Gold Scam 1: Grading Games
The Coin Con: In gold coins, MS-70 is the top of the heap — a “mint state” coin that has never been handled. But what’s an easier way to increase the value of a coin than to lie about the condition? For instance, a 2002-W $50 Gold Eagle is worth $1,915 at a grade of MS-63 — a very clean condition, but not perfect. MS-70 for the same coin tallies a tag of $2,850. Unsuspecting coin buyers might not be able to tell the difference, thereby overpaying by hundreds of dollars.
Solution: Check the grades of coins with an independent source before buying. A reputable dealer will stand by his product and welcome a third-party appraisal. Just make sure that third party is of your choosing and not a rubber stamp on the dealer’s payroll.