1887 5 pound sovereign for scrap...

Discussion in 'Gold Coins' started by zlatibor, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. zlatibor

    zlatibor Member

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    Hi folks, its been a while since I was active on the boards, but I wanted to follow up with a mention of my 5 pound sov I was looking to sell last year. (I've posted numerous pics here before).

    Today I took it to a local dealer (WA Coins in Beaufort St - very helpful indeed), and the proprietor cast a shadow over its authenticity. Despite size and weight being pretty close to perfect (I understand they can vary by a few fractions of a gram), it turns out his gold testing machine couldn't detect any gold (!). This was astonishing, and as a result I decided to take it straight to the Perth Mint.

    A team of three at the Perth Mint failed to find any mention or reference of a 5 pound Jubilee Head gold sovereign in their coin books (! - astonished again, given I know its a widely circulated and recognised coin - !)???!
    A gold test determined it is in fact 18k (not the standard 22k)! Rather than call it a counterfeit, they simply stated they could not take it, with its composition in question.

    So - now I look at potentially having it refined, and selling the gold for scrap. As I'm *useless* at mathematics - can anyone give me an idea of the approximate refined gold content on a 18k coin whose total weight is 40g? Even if only a ballpark.

    The coin was given to me by a family member as a wedding gift (in fact THREE were purchased from the same dealer back in the mid 90s - one for myself and one for each of my brothers to receive when we were married). Two of us have since wed, and this is the first red flag raised as to authenticity. I now have the rather unenviable task of urging my father and siblings to get the others tested too! :/
     
  2. SpacePete

    SpacePete Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    You probably saw this:

     
  3. Captain Kookaburra

    Captain Kookaburra Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    I have a genuine 5 pound Jubilee Sovereign from 1887.

    I also have an XRF machine.

    If you want, send it through to me (@goldstackers) and we'll get to the bottom of this.

    Ck.
     
  4. Miloman

    Miloman Active Member Silver Stacker

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    Yes, I have a faint amount of knowledge about these.

    They were copied and there are some absolutely outstanding copies of 5 pound coins. I mean outstanding. So much so that many dealers are very hesitant before calling one real.

    18 Carat means it's 75% gold if that's correct. The size and weight of the coin would almost certainly be different, an extra 16% of material not being gold should change it's volume. I would not expect this to be a modern forgery if it is one.

    http://taxfreegold.co.uk/1887fivepounds.html

    They did make 1887 five pound coins.

    On to another note. Knowledge is a closely guarded thing in the world of numismatics, they may give an opinion without telling why they have formed that opinion. Just like a lot of knowledge it takes years of experience and accumulation of handling. They are trade secrets and the very source of their livelihoods.

    I would be hesitant in easily accepting opinions too, even from the perth mint. The fact that they had to look at a book to determine if the coin existed means you are not dealing with people that likely know much about numismatics. For that you do need to consult a dealer and have an photo of the actual XRF result.

    People are also looking to make money too and when someone is looking to sell Grandads collection... a trustworthy appearance and poker face is an important feature in any deal. "No worries, I will give you a fair price"... customer "thanks I just want to know how much for the lot".... the rest of the spiel is as you say... "sportsmanship".
     
  5. zlatibor

    zlatibor Member

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    Thank you Captain, but I think the PM test determined once and for all that it was 18k... so essentially a fake. Disappointing, but heck, its just gold, right? We're not saving lives.

    Was rather astonished that the Mint couldn't even pull up the 5 pound specs in the "Coins of the World" book though!
     
  6. zlatibor

    zlatibor Member

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    I couldnt agree more, Miloman... I'm certain that much of what drives the dealers is the ability to make a reasonable margin, so I do tend to tread carefully.

    Indeed, this is the second dealer who has expressed his doubts. The first said the surface of the coin under a microscope looked unusually pitted/porous, which put up a red flag for him. It is impossible to detect with the naked eye.

    Believe me, I shan't be turning it over to anyone (least of all the refinery) without dotting my i's and crossing my t's, but with two independent dealers and the Mint finding it questionable, I am beginning to take some heed.

    OK, so even with my dodgy mathematics, then I'd still be looking at approx 1 oz (or a bit under) in terms of melt value?
     
  7. zlatibor

    zlatibor Member

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    The coin in question:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Miloman

    Miloman Active Member Silver Stacker

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    Certainly be cautious, but remember when talking to dealers, you aren't "in the club", you are "customer". Phone calls get made all the time and they guard their relationships too.

    Raises doubts about coin surfaces is a standard thing (if it's real or not). If it's 18 carat then pitted or porous surface seems very odd even under relatively magnification.

    I remember some bible quote... about being had for lack of knowledge.

    Yeah, a lot of things are not right. People think just because people are in business they are reputable. This should serve as an example of the prestigious "Perth Mint" not even being about to have knowledge of a coin.

    A lot of people think the "calibre" of people are far higher than what they actually are. Just because someone calls themselves a dealer does not make them better skilled than many collectors. I have first hand experience of this, some older collecting folk are really astonishing with their knowledge and skill. Only someone who invests their time, has a keen eye and are genuinely interested in the area could probably achieve that level of refinement. And there are massive differences between certain dealers. Also most higher end dealers still have business arrangements with one another.

    You said it's 40grams...

