If you buy collectable gold coins, Bill Fivaz’s Official Whitman Guidebook: United States Gold Counterfeit Detection Guide should be a vital part of your numismatic library. Bill Fivaz begins with rules of thumb and definitions to avoid buying raw counterfeit gold coins, a few of them are: weak/fatty letters, numerous depressions, tool marks and spikes, under/over weight coins. These rules can go for any coins that may be counterfeited. After giving a brief glossary of terms and abbreviations used throughout the book, Fivaz moves on to examples of counterfeit coins. Throughout the book he gives over 200 examples of commonly counterfeited coins and die markers for finding them. Although most of the coins he covers are key dates, Fivaz comments on certain dies that were used to counterfeit numerous gold coins. He covers coins from $1 coins to $20 gold coins, as well as commemoratives and territorial gold. Fivaz finishes with the tolerated weights and specifications of U.S. gold coins, as well as characteristics commonly found on genuine gold coins that can be mistaken as evidence of alterations. After reading this book, I have a much deeper appreciation for professional graders, and how they take much of the guesswork out of buying valuable coins. Overall I would give this book a perfect rating as it can give a buyer a sense of confidence in buying gold coins.
Thanks for reading, questions, tips, corrections, and advice are welcome.