Crooked coin dealer
For legal reasons, I won't go into where this happened or who was involved. But this is a true story and it happened to me personally. I will not answer any questions about where this happened or who was involved (unless you are a sworn law enforcement officer and ask for the information for a legal investigation). I tell you of this story to warn our community of the prevalence of crooks, and to encourage people to protect themselves, and to verify everything one buys is authentic, regardless of the source:
I came across a dealer with a table selling coins at a show. He had a variety of Silver dollars, 1oz Silver bars, (and some copper rounds if I recall correctly). Among the pile of Morgan dollars stood out two suspicious coins, one with a strange color/tarnish and the other with strange denticles. Both coins appeared to closely simulate the real version, with outstanding detail that would have fooled any novice and perhaps a seasoned collector who did not inspect the coins closely (like if they came in a bulk lot, or bag with other coins sold for scrap value).
Taking one of the Peace dollars that appeared legitimate, I checked it for the resonant frequency (aka the "ping" test), and it rang true - that same ring of real Silver I have heard a thousand times over in many other Silver dollars I have held. It was real.
Then I took the two suspicious Morgan dollars, which eerily reminded me of the Chinese fakes I had seen on eBay, Craigslist, Wish.com, etc and performed the same ring test. Of course, they failed miserably and rang extremely high pitched (as brass or another alloy of metals other than Silver would ring).
I immediately informed the dealer that these two coins he was selling were fake. He became defensive and angry, and vehemently denied this, insisting they were real. He claimed to inspect every coin he got carefully for authenticity. I told him I was quite sure they were fake, and was willing to bet that they were fake. He said he would bet $1,000 they were real. After some discussion, we agreed that since it was only two silver dollars, a fair bet would be to bet two silver dollars. (If I was right, he would give me two real silver dollars for free, but if I was wrong, I would pay him the full amount for the coins but he would keep the coins.) I told him I had a machine to test the coins in my truck, and that it would take me a couple of minutes to get it and come right back. (The Sigma Metalytics Precious Metals Verifier. Were his coins composed of brass, as I suspected, this fact would have easily been proven by the machine).
He agreed to the bet, contingent on him believing the machine was accurate. Leaving the two coins right in front of him on a binder full of coins, he agreed not to leave the table or move the coins until I came back.
After retrieving the machine and coming back to his table, I saw the coins were no longer on the binder and asked him what happened. He said he placed the two coins back in the pile of other silver dollars, thinking that I had left and would not return. I looked through the pile and the two coins were not in the small pile of coins. He denied removing the coins or putting them anywhere else. He clearly did not want me to test the coins because he knew they were fake. He was lying to my face because he didn't want to get caught.
[For those who aren't lawyers, the phrase "mens rea" is probably something you aren't familiar with, but essentially the Latin phrase translates to "guilty conscience". It's a phrase lawyers often use in court to indicate that someone's pattern of behavior is indicative of someone with something to hide.
This dealer likely sold thousands of dollars a day in goods to the public, based on the quantity and wide selection of coins he had in front of him, most of which appeared to be real (but appearances can be deceiving).]
Interestingly, when I pulled out the machine from the factory bag, the dealer got a nasty look on his face, and immediately said, "I know what that is.", as if to imply that he knew it would prove the coins were fake.
(For those who don't know, the Sigma Metalytics PMV can detect counterfeit coins that correctly mimic the most commonly measured aspects of coins - the weight and the volume - but fail to account for proper electrical resistivity of a real coin. Counterfeits that rely on alloying two metals with specific gravities above and below that of Silver - such as Lead and Copper - most often cannot mimic the electrical resistivity/magnetic properties of real Silver, which is far more conductive than Lead is.
The Sigma PMV machine can measure and quantify the electrical resistivity of a coin for human interpretation, thereby determining if a coin is fake or real in terms of metallic composition.
However, the Sigma PMV can only assist in determining if a coin is made of the proper metallic composition, and is therefore not as useful in numismatics where counterfeits can be made of the same alloy as the original, authentic coin is composed of. But in cases of bullion or low-grade Silver dollars/junk 90% Silver coins, it is very useful in assisting verification processes.)
Any dealer with a reluctance to allow their coins to be verified as authentic is not someone you should trust. Had he not hidden the coins away, and actually honored our agreement to let the coins remain on the table for me to test, he knew he would have to either claim my machine was inaccurate (which could have easily been disproven by taking known real coins and testing them on the machine to prove it works, etc.), or he would have had to pay me, which he obviously didn't want to do.
He didn't want to be caught. He had a guilty conscience. Mens rea.
Be careful out there, folks.
Edited for grammar