Is Your Gold Bar Real? Find Out by Following These Instructions

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Last Updated on: 19th May 2023, 10:09 pm

Thanks to the significantly higher gold prices over the last decade, gold bars in almost any size have become so valuable now that counterfeiters find them a profitable challenge and a potentially big score. If you are sitting on a ten-ounce or larger-sized gold bar, you should be concerned about the real possibility for it to be a fake.

Want to know how to tell if a gold bar is real? The good news is that with a little knowledge and a few investigative tools, you can have confidence that your gold bar is real. You can even test your gold using basic household goods, such as a simple tube of toothpaste. Follow these six instructions to make certain you are not holding or buying a counterfeit.

Examine Mint Marking Details

One of the easiest tests to conduct with a gold bar is to carefully examine its mint markings. Every reputably produced gold bar carries the mint mark or logo of its maker. Any gold piece that does not have this critical information should arouse your suspicion. Besides the manufacturer's engravings, there should also be markings revealing the bar's purity, weight, and sometimes serial numbers.

If you do not see any markings of any kind, or if the bar is suspiciously lacking critical information about its content, then these are obvious giveaways for a fake. Do not be satisfied with simply finding markings though. You should obtain a blown-up picture of the real gold bar in question and focus carefully on the little details like any artwork design and even the font of the text used. Some images will have borders around them as well. Inconsistencies between the authentic picture and the bar mean you have a counterfeit.

Measure the Dimensions

Gold is one of the denser metals. Because of this, many counterfeiters are using less dense metals than gold, like iron, to fabricate their fake gold bars. Since you need around twice as much iron to create the same weight as gold, this forces the dimensions to be larger on many of the false fabrications. Even if the bar is plated with gold and other metals are utilized, it will still require them to make it larger for the weight to be correct. The differences may be minor in this case, so you will require exact tools to precisely measure the gold bars.

First, you must get the correct measurements for your bullion bar. You can find these on the manufacturer's website or call them to inquire otherwise. Then you will need a caliper as the tool which precious metals industry professionals always use to obtain the most accurate measurements. You can buy calipers online starting at $15.

With the caliper, be sure to measure the length, the width, and thickness of your gold bar. If you find even the slightest difference between the supplied measurements and the ones you carefully take, then this bar is counterfeit. You know this with confidence because identical molds are employed by either the government or private mints to produce their proprietary gold bars.

Check the Weight

Another easy test for the authenticity of your gold bar is to determine its exact weight. Most gold bars clearly express their weight in ounces (or grams). Because it is a criminal offense to misrepresent the purity or weight of any precious metal bar, there is not an honest mint anywhere that would permit such a mistake to be made. You will need a precise electronic scale to get the most accurate reading possible. If the scale provides a different weight than that noted on the bar, you surely have a counterfeit.

Listen for the Ringing Sound

Genuine gold makes a nice ringing or chime-like sound when you hit it with another metal. This physical contact test requires that you take care to utilize a non-abrasive sample of metal and that you strike it gently against your gold bar. Be careful not to scratch or dent your bar in the process. Real gold will provide a 1-2 seconds worth of ringing in response to the contact.

Should you instead hear a cumbersome heavy sound when the bullion is struck, then you do not have an authentic gold bar. There are even smartphone apps like Coin Ping that will measure the ringing sound to tell you what the actual composition of the metal is now.


Make Sure The Bar Is Not Magnetic

Magnetism is a property that gold does not possess. This makes it a simple test to learn if you have a magnetic metal instead of gold comprising your bar. You have to obtain a sufficiently powerful magnet to perform this test. Better magnets like these are commonly available in a good hardware store. If the metal is attracted to the magnet, then you do not a real gold bar. While iron is magnetic, not all counterfeit materials these fraudsters use are. They will try to employ metals that are not magnetic like gold when they produce their fakes. This makes this a good test to utilize along with several other ones.


Perform an Ultrasound on the Bar

Ultrasounds are expensive machines that run in excess of a thousand dollars and need you to have a significant amount of technical expertise to use. This does not mean that you can not have an office with an ultrasound technician perform this test for you.

They now make smaller ultrasound machines specifically with gold and silver bullion in mind. The machines will verify the consistency of the metal composition to gauge if the bar is genuine. Various metals will change the speed at which the ultrasound waves move through them, which is why this will provide guaranteed authenticity results if it is done properly.


In Conclusion

Of course, it's a bit late for you to check a gold bar for authenticity once you already have it (and have paid for it). This is why it makes sense to perform these tests on gold bars as you are shopping for them in person. Any reputable precious metals dealer or jeweler should not have an issue with you carefully examining, measuring, or weighing the merchandise according to the tests we outlined.

To buy verified authentic gold, consider only shopping for bullion or coins from exclusively top-ranked gold investment companies.

David Crowder
David Crowder

W.D. Crowder is an American published author. His background and areas of expertise include history, economics, expatriate living, international relations, investments and personal finance. A widely read and top of his class graduate of Stetson University, he obtained his bachelor of arts degree in History with minors in Latin American Studies and International Relations and a special emphasis in Economics. He was President of his Phi Alpha Theta (National History Honors Fraternity) Stetson University chapter and a Phi Beta Kappa (National Honors Fraternity) member.

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