    40 x 0.75 = 30 grams (actual gold weight)
    Divide by 31.1grams = 0.965 Troy Oz

    Ok, I would want to take a known 22 carat sovereign have it tested and it come up good then test the 5 pound. I won't mention the reasons why but I am sure you can figure it out. (whilst being present for the test and observing it)

    Captain Kookaburra, whom I don't know has made a generous offer of testing the coin for you. For $5 registered post each way, it might be an idea to consider. What ever happens keep the particulars to yourself and you might possibly let us know the outcome.

    Also do you have the link to the photos of the coin?

    EDIT:
    Looking at the photos, Cheers.
     
  9. Captain Kookaburra

    Captain Kookaburra Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    Happy to compare it side by side with the real one.... and pay for it if it turns out to be fake at Spot +10%.

    I like to be able to show people how to tell which is which...

    Looking for a genuine fake 10oz Gold PAMP if anyone happens to have one ;)
     
  10. Naphthalene Man

    Naphthalene Man Active Member Silver Stacker

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    That is so disappointing zlatibor. I copied your photos that you originally posted in my 'coins to buy' folder as a reminder of a coin that i wanted.
    Best of luck.
     
  11. zlatibor

    zlatibor Member

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    Thanks again Captain Kookaburra, I may just take you up on the offer of a side by side comparison etc... I'll shoot you a PM shortly.
    Many thanks.
     
  12. zlatibor

    zlatibor Member

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    I had a chat with my father (he lives abroad), and he tells me the chap who sold him the 3 x 5 pound sovs in the mid 90's is still in business as a dealer, and he in fact knows him quite well. As an exercise in gaging the dealer's reaction, rather than alert the vendor to the discrepancy off the bat, Dad has advised I return with the coin and take it back to the same vendor to try and sell it. This will gage whether the vendor knew he sold my father a lemon, or otherwise. (ie: he would have to offer a price on 22k if he was unaware it was counterfeit, or on 18k if he was aware it was a dud all along... this will open some dialogue for certain). Sounds like an interesting little exercise. :-D
     
  13. Naphthalene Man

    Naphthalene Man Active Member Silver Stacker

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    Then the argument may arise as to who provided the original lemon - the dealer in the first place or you. I don't suppose that the original receipt is still around. There may also be issues with knowingly passing on a lemon for sale under false pretenses.
    May be worth a try though to discuss it with the dealer.
     
  14. Miloman

    Miloman Active Member Silver Stacker

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    Far from it.

    The original story that my Dad bought this here can be told on presentation of the coin. It is truthful and there should be no issues in presenting the coin back to the dealer.

    After he examines it, he will ask you what do you want to do with it. Then the spiel can be told, it's a rarer coin worth more than gold... what will you buy it for?

    Only one test was performed and none of us knew what the test was that allegedly proved it at 18 carat, nor were any of us present, nor do we know if said test was performed properly. So there's a lot that we don't know. I'm not saying the coin doesn't have issues but the VAST majority of copies were 22k.

    Also do not look to sell it at bullion value or for a 22k price. If "real", you should be expecting above spot.

    It's a good exercise, remember that it was sold as a coin and probably not bullion. If he remembers your Dad and the coin all the better.
     
  15. zlatibor

    zlatibor Member

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    I was present when the coin was first tested by the dealer (mine was tested, and then a sovereign from his stock). Mine came up with "no trace of gold" on his machine whilst his returned correct results. Hence why he sent me to the mint. I was also present when the mint tested it and determined the composition to be 18k. i saw it onscreen myself.

    My father lives on an island in the mediterranean, and the dealer is well known within the community. He will remember well the day Dad walked into the store and dropped a bundle on 3 5 pound sovereigns for his three sons. Theres no argument there. My gut tells me this is the way to go. Rather than disgrace himself as a reputable dealer on a small island, I intuit that he will be willing to cooperate.
    Personally, I give the man the benefit of the doubt... he may not have known he sold us a lemon... I expect the on-the-spot gold-testing computers used today - some 20 years later - weren't accessible to him back then, and father certainly recalls there being no such thing on the day he made his purchase. I think with a bit of dialogue we can get to the bottom of it all.
     
  16. argento

    argento Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    I'm not sure what your father paid for the coins 20 years ago, but based on the price of gold 20 years ago ...I would say there is a good chance that your father still may have made a good investment.

    So unless your dad paid more than $1500 per coin 20 years ago......I wouldn't even waist your time confronting the dealer as I don't think anything will come of it.....don't forget this transaction took place 20 years ago.

    What are you going to do if your dad only paid $500 each for the coins.....give them back to the dealer and walk away with $1500 ?

    Unless you have the original receipt and photographic evidence to prove that their the exact coins purchased on that day....don't waist your time.

    I agree with some of the above comments ...... but the buyer still has a responsibility to do their own research , especially if handing over big $$$.

    Don't get me wrong guys....I'm not condoning dodgy dealers.....but if a mistake was made 20 years ago and there being a good chance that the coins are now worth more than the original purchase price (even if fake)....consider yourself lucky
     
  17. anonmiss

    anonmiss Active Member Silver Stacker

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    My biggest concern is that yours is testing as 18%. It should be giving a strong 22ct reading.
     
  18. zlatibor

    zlatibor Member

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    The 5 pounder is now with Captain Kookaburra to be looked over. Am intrigued to learn what he has to add.
     
  19. hiho

    hiho Active Member Silver Stacker

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    good stuff interested to see the outcome
     
  20. hyphenated

    hyphenated Active Member

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    Quick resurrection to see if any results eventuated?
     

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