Fake Rainbow Toned Coins - Artificial Colors

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by JimMayor007, Sep 5, 2007.

  1. JimMayor007

    JimMayor007 New Member

    Toned coins have gained immense popularity over the last decade, with some common date certified MS65 examples of Morgan dollars having exquisite coloration commanding prices of several thousand dollars (the top 1%), with pleasing examples bringing several hundred . This market situation has opened up opportunities for the dishonest coin sellers who doctor AU coins at home and offer them up on ebay to unsuspecting collectors as toned BU coins.
    I wrote this guide for two reasons: (not necessarily in this order)
    1. As a collector of toned coins, I actively search ebay and local dealer showcases for colorful coins that exhibit original patina. I have ebay search results emailed to me daily, and lately these searches are dominated by sellers of artificially toned coins. Frankly, I am tired of the amount of time I have wasted weeding out the bad listings from the good ones.
    2. I will share some of my knowledge about how to identify the traits of both real natural coins and the fake "Circus Clown" toned coins that have become pervasive on ebay these days, so that the money you spend is not wasted on worthless junk. I am disgusted by this dishonest practice, and this is my small way to inform those like me who appreciate the beauty of natural toned coins.
    THE FAKE COINS and the cheats that sell them on ebay:
    1. Coins almost always offered as raw, or uncertified. If they are certified, they are not by companies like PCGS, NGC or ANACS (who will not certify artificially toned coins). "Rainbow" toned coins are heavily pushed in holders from NNC, NTC, ANI and others, and are often problem coins that have been cleaned, whizzed, etc.
    2. Coins are brightly colored, even gaudy in appearance, and are flat with little or no cartwheel luster.
    3. Some have the appearance of having burns, due to the harsh chemicals used in the process.
    4. Sellers of artificially toned coins usually specialize in selling them, because one small bottle of coin toner will alter dozens of coins, and the potential profit.
    5. Take notice of the inventory of a suspected fraudulent seller, his or her coins will look almost exactly alike, with similar patterns and hues. This is because each coin is being altered in the same way, assembly line style. If you think that it is normal for seller to offer 35 raw Morgan dollars that have spectacular concentric rainbow toning each and every week for $9.00 each, you would be mistaken. Genuine coins of this caliber are hundreds of dollars. By the way, some of the current sellers of these chemically toned coins are having difficulty selling the coins, which are receiving no bids at all. I think most of us have recognized these people as frauds.
    6. Take a hard look at the feedback of a suspected fraudulent seller. It will become totally obvious what is going on when the whole world can see that the only thing the seller buys at auction on ebay is bulk lots of cheap common date AU Morgan and Peace dollars, and the only items the seller sells at auction is monster toned coins. It is this type of buying and selling record that provides the evidence one would need to determine this seller is a cheat. Click on the feedback rating of any seller with suspicious looking coins, then click the "feedback as a seller" tab, and then click the "feedback as buyer" tab and do some investigating. Also, read the neutral and negative feedback and look for patterns of fraud. A few minutes looking around could save you a pile of money, especially if you are bidding on a rare date.
    7. Do a search for coin toner, see who is selling it, then look at the list of names in the feedback section of all the buyers of this product. Even though the auctions were private, some leave feedback stating how well the toner works, etc. It would be a safe bet to stay away from anyone associated in this list. Some sellers avoid the connection by buying coin toner at coin stores.
    Here are some examples of some artificial coins that are being auctioned here on ebay. I will leave the names of who I suspect are fraudulent sellers unpublished, but feel free to forward any coin listing to me via email that you are considering, and I will offer advice as well as the names of known junk sellers.

    ...read the full guide with pics here
    troyjoseph and Peter T Davis like this.
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  3. bqcoins

    bqcoins Olympic Figure Skating Scoring System Expert

    great article
  4. Leadfoot

    Leadfoot there is no spoon

    Don't believe because it is in an NGC/PCGS holder that the coin is NT. Here are some other AT coins that all live in PCGS/NGC holders:



    CircCam likes this.
  5. Arizona Jack

    Arizona Jack The Lincoln-ator

  6. Aberlight

    Aberlight New Member

    Great article. I have a similar review on Ebay. I too am sick of weeding through the junk. The only drawback of reviewing feedback is that typically people either already recognize it as AT and pass on the auction or they don't recognize the chemical baths and buy the coin happy as a tick on a dog.
  7. Arizona Jack

    Arizona Jack The Lincoln-ator

  8. Arizona Jack

    Arizona Jack The Lincoln-ator

  9. Tater

    Tater Coin Collector

    Great article. I have stayed away from toned coins, becasue i don't know enough yet to spot all of the AT. I also like peace dollars and they don't tone the same as morgans and are very expensive to buy if you can find them. I too am sick of the AT junk on ebay. In your review you quote Bob Campbell. I've talked to him in his store in Salt Lake, he has some nice stuff, he said very rarely do this coins naturally tone on both sides. If you notice a lot of the AT has both sides toned. Although you can still have a natural toned coin with tone on both sides. Just one more thing to think about when you are looking at toned coins.
  10. airedale

    airedale New Member

  11. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Tater lemme tell ya something - you never will. Now that is not meant as a slight towards you in the least. Ya see, nobody, and I mean nobody, can always tell the difference between AT and NT. And yeah that includes Bob Campbell.
  12. Tater

    Tater Coin Collector

    I agree GDJMSP. That's why I'm trying to stay away from the toned craze, but some of them look good, especially a nice rainbow toned morgan. But GDJMSP there are some that know more than me, that's why I always like to ask questions and listen, also why I'm on cointalk.
  13. greyfang

    greyfang New Member

    Lincoln red blue purple

    What do you think of this? I've seen this pattern and color before, and always thought it to be natural.....could it be AT?


    Also, can a natural toned "ice blue" copper be distinguished from the MS-70 cleaned ones?
  14. DJCoinz

    DJCoinz Majored in Morganology

    Great article. :thumb: Greyfang: Beautiful coin :D NT.
  15. coleguy

    coleguy Coin Collector

    Ugggh!! That was hard to look at that 1838 dollar and not blow chunks! A perfectly nice coin ruined forever. I wish people would just give the stuff they want to trash to me first.
  16. Treashunt

    Treashunt The Other Frank

    Thanks for the reference, v-e-r-y interesting.
  17. Tater

    Tater Coin Collector

    Greyfang, nice copper cent looks great, I'd say NT.
  18. 900fine

    900fine doggone it people like me

    Dude, I TOTALLY agree. What in the ... ? Wha....?

    Here's what gets me about that. Assuming it's genuine, and I think it is, what the heck was it worth "before" ? $20,000 ? $30,000 ? Maybe more !

    Look at that strike ! Look at the detail in the wing feathers ! Look at Liberty's hair ! Have you ever seen anything like it ?

    Now here's my point - most agree it's awful to alter a coin like that. But ya gotta agree - at least the dude has cojones. What kind of person would take a $30,000+ coin and try to "improve" it ?

    Cojones - but lacking judgement.

    Is there any chance the two photos are of different coins ?
  19. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Answer to both is maybe.
  20. 900fine

    900fine doggone it people like me

    Great thread, Jim. You've done us all a great service. Thanks !

    Question for the forum : Slabs are porous to some extent. They aren't completely airtight. Is it possible to do the AT scam on coins AFTER they've been certified ?
  21. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

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