Fake coins: Skiatook couple spends more than $400 at auction on fakes; how you can spot a fake

SKIATOOK, Okla. - A couple learns a tough lesson the hard way -- be careful what you buy at an auction.

At an auction in Skiatook last year Bonnie Scifres and her husband found what she thought was a steal, a bundle of silver coins.
"So I bid five dollars a coin on them, which I thought was a real good deal," said Bonnie.

Instead, it was too good to be true.

It's lesson they didn't learn until they tried to sell the coins at Tulsa Gold & Silver.

Said Bonnie, "He said 'Where did you buy these coins?' I said at an auction. He said 'Well you need to take them back, they're fake.' I said excuse me?"

The Scifres wasted more than $400 on fake coins, which could have been made in China, a hotbed for fake coin production.

"We see it every week," said Mike Anderson at Tulsa Gold & Silver .  "It may be something that's really obviously fake and others are impressive fakes out there, that are really tough to tell."

One easy way to tell if a coin is a fake, test it with a magnet. If the coin sticks to it, it's fake.

Also, beware of coins marked with rare dates.

"If you're looking at a rare date, that's the one you want to really keep an eye on because that's the one they're gonna counterfeit," said Anderson.

He says that's because coins with rare dates are more valuable.

"You've gotta do your research. You've gotta study," said Anderson.

In their case, the Scifres wanted someone arrested, but claimed the Skiatook Police Department dragged their feet on the investigation.

After the 2NEWS Problem Solvers called police, they investigated and decided to charge no one. 

Skiatook police say the Scifres were given a receipt with their purchase that called the items "Silver Tokens." Unfortunately, the Scifres believed that meant they were made of real silver.  The auctioneer tells 2NEWS he always makes it as clear to his customers what they are actually buying.

"There could be lots of these out there," said Bonnie. "People need to be aware that these coins are out there."

It's a warning the Scifres want everyone to hear.

They only wish they had heard it themselves.

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