I suspect my 2020 Panda is a fake. Can you help?

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by JeffC, May 28, 2020.

  1. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member

    Hi everyone!

    (I'll be starting the ANA's correspondence courses in July and the syllabus includes a Counterfeit Detection course. I can't wait.)

    I've been collecting Chinese Pandas over the past couple of years. So far, I have 2010 to 2019. Those from earlier years are quite expensive (for me at least). I just won an auction for a 2020 Panda ($35). Since it wasn't a "ridiculously cheap" price, I didn't expect any problem.

    I received it today. The item description mentions that it is in the Original Mint Capsule. Now, for the Pandas that I own, I've noticed that the Chinese Mint capsules have 3 distinct "nubs" spaced equally along the circumference.

    When I received my 2020 Panda today, I noticed these nubs were missing. That triggered my suspicion initially. So I removed the coin and weighed it. It weighs 29.80g, instead of 30g. Since this is less than 1%, I thought it was acceptable. But after researching on the net, I understand that even a 0.1g deviation would be unacceptable. I tried searching here at CT, but couldn't find anything specific. There is a member called Pandacollector but he/she hasn't been around since 2017.

    Here are photos of the 2020 Panda I purchased.
    Panda 2020 Obverse.jpg Panda 2020 Reverse.jpg

    To my (untrained) eye, everything looks crisp and sharp. The thickness is identical to other geniune Pandas that I have. I compared this image to those from official coin sellers and can't find anything different.

    Here is its weight.

    And finally, here's a side-by-side comparison of the capsules, which shows 3 nubs missing. (Now, maybe the capsule is wrong, but the coin is okay? That may be a possibility.)
    20200528_212059 copy.jpg

    Finally, the coin is non-magnetic.

    I would appreciate and welcome your thoughts and comments. As always, thank you for the help and education.
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  3. Steve66

    Steve66 Coin People

    Have you checked your scale for accuracy?
    They sometimes need to be recalibrated.
  4. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member

    Oh yes, forgot to mention it. I weighed some of the other 30g and 1 oz. Pandas that I own now. For the former, I got 30.02, 30.03, and even dead-on 30g! For the 1 oz. Pandas, I got 31.14, 31.12, 31.16. I read somewhere that the weights could be a little higher when they're "off," but usually not lower. That was another reason why I became concern.
  5. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member

    @Steve66 , here's one that's exactly 30g.
    Steve66 likes this.
  6. NPCoin

    NPCoin Resident Imbecile

    Personally, I would be using a precision scale accurate to 0.001g. But, in any case, the coin just does not have the right feel to it. It could be just the way you took the photos, but the fields look more like enamel than a nice reflective mirror fluid.

    Even in your comparison photo, I can see the nice reflective outlines especially around the mother's head near her right ear. Regardless of what some people may say about Chinese anything numismatic...these Pandas are some of the highest quality minted bullion items...works of art. And you should be able to pull away your full arm's length in a good light and see the reflection of your own face looking back at you.
    JeffC likes this.
  7. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member

    @NPCoin , thanks for your feedback. You mentioned works of art. When I compared the reverse side to others that I have, I noticed another thing. On the others, there is a sheen that "dances around" on the Temple of Heaven when I move my head from side to side. This phenomenon is absent on the 2020. By the way, do you know if there's an authority source for weight tolerances for these Pandas?
  8. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage!

    Looks fake to me! If you were expecting a genuine .999 Chinese Minted Panda, that's not it, sorry to tell you! :D Here's a link, may help but maybe not! I forgot to add that it may be real silver but it's not a real Panda! :D

    Last edited: May 29, 2020
    JeffC likes this.
  9. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member

  10. NPCoin

    NPCoin Resident Imbecile

    I think the only ones that would be able to answer that authoritatively would be the Chinese government itself. Either an inquiry to the People's Bank of China or the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation may or may not produce an answer for you.

    edited to add:

    I believe that the China Gold Coin Incorporation is the official distributor within China itself, so they may have information about tolerances. But, I have no idea of any contact information for them.
    JeffC likes this.
  11. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage!

    Like I said above, it's fake but it probably is real silver. If you got it off ebay, please read the ad carefully as some sellers are as slick as snot! :D Easy enough to return but it's a pain for sure! :( At one time I collected Panda's and I still have a couple.
    JeffC likes this.
  12. ManfredNam

    ManfredNam Non-functioning

    If the NGC article is correct it means i just became a collector of 5 fake Pandas.
    A couple of years ago i bought the 5 coins from a coin dealer in Singapore
    All five coins have exactly the same steps (fake coin) as described by NGC
    The years are 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015

    The nubs JeffC refer to are present on all the coin capsules.
  13. ManfredNam

    ManfredNam Non-functioning

    After searching more i realized that the NGC article might not be as accurate as one might think. I found the exact same steps on my coins, on sites, from various bullion Dealers with very high reputations. (even from the "Mint" Group)
  14. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member

    I fully agree with you regarding the center strip on the steps. But I also agree with the NGC article. How do I reconcile this? Well, the article was describing the 2001 Panda. For that year, the center strip of the steps was completely blank. I usually buy my Pandas from Apmex or Provident.

    In other years (although I don't know if it's ALL other years), there are "weak" patterns that can be seen on the center strip of the steps. By the way, I have a fake Panda from 2013. Strangely, on that coin, the designs on the center strip are crisp and sharp! If you asked a layman, he would surely say that the fake 2013 that I have is the real deal and the remainder (with the weak designs along the center strip) are fake. It's very counter-intuitive.
  15. NPCoin

    NPCoin Resident Imbecile

    In my experience, I have noticed that the designs on the steps are crisp and clear on the counterfeits all the way up the steps. Meanwhile, the genuine Pandas have designs that become more faded or less clear as you ascend the steps.
    JeffC likes this.
  16. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member

    Yes! Isn't that weird? Not only does this occur at the steps, it also occurs on the sign at the top of the temple (just below the roof). On the fakes, the Chinese characters on the sign are sharp. On the genuine coin, the characters are totally illegible. LOL. I bet for the earlier Pandas, the reverse was not "sandblasted" and all the details were once crisp and sharp and then the counterfeiters just took it and ran with it.
  17. NPCoin

    NPCoin Resident Imbecile

    I personally believe that this is because the Chinese artists are exactly that: artists. I believe they take pride in their work and have put a sense of realism in their work. You are supposed to be a visitor at the bottom of the steps looking up. As you gaze upward to the temple and above to its top, the clarity of details becomes less and less obvious until you ascend the steps to discover the details up close. Just my opinion, but you never know...
    JeffC likes this.
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