Lately, it seems like stories are popping up every week of pawnbrokers, jewelers, and coin and bullion dealers being victimized by fraudsters. Headlines abound of fake gold and silver bars and high end fake coins being passed off as the genuine article. It is essential that we as pawnbrokers have the right tools and knowledge to combat these growing threats. I myself have been a victim, despite being a coin dealer for 12 years prior to becoming a pawnbroker. Yes, I openly admit it! I had no one to blame but myself. I should have known better, but I let the dollar signs cloud my judgment. It's easy to become a victim of your own greed in these circumstances. The old adage "If it seems to good to be true, it probably is," should have rang in the back of my mind. Overall, I was lucky. I recovered my money, but the experience taught me I had to up my game. I immediately took more coin grading and authentication classes and decided that I had to become an expert in identifying fakes.
I encourage all pawnbrokers to, at the very least, attend a basic coin grading and authentication class. The American Numismatic Association usually hold these courses at most major national and regional coin shows throughout the country, or at their "Summer Seminar," held every year out in Colorado Springs (you can find more information about these classes on their website). I also sugggest reading "The Coin Collector's Survival Manual" by coin expert Scott Travers. You can find this book on Amazon and in my opinion, it is a must read. The web is also full of information for those of us who want to verify the items that we are buying. Head on over to www.fakebullion.com for examples of fake coins, bars, and rounds, as well as examples of what the real deals should look like. This site is priceless.
I would also encourage every shop to get a Sigma Metalytics coin and bar analyzer and learn how to properly use it to test coins, bars, and rounds for authenticity. If you're serious about coins, I'd also suggest picking up the Fisch System. This is another electronic system to test items for authenticity. Lastly, check out the Numismatic Crimes Information Center, a website run by Former Detective Doug Davis, who has investigated thousands of crimes involving coins and bullion. The information provided on this site can alert you to scams that are taking place in your area.
It's vital that you join the National Pawnbrokers Assosciation and become a member on the various internet forums where scams are discussed. Sharing this information with one another prepares all of us when fraudsters show up at our doors peddling their wares. Connecting with each another allows pawnbrokers to confidently loan on and buy coins and bullion without fear, enabling us to give our customers the most money while maximizing our loan base and selling our products confidently and quickly when they come out of pawn.
If you need any further assistance or have questions about dealing in coins or purchasing analyzing equipment, I'm more than happy to help. You're welcome to call me toll free at (888)310-9026 or shoot me an email at email@example.com