no metal on earth looks exactly like it. If you look closely enough at a gold Britannia coin you should be able to spot fairly quickly if it’s the real thing or not. Having said that, there are some metals and minerals out there that are pretty convincing.
Fool’s Gold – better known as Iron Pyrite – is one of them. The attractive gold sparkle certainly attracts the eye! But in fact, this sulphide mineral is infamous for looking extremely similar gold – however it’s much less dense.
Brass is also commonly mistaken for gold, and indeed boasts some similarities. Made from an alloy of zinc and copper, its yellow hue could easily be mistaken for the genuine article. But brass is much duller than gold to look at, which means it should be easily distinguishable. Again, brass is a lot less dense than gold which you’ll soon notice when you hold it in your hand.
Then of course there’s the last way of making gold look like gold; by using gold itself. For example, rolled gold is created using a very thin layer of gold which is then heat-fused to each side of a base metal. Plating a cheaper metal with gold is another common practice. It’s much cheaper to produce, leading to its dishonest use in gold coins.
Don’t get caught out! Find out about us and how we can help you make the right Britannia gold coin purchase for you. Why not take a look through our other blog articles too! And of course, you can get in touch any time using our contact page.