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Concerns about 1oz Vienna Philharmonic 2021 showing just 98.2% purity?


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Hello everyone,

Let me start off by saying that I have this thing wanting to make extra sure that the bullion I have is real. So basically, whenever I buy gold from a dealer for the first time, I'd rather test it.

I got that coin 6 weeks ago from a local dealer who has been on the market for about 2 years but it's the first time I get a from them. I definitely wouldn't say he is shady or something. Quite on the contrary, the company is being advertised and I've even seen him on some smaller TV channels' programs to discuss the gold market and products.

Yet the coin I got from there and finally managed to have it tested today showed only 98.2% purity. So what could be the explantion for that result? If you think the equipment could be off, let me just say that I also had tested silver grains and platinum wire there and the result was as it should (99.9% for both).

 

Thank you for your feedback in advance!

 

 

result.jpg

2021.jpg

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I see there is presence of silver. I have seen this issue with @BackyardBullion where his poured gold bar fail an assay test because it had minute traces of silver micro-specks in the surface of the gold bar from an error made while pouring. This is what came to mind, probably it is a mint error.

Edited by stackerp5
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1 minute ago, stackerp5 said:

I see there is presence of silver. I have seen this issue with @BackyardBullion where his poured gold bar fail an assay test because it had minute micro-specks of silver in the gold bar from an error he made while pouring. This is what came to mind, probably it is a mint error.

I don't think so because I have seen a video about the Austrian Mint where they proudly stated they (and only them amongst all big mints) have gold and silver minting separated by some elaborated air ventilation system to prevent exactly that:

 

Also 98 point something % would be way off for a modern mint. No way, this could happen. Could the machine be off? No clue as I have never used such scanners. Could it be the case that it's working for silver and platinum but not for gold? I don't know. Maybe someone who has experience with them can answer this question.

The photo itself doesn't seem to show anything suspicious at least nothing I can see. I'm too lazy to calculate it now but you could do it and calculate what a specific gravity test should show for this composition and possibly do a specific gravity test (if the difference to 24K gold is big enough and not let's say 19.305 instead of 19.32 which I suspect - without having done the calculation)

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I am not familiar with the machine you are using, but I will say that I agree with Silenceissilver in that 98.something % is way off of what it should be. Minute errors that I have experienced would be a purity of 99.9% (in one case 99.5%) instead of the advertise 99.99%. This usually has to do with minute transfers of other metals (usually residue) on a coin. Being off about 1.5 - 2 % seems to be too much. I would think that it may have to do with the machine since I don't really see the ''benefit'' of counterfeiting gold coins by still using 98% 24K gold...

Have you tested the machine with coins you know are 100% legit (regardless of silver or gold) just to make sure it operates as intended?

 

Best, Alex

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It should be 99.99

I would test a known 99.99 coin that you know is genuine on the same machine. 

If that fails then test on another machine. 
 

This is an interesting read from @LawrenceChard which might give a little insight   

https://www.chards.co.uk/blog/krugerrand-gold-content/507

Best 

Dicker

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17 minutes ago, dicker said:

It should be 99.99

I would test a known 99.99 coin that you know is genuine on the same machine. 

If that fails then test on another machine. 
 

This is an interesting read from @LawrenceChard which might give a little insight   

https://www.chards.co.uk/blog/krugerrand-gold-content/507

Best 

Dicker

It seems like it's a bit of a no win all round if the XRF fails, someone has to drip acid or drill a hole in the coin to guarantee the findings.

Would a forger only take £20 worth of gold off the coin if they went to all that trouble of producing a coin that had a design and quality to it that fooled a bullion dealer?

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Interesting.  If you were taking a small margin as you state then no.  
 

However, if you were laundering gold - perhaps from a war zone / illegal mining or theft then counterfeiting would make sense.  

Minting coins would on the face of it seem overly elaborate, but if you look at what is done to launder cash, it seems less so.

It is a slightly curious result that I think needs a little investigation   
 

Best

Dicker

 

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3 hours ago, dicker said:

It should be 99.99

I would test a known 99.99 coin that you know is genuine on the same machine. 

If that fails then test on another machine. 
 

This is an interesting read from @LawrenceChard which might give a little insight   

https://www.chards.co.uk/blog/krugerrand-gold-content/507

Best 

Dicker

@Gold0607 states: "managed to have it tested", so he took it somewhere to have tested.

Here is a quick list of questions for him to consider, and possibly ask however tested it:

How long did they have it on test for?

Errors reduce with longer times, we use 60 seconds with our Niton, some people use 30, 20, or 10 seconds.

How clean was the viewing area of their machine.

How many tests did they do?

Did they test one side or both?

What is the manufacturer;s claimed accuracy for the machine?

What experience do they have of similar quirky results?

Somebody mentioned $8000, that seems very cheap for an XRF machine, is GoldXpert any good?

Did you ask the testing company any of these questions before posting them on TSF?

How much do they charge you?

Did you ask them if their machine needs re-calibrating?

Did you express surprise at the results?

Did they offer to re-check their results?

If the GoldXpert is only $8000, where can we buy a few of them?

Is your tester aware of our blog / Flickr pages, as someone already mentioned?

Are you aware that cupellation (fire assay) is still the most accurate method of precious metal analysis? 

This is just a starting list, I am sure more questions would occur to me, especially after hearing the answers to the above.

🙂
P.S. Are you aware that some people, including professionals, confuse cupellation with copulation?

Chards

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2 hours ago, ProfessorStacker said:

Some of their commemorative coins have a advertised purity of 0.986

https://www.apmex.com/product/198957/2019-austria-proof-gold-100-the-magic-of-gold-mesopotamia

The Philharmonics are advertised as 4 9s purity though. Maybe some mint mix up with the gold to be used with commemorative vs Philharmonics?

Unfortunately, the coin is from 2021. If it was from an earlier year, we could exclude this possibility because we would have heard about this before, because it wouldn't have happened, just to one coin.

Edited by silenceissilver
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8 minutes ago, Liam84 said:

Do they not both involve drilling holes?

 

Actually no, not always.

Assay offices usually take very small scrapings for jewellery, although occasionally they will cut or drill one or two items from large batches.

In either case, it is best to treat the subjects with care and attention, without causing unnecessary trauma. You also benefit from more repeat business.

Chards

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45 minutes ago, silenceissilver said:

Unfortunately, the coin is from 2021. If it was from an earlier year, we could exclude this possibility because we would have heard about this before, because it wouldn't have happened, just to one coin.

Austrian ducat denominations were previousy made of .986 gold.

The Philharmoniker will almost certainly be .999 gold.

The error / discrepancy is far more likely to be with the XRF tester, and / or user.

Chards

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4 hours ago, silenceissilver said:

Unfortunately, the coin is from 2021. If it was from an earlier year, we could exclude this possibility because we would have heard about this before, because it wouldn't have happened, just to one coin.

It may be a larger scale issue. I don't know if every stacker evaluates their coins using a purity checker though. It's possible many slipped through the cracks sort of speak.

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I think the result could be a consequence of inadequate testing. Most likely, there was silver residue left inside from previous tests because I has silver coins tested afterwards and the result was 99.9% pureity. 

If we suppose the coin is not authentic, this would almost certainly mean that it has a tungsten core as no one would be making a fake coin with 98.2% gold. However, it is also unlikely that they would plate it with 98% gold and 1% silver since it does not make any sense either. It would either be 100% gold plated if the copy is good and the plating is thick or it would show tungsten in the result if the XRF can reach deep enough beyond the gold layer. Moreover, if it was tungsten, the 'ping' sound would be dull if I am not wrong (which it is not). 

The more I think about it the more I conclude that the problem is in the machine, not the coin since the result really does not make sense for a fake coin. 

Yet one can't stop asking themselves the question how it could be so hard to tell a gold coin apart. It does not make the case for great convenience in usage for real transactions. Or did we humans use some sense which people in Ancient Rome had?:)

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On 14/01/2021 at 08:05, Gold0607 said:

I think the result could be a consequence of inadequate testing. Most likely, there was silver residue left inside from previous tests because I has silver coins tested afterwards and the result was 99.9% pureity. 

Unlikely

If we suppose the coin is not authentic, this would almost certainly mean that it has a tungsten core as no one would be making a fake coin with 98.2% gold. However, it is also unlikely that they would plate it with 98% gold and 1% silver since it does not make any sense either. It would either be 100% gold plated if the copy is good and the plating is thick or it would show tungsten in the result if the XRF can reach deep enough beyond the gold layer. Moreover, if it was tungsten, the 'ping' sound would be dull if I am not wrong (which it is not). 

You are right.

The more I think about it the more I conclude that the problem is in the machine, not the coin since the result really does not make sense for a fake coin. 

Yes, if we expect the machine to be 99.99% accurate.

Yet one can't stop asking themselves the question how it could be so hard to tell a gold coin apart.

Judgment came before XRF machines.

It does not make the case for great convenience in usage for real transactions.

Experience usually helps.

Or did we humans use some sense which people in Ancient Rome had?:)

Hopefully, and yes.

Did you read my/our blog as linked above by another member?

 

Did you read my earlier post with the list of questions?

 

Chards

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