According to the Hamilton (Ontario) Metroland news service, police have recovered “hundreds” of fake US Silver Eagles.
Although described as “silver dollars,” the fake coins — silver and nickel plate over brass — are also described as 10 ounces in weight. That would make them bullion pieces in a coin shape, since a silver dollar weighs 1 ounce.
The release (from police) says the suspects got the coins from online auction sites, before selling them to local shops. They targeted businesses that were either busy or short-staffed, so buyers would spend less time verifying the coins’ authenticity.
At today’s prices, a 10-ounce silver “coin” has more than $220 of silver in it. So 500 fakes means the scammers hit the Canadian pawn shops for somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 .
The story concludes with good advice:
Police say if someone is willing to sell a coin for less than its silver value, they’re most likely trying to pass off a fake. They also warn the public to buy coins and other precious metals through reputable dealers who take the proper steps to check authenticity.
The release did not say what online auction sites were moving these “high-quality fakes, professionally manufactured by an unknown source.” But Kamaaina Loan Blog had no trouble finding a site selling purported 1-oz Eagles for less than $19. Since that coin, if real, would have more than $22 in silver in it — and would retail, in 1-coin sales, for around $30 — we are suspicious.