Tungsten is the only metal close enough to the density of gold that it can be substituted in certain types gold coins. We’ll tell you which coins are vulnerable, so you can protect yourself against fakes.

There’s fake gold bullion of every kind and in the vast majority of those 1oz fakes can be detected using the Gold Coin Balance™. Yet, alchemists in China are beginning to use tungsten into fake gold coins for certain varieties which are more vulnerable.

When people buy jewelry in a store, the seller often describes it in terms of karats(abbreviated kt or K). This refers to the purity of gold alloy.

  • 24kt = 99.9% pure gold
  • 22kt = 91.67% gold, 8.33% other metals
  • 18kt = 75% gold, 25% other metals

Why dilute gold with other metals? The reason is simple: gold is soft and easily damaged. For the same reason, certain gold coins were minted with impurities to make them tough.

Typical gold coin investment advice is to invest in 22kt gold or better, but given the new fake gold coins on the market, we believe this advice is outdated.

The following are 24kt (or 99.9% pure) gold coins and are guaranteed to be real when tested with the Gold Coin Balance™:

  • 1oz Austrian Philharmonic
  • 1oz Australian Kangaroo
  • 1oz Chinese Panda
  • 1oz Canadian Maple Leaf
  • 1oz American Buffalo

We have identified a fake 1oz American Eagle gold coin which was made with a tungsten core. We now advise those purchasing gold for investment to only buy those coins which are pure 24kt gold. The Gold Coin Balance™ will catch most fake 22kt 1oz gold coins, but we can no longer guarantee and pay the spot price for any fakes in this category.

The American Eagle and South African Krugerrand are two popular coins which have an extra 10% weight in copper, giving them an orangish color. American gold coins are legal tender of the United States. Even though the market value of an American gold coin on a given day may be $1250, the face value, according to the government is $50. This gives the US government the ability to go after counterfeiting, while still allowing gold’s value to float on the free market. When we called the US treasury to report our “fake” legal tender, we expected guys in black suits would come to confiscate it. Turns out, they could care less - they knew of five guys in China selling these fake gold coins and have already arrested them.

Likely there are lots of others ready to replace them, so we recommend to be on the safe side: only buy 24 karat gold coins and use the Gold Coin Balance™ to test for fakes!