Another bad day in the world of stacking Silver. A friend of mine called me and I drove over to his house. He showed me his new silver bars that he had bought from eBay. Right away something inside me screamed out Oh-No. Why, because he told me that he paid under spot for them. This should be a red flag. No-One will sell their Precious Metals under Spot Price. It just doesn't happen. So I took out my home made Kit which consists of Digital Scale, Magnifying Glass, Outside Micrometer, 300 mm Ruler & a Earth Magnet. Also I just added the Sunshine Decode Card. When I Weighed his first bar it came to 28.8 Grams. Uh-Oh, it should weigh 31.1 Grams. Remember a Troy OZ is 31.1 Grams. After looking at his order I did notice that he had bought what is called German-Silver. German Silver has No Silver in it, it consists of Copper, Zinc and Nickel. My poor friend asked me how do I test for Silver and What do I look for? So I told him the first thing to do is to make a kit like mine. Most people will say "You forgot about the acid's in your kit!". I do not use Acid because if the top layer is silver then it shows that it is silver. You must file into the bar or coin to see if the inside is silver. Once you do that, I believe you ruin the bar or coin. Not something you want to do if it is a real nice bar or coin.
If you plan on going out to buy Silver from a flea market with this little kit of mine. There are many ways to check your silver. Think of a police officer gives a sobriety test. He does mtheore than one type of test before he arrests you for a DUI. LOL. You should do the same. Try all the Tests. Or at least the ones that won't damage your silver.
Tapping your Silver with another bar to hear a ringing (sounds like a bell ringing). This is a good test you just need practice and some real silver to know the sound it should make.
I Like this one, but it's not always guarantee without the other tests. You need a kind of strong magnet. Place magnet on silver bar and slant bar at a 45 degree angle. The magnet should slide down the bar but at a slow pace. Place the magnet on a piece of plastic and slide it down and you will see it slide rather fast. In doing this method you will know without a doubt that at least your silver is not faked with a magnetic metal core.
Of course this should be your first test. ALL precious metal are weighed in Troy Ounces (That's 31.1 Grams, Not 28 Grams!!). Most scales have troy ounces as a choice, if it doesn't then it will have grams. If your scale is only 250 Gram scale (Like the one I have) then before you turn on your scale place a 100 gram weight on the scale to calibrate it with the weight. Then remove the weight and it will read -100 Grams. Then when you place your 10 troy oz bar on the scale it will read 211 Grams which makes the 211 (Scale Reads) plus the - 100 (Calibration) = 311 Grams or 10 Troy Ounces. This is a good trick to have your scale reading up to twice what the scale can read.
This one is a little tricky on bars, but great for coins. They make a great coin checker called The Fisch. It will cost you around $169, but if you buy a lot of coins, then you need it, or I recommend it. Otherwise all your bars are around the same size. Check the length, width and thickness measurements. This is because if the bar is fake then they will have to compensate size for weight. Example: A "1 OZt" SilverTowne Silver bar measures 50.4 mm in Length, 28.57 mm in width, and 2.13 mm in thickness. Then it must still weigh 31.1 Grams or 1 Troy Ounce (OZt). Now sizes due still vary, so you will need real bars to compare to. Measurement Test works with the Weighing Test. Also note that these measurements are from the stamped bars, Not the poured bars.
This is the most accurate test of them ALL !! This one is not easy, so read this carefully. Also this is the best test so you won't damage your nice bar of silver that you want to keep pretty.
When an object is submerged, the volume of displaced liquid is equal to the volume of the object. From this you calculate the density of the object. Since each chemical element has a unique density, you will be able to determine whether the density is correct for the object's supposed composition.
First, weigh the piece of metal. The more accurate the scale, the more accurate your measurements will be. Preferably you would use a triple-beam gram balance, or electronic scale of equivalent accuracy.
Second, submerge the metal into water and measure the volume of water displaced (or the weight of water displaced, and convert to volume). Again, the accuracy of your measurements determines the accuracy of the final calculation.
Suppose you have a piece of metal that weighs exactly 1kg, and it displaces 3.25 fl. oz of water (or 95.3 cc). You simply divide the weight by the volume, and the resulting density is 10.49 grams per square centimeter. Looking on the periodic table of the elements, we see that only one element has a density of 10.49 g/cc. The block must be made of pure silver. On the other hand, suppose that object displaced 107cc of water, making the density only 9.35 g/cc. You will know immediately that it's not a bar of pure silver (in this case, 25% Ag, 75% Cu).
This test could also reveal the difference between tungsten (19.25 g/cc) and gold (19.30 g/cc) if precise instruments were used. A 3110g (100 ounces troy) tungsten bar would displace 0.4ml more water than a gold bar of the same weight. The density measurement would be very difficult with coin-sized pieces of gold, but that is okay, because a coin with a tungsten core would be immediately given away by the fact that it would not ring when flicked into the air.
Note: experienced metal handlers could probably spot a fake silver bar quickly, even without taking precise measurements. They know how heavy a silver bar is supposed to be for a certain size, and would quickly notice the difference in weight or size. Also, each alloy makes a certain type of sound when you flip it up in the air or move it around.
Fake Tests / or Inaccurate Tests: aka. Damage your Bar
A lot of people tell me of crazy tests like using mustard and heating it slowly and then wipe it away. If it's real silver, it'll leave a dark spot. Then you can use a silver cleaner to get the spot off. Also the Acid Test (Other Great Test). But the problem with these Tests are they all have the same fault. If the bar is coated in silver, then it will show as being real. When in actuality, the only thing real is the outer layer of the bar.
Yes works great. Again only the outside of the bar is tested. Some people will tell you that you need to scratch down into the bar to check the inside of the bar. OK, You might as well drill a hole in the middle of your bar that way you will know for sure. But do you really want to? I Don't !!
One states that if you put your silver into a fire (not hot enough to melt it), that Silver will turn White fake silver will turn Black. Then to clean it place bar into a pot of boiling water with an aluminum sheet in the bottom to clean the silver back to original shine. Not a Fan of this method !!!
What I suggest !!
Buy Your Precious Metals from a reputable Dealer. Do Not buy from John Doe off eBay. Do research, it's your money and it's well worth the investment. I prefer owning actual silver as to a stocks or bonds. Also don't flash your silver around and let everyone know exactly how much you have. Keep a small amount in a box to "show off", and the rest hidden not to allow even the closest of friends to know exactly how much you really do have. Remember Silver and Gold ARE minerals so you can bury them. I know that sounds funny, but they will NOT corrode (rust). Silver will Tarnish so I would recommend sealing silver in a airtight plastic bag before you bury it. Any food saver setup will do the trick. You can put it in the bank (safe deposit box), and hope the government doesn't take it from you. Don't think so, Google "Executive Order 6102". Government took Everyone's Gold (1933) at $20.67 per OZt, 2 Years later (1935) raised the price of Gold to $35 OZt. Government Profit $14.33 an OZt. How much money did Uncle Sam make?
With all this being said, I now believe you are ready to go out and buy silver and be confident about your purchase. You will become an expert over time yourself and will be able to help others make good decisions. And always remember, If you're not sure, Don't buy it